According to research by Greg McKeown and reported in The Optimist, the average “smartphone” user logs in to their phone 110 times a day.
This got me thinking. I did some simple maths. What came out surprised me. Based on this figure and a conservative assumption that it takes 2 seconds to tap in a four or 6 digit code or for a fingerprint recognition system to recognise your print, a whopping 21.9 hours are spent each year, just logging into our mobile phones.
What else could you do with 21.9 hours? That’s almost three working days, it’s nearly a whole 24 hour day and think of the picnics with family, the chats with friends and the words you could write, the places you could visit and the precious moments with that older person you know and love who has seen the lion’s share of their time on the planet.
I wondered how much time in the 5 years I have had a smartphone, that I have lost to its logging-in pad. I’d like to think I don’t log in so frequently as I used to. But it stacks up.
Greg McKeown, in his brilliant book “Essentialism” invites us to become really conscious about how we spend our time. He contends that we can spend a great deal of time each day getting really good at a few things, or a tiny amount “good” at a million and one things. He invites us to make a more conscious choice about how we direct our use of time.
For me, it’s more than just getting good at stuff, it’s also about attending to the things (usually the relationships) that are so very, very precious and so very, very ephemeral. It is about focussing on the question “What is essential for me today?” But it’s also about challenging the very definition of what’s essential.
Often our work drives us to do “essential things” eg make that call, file that report, design that process; but broadening our definition of essential to include what is precious and might be gone in an instant, that’s at the core of it. What it is that feeds your heart and soul, not just what is to be ticked off on a TO-DO list. That’s what I’m inviting you to consider today. Perhaps it’s about making your To-Do list and your To-Be list. Or simply asking of your daily list, what is it here that’s ephemeral and will make my heart sing? Your little girl is growing up, your beloved pet is 14, your parent is unwell, your book hasn’t yet been written, your relationship is shaking.
Of course, there are things you have to do in order to keep the bills paid and the cat fed, but it’s about a bit of perspective and balance. For a start, we could all log into our phones a few less times a day, and be with the people right in front of our noses in a real and present way.
If you’d like help becoming more present and focussing on the real essential stuff of life, join me for a day of learning, laughter and meeting new people.