Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Be Present.

Text messages. Snapchats. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. All at once.

When I think of the way we balance our lives each day (my life included), my head begins to spin a little. Instead of focusing on one thing at a time, we are focusing on about 20, with all of these “staple” social media outlets added to the mix. This past year of college, I began to notice that I was having a more difficult time focusing on my school work and really absorbing what I was being taught in my classes. At first, I attributed this wandering brain to the likes of the infamous “senioritis.” Makes sense, right? Or was that just my scapegoat? After examining some of my habits a bit more, I began to notice some of the reasons why my “head” wasn’t always in the “game.”

I had never had a smart phone until I was generously given the latest iPod by my brother this past Christmas. While it is not a smart phone by trade, it was essentially the same exact thing when connected to widely available wifi. (Since then, I have actually upgraded my cellular device to an iPhone, however.)

So how did my habits change?

 I am constantly connected. Is this convenient? Yes. Especially when a classmate is trying to get ahold of me, or vice versa. However, being always “connected” is also the root of the problem. When I would set foot in my Medical Nutrition Therapy class, I would take my seat and begin the period by listening contently and taking diligent notes. Soon I would reach into my pocket to check what time it is. It’s only been 5 minutes? Are you kidding me? At that point, all bets were off. I neglected my notes…I could study those later, right? Then I would spend the remainder of the period tuning in and out of the lecture while I caught up on my overflowing email inbox, Facebook news feed, and the tweets streaming through my screen.

You’d think somewhere during my last semester a little light bulb in my head would have gone off and said, “Amanda, don’t ya think learning about the nutrition recommendations in your future career is a little more important than that Instagram photo you are eyeing?

That would make too much sense, folks.

However, grad school is something I do take seriously. Not that I didn’t take school seriously before, I just view graduate school as a bit more intense and professional…not exactly a place where mindlessly scrolling through my phone in class would look too impressive.

Does any of this sound a little familiar to you? Chances are that there are plenty of you out there who struggle with this same balancing act within your own life. So what are we going to do about it?

Power down
Let’s face it, I know I am going to fall into the same routine in graduate school if my phone is constantly buzzing in my pocket. Therefore, my game plan is to simply power off my cell phone until class has been dismissed. The same goes for other events that require my full attention (such as studying at the library).

Check once or twice…not every 5 minutes

Admit it, if you have a smart phone, you tap on those social media apps every few minutes…ya know, just on the off chance that something exciting has happened in that span of time. What’s my new plan? Designate a couple times of day where it is completely okay to update myself in the world of social media. Trust me, you will probably enjoy social media more if it is more of a luxury at the end of your day, rather than a boredom buster during a draining lecture. 

Neither of these action steps are complex or profound. However they are things that I want and need to do. Besides, who wants to visit with a registered dietitian in the future who spent her class time mindlessly scrolling through social media? That is enough motivation in itself to get my act together!

How do you practice being present each day?
What are some things you would add to this small list?

1 comment:

  1. I love this Jim Elliot quote! :) I still don't have a smart phone (I think I'll get one next year with my upgrade, though), but I didn't even get texting on my phone until after I graduated college. None of my friends texted back then so it never occurred to me to want it on my phone. Anyway, I am SO glad that I didn't have it (and especially not a smart phone) when I was in college. My gracious, it's hard enough to keep your grades up and balance social life and work, but to add in the constant social media feed as well. Yikes. My younger sister was only two years behind me, but technology changes so fast so she definitely had to deal with that more than I did. I think it means you have to be so much more intentional than I had to and even more so than people 10 years ago. Great thoughts here, girl!