Ten things to do in ten minutes, instead of looking at your phone.
I love my phone and I love social media, I am the person who likes seeing photos of my friend’s celebration meals and vacations but I have noticed recently how much time it takes up in each day. Five minutes each time adds up to an hour a day easily, which in turn can total 7 hours a week, making it practically a whole day. Wouldn’t we all like to get back 7 hours a week?
I find myself checking my phone while waiting at the Starbucks drive-thru or in the school carpool line. I check it when I am sitting at the coffee shop before my friend arrives and when traveling it’s a constant distraction.
I don’t want to stay away from it completely but I want to use my time wisely and make the most of both the phone and the limited free hours in a day so I came up with ten alternative creative and productive things to do with that 3-10 mins you have spare instead of checking your phone.
1. Look up not down at the small gray screen. Look up and the barista, engage in a conversation, find out their name or at least read the label on the t-shirt and ask them if their day is going well.
2. Breathe, take a long deep breath or several of them. Notice how doing nothing apart from slowly breathing makes us calmer and nicer.
3. Smell is the most sensitive of all our senses and the one that promotes memories more quickly than any other. Smell the coffee, the perfume, the bread. Notice the different places that have different smells good and bad. It will create memories deep in your brain that will last a lifetime.
4. Listen fully to what your friend or child is saying. Make eye contact and take the time to consider the words they are using and then reply.
5. Read. Have a book in your car, purse, or stroller so instead of sitting down and picking up the phone, sit and pick up the book, or magazine. The texture and feel is an entirely different experience.
6. Eat. Take the time to sit down and eat the sandwich or soup slowly, savoring every mouthful. Notice the tastes and the blend of flavors, someone spent time creating this for you.
6. Pray. Think about who and what’s on your mind and give it to God. He loves to spend time with us.
7. Move your legs and arms, not weirdly if you are in a public place, but maybe walk the grounds of where you work or your neighborhood.
8. Do a few simple exercises, several 5 minutes add up to a whole lot more than zero.
9. Consider a subject that you thinking about during the day, maybe its health care, education, politics. Process what you think and feel about it. Stretch your brain.
10. Play a game. Keep a pack of cards or crossword puzzle in your car. The new coloring books are great too. Create games for the younger children, I spy and guess that tune are always a winner.
None of these suggestions are revolutionary or have never been thought of before but just imagine how different our lives and communities would feel if we looked up instead of down. We would know our baristas names and the streets in our neighborhood. We would know and remember how our local store smells; we would be able to hear God’s voice more easily and respond to it. We could engage in deeper more meaningful connections with the people that God has placed in our lives. We would be creating memories made up of small moments that we can then reuse to warm our hearts when we feel the chill of life on some later day in the future.
I love contemporary culture and all that technology offers I just don’t want to loose all that the older, slower world valued too.
What do you do to combine both worlds and to keep your life real and meaningful?