Every day you look at your smartphone between 46 – 83 times. The main reasons for this are the endless notifications you receive during the day from Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, emails, etc. These notifications take your time and attention away from what you’re doing, and if you’re on holidays they will take you out of the wonderful landscape or the stunning beach you are enjoying. When we go on holidays, we do so to recharge our energy levels, reset our mind from routine and to experience environments that we are not used to.
Maybe you think I exaggerate and that posting those photos of your feet in the beach with the caption “Here suffering” will look very cool on your Instagram. But the truth is that every time you check a notification you are stealing a moment away from the present.There is a good book that analyses this new tendency: The Shallows – How the Internet is changing the way we think, read and remember by Nicholas Carr. The book explains how due to the fast evolution of the internet, it is now very easy to get, store and move information nowadays. This encourages a very fast and superficial interaction with information. As a result, we are becoming less capable of focusing, thought and meditation. In other words, we are becoming more stupid.
It wouldn’t be realistic if I ask you to totally separate from the Internet during your holidays because we live in a globally connected world and it is almost impossible now to live without the Internet. But a small first step towards a life less dominated by the internet could be turning off your phone´s notifications. I know it is tempting to check the screen on your phone every time it vibrates or a colourful light appears (trust me; social medias companies have studied the best way to make their sites and apps as addictive as possible). Just block the notifications, at least while you are in that wonderful trip or with your lover at that dinner. I am not saying not to take photos or don’t upload them, just plan two or three moments during the day for this activity, you don’t need to document the whole thing on snapchat.
France has been the pioneer introducing a new law, at the beginning of this year, which forces all the companies with more than 50 employers to fix limits for the digital disconnection of their employers. A first step, but still far from the situation that should be. Especially because it is very difficult to control all our connected devices, and it is very easy to know where are we and what are we doing in every moment. The Trip Advisor app, for example, tracks your location, and when you get into a city it tells you to open the app to see the top restaurants, hotels, museums, etc.
Do not refuse to use social media, but do not totally depend on it. Do not let apps and websites have you trapped in a daily routine. Preventing yourself from using them will let you be more conscious in the present moment and in some way, get more engaged with your holidays and relaxation, then with your friends and family. This is the purpose of a new trendy discipline that most of worlds CEO and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are practicing: Mindfulness. I definitely recommend you to try it and experiment the benefits by yourself. Remember the internet was supposed to make the world an easier place, by speeding up the time it takes to send and receive information. But it has made the world much more stressful, don’t let it become a giant stress in your life too.
By Oier Sola Bilbao
Facebook: Oier Sola Bilbao