Why Every Leader Needs a No Phone Zone
The other night I went out to eat with my family. We went to a nice little place that served really good food (And by really good, I mean really fatty.) As I sat at the table listening to my wife and boys tell me about the days adventures I couldn’t help but notice that in a restaurant filled with people, there were very few actual conversations being had. Most were staring down at their phones and some were showing each other things that were on their phone. You might be laughing at the ridiculousness of that story, but I’ll bet at one time or another you have been guilty of it, just like me.
We’ve become so consumed with consuming information that we’ve gone overboard. We now use our phones to work, read our Bible, watch movies and more. We talk on it, we text on it and often we loose ourselves in it.
My wife and I recently started doing a no phone zone. Every night starting at 5:30 we put our phones away and turn off notifications. We have scheduled in 15-20 minutes before we go to bed to look and see if we had any important work or family calls, but other than that we don’t look at them at any other time.
As church communicators, social managers and leaders we often convince ourselves that the little computer in our pocket is too important to put down. We say things like “what if I miss a Facebook notification on the church page” or “what if my client needs me”? All these things are important, but I came to the point where I had to ask myself what is MOST important. It’s a hard question to ask, but you need to ask it.
Is it important that I see when 200 people share this Blog post on twitter? (please share this on twitter) Maybe. But it’s not the most important thing to me.
As many of you most likely are, I’m concerned that we are so consumed with our devices that we’ve forgotten how to live in the moment. We want to 800 pictures for Instagram when our kids do something cool and we forget to just enjoy the moment with them.
As someone who makes his living through social media, this was hard for me to come to grips with. But, once I did I found out there are some incredible benefits to living life without a phone or device in my face all day. These are those benefits…
1 – Become a REAL person again
Even if we don’t realize, most of us create a certain persona on social media. We often present only the best parts of our life to the rest of the world on Facebook. Having a no phone zone allowed me to live more freely without the constant pressure to impress my followers. It also let me enjoy the little things with the people I cared about most.
2 – Improved Focus
When was the last time you sat down and did ONE activity. Most of the time we don’t just sit down to watch t.v. read an article or talk, we also have our phones in hand to scroll through twitter or listen to music. The no phone zone allows you to focus on the activity or person without the temptation of getting lost in your apps.
3 – Make Better Choices
Getting “lost” in your device is so easy. You open that news alert notification and 2 hours later your’e scrolling through puppy pictures on Tumblr. Having a no phone zones forces you to be intentional with your time. It forces you to choose the activity you want to do. Taking away that time sucking device will allow you to actually watch that movie, read that book or have that conversation.
4 – You’ll Become More Creative
Ever sat in a meeting where everyone is on their phone? Ever tried to lead a meeting like that? It’s not that fun. Your brain is like any other muscle. You’ve got to work it out if you want it to get huge like mine. Creativity doesn’t come from a google search. Sure it’s nice to have resources and ideas to get you started, but your creative brain must be unlocked from within. Try it … you’ll see.
5 – Enjoy The Internet Again
Before doing the no phone zone, I got to the point where I wanted to go off the grid and move to remote Alaska (I still want to do that by the way.) Having the internet and social media at my fingertips all day everyday, actually made me hate it a little. Once you learn to limit your time, you will learn to love it even more.
I know what your thinking. I’m a hustler, my job is communication. I couldn’t possibly have a no phone zone because I’m just too busy and important. I feel you. I was there. Once you discover this discipline, I can almost guarantee your mood, creativity, and overall life enjoyment will go through the roof. Sometimes you have say no to the good and say yes to the great!