In an airport waiting area, I counted 32 people staring at their cell phones. I was waiting to catch a plane to visit a wise and wonderful 96 year old man who’s never used one.
This trip would take two days out of my schedule. I have classes to prepare for, a strategic plan to write, new and existing clients to serve, a new product to launch, a workshop under construction, a new website to launch, a new contact data base to update, two positions to fill, over 100 emails to answer, tax filings to prepare for, messages to tweet, a blog post to write, software to learn, home repair to manage, and, of course, friends and family to tend to. My anxiety is up, my breathing shallow and, my blood pressure too high. Should I take some more vitamin C, I wondered?
I wandered into a news kiosk looking for an immune booster, and I saw this headline on Time Magazine’s cover: “The Mindful Revolution, The science of finding focus in a stressed-out, multitasking culture.” The shoe seemed to fit. I bought it.
As I read, I focussed on my breathing (multitasking, as usual). My cell phone made the “yoo-hoo” sound, signaling an incoming text message. I checked the message, was in the middle of responding, when a call came in. Don’t know that number. Sent them to voicemail. On the way back to texting, I saw Instagram and checked to see if my kids had posted any photos. Liked one, and back to the text. Finally, I returned to the article and mindfully breathing. Let’s face it, entrepreneurs are multitasking junkies, and cell phones are our dealers. Here’s what I’ve learned about mindfulness.
- Mindfulness training, such as meditation, improves your ability to concentrate.
- Concentration makes you more productive, so you get more done.
- Multitasking on a regular basis reduces your ability to concentrate.
- Mindfulness lowers stress and stress can have a negative impact on your immune system, your mind, and your emotional state.
- Mindfulness is not religious practice, but a life practice, such as jogging or playing chess, and like any practice, it requires training.
- In order to practice Mindfulness, you have to disconnect from your cell phone.
One recommendation from the Time article is to wear a watch so you won’t check the time on your cell phone. Checking the time on your cell phone opens the door for a quick check on what’s happening on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This leads to multitasking, which reduces your concentration on that very nice person sitting across the table from you. Please note, they are talking about the old fashioned watch that shows the time and maybe the date, not the new multitasking watches connected to your cell phone.
If gaining mindfulness, concentration, productivity and better health are not good enough reasons to turn off your cell phone, remember this. Cell phone posture causes double chins. Remember those 32 people waiting for a plane? Double chins – all of them!
The 96 year old just retired. During the visit, he told me “it’s kind of boring, nothing to do.” He and I both need mindfulness training.
All the best,