Modern life has its pitfalls. In this post, we’ll cover two separate but related issues commonly faced in a world of always on, always connected. First, we’ll explore the impact of allowing devices to drive our actions and reactions. I’ll introduce author Haley Evans and her book, Hung Up: Why You Should Put the Phone Down (and Other Life Advice). Second, we’ll consider how layering “all the things,” creates a different form of being “hung up” and ways to extricate and reboot. We’ll close with an opportunity to be inspired and engage in Life Reinvention. Ready? Let’s go!
Hung Up, The Book!
Haley Evans, a working mom in Tennessee, had an epiphany. The incessant pings on her smartphone didn’t just intrude on her life. These impacted her attention span, shifted her from mindful response to reactive modes, and generated stress. The ongoing interruptions actually made it more likely she might drop one of the many balls she was juggling in life. The attempt to multitask made her less efficient and effective, not more.
My favorite visual from Haley’s book was her use of the metaphor of chickens pecking relentlessly. A text from a youngster who—by the way—is in another room in the same house: Peck. A message from a colleague: Peck. A group text about an event, where others reply to all: Peck. Peck. Peck.
While, for me, interruptions don’t source from my cell phone, I totally related to this “chickens pecking” analogy and I’ve seen colleagues, family members, and strangers at the grocery store all being pecked at via their devices. We can ask, “so what?”
Haley has done her homework to share that answer with readers. Her research spans psychology and neuroscience, explores smartphone addiction, considers studies that make connections regarding teens and depression, bullying and suicide, how our brain’s light up as if we’re on cocaine, and so much more. She also explores the impact of how we choose (or not) to put our lives in social spaces, and what this can mean for our children. Haley also describes the difference between capturing a moment and immersing our self in the experience. There’s a real case for paying attention and considering a change.
Hung Up is short. Haley narrates her experiences and what she’s learned in 99 engaging pages. Another 27 pages provide a quiz to check your own (and your family’s) relationship to devices, offers a step-by-step challenge (The Big Hang-Up 7 Day Challenge) to shift device use to a more mindful relationship, and the references she cites in her book.
Hung Up In Life and Work
Devices aren’t the only sources of getting “hung up.” We could use other words. We might get stuck and not see forward movement towards life or career goals. We might experience frustration trying to solve a problem. We might feel stymied by the demands of competing priorities. Here’s an example I’ve been in the thick of:
I’ve been migrating the LEADistics Portal—a private coaching and learning space—to new technology. Before loading everything in, I needed to have two platforms integrate seamlessly. I just couldn’t get them to play nice. I was literally hung up. Both platforms shared resources and had a near overwhelming list of things to try. I did it all without a solution. And then I connected with a person I’d reached out to who had expertise in both platforms.
I’d burned through two weeks of frustrating lack of progress. Over the weekend, working with my new tech BFF across time zones, I …
- Sent a video that captured all the steps so she could see what was wrong,
- Documented all the troubleshooting actions she recommended that I worked through, and
- Isolated and fixed the problem.
And just like magic, we broke through my technology logjam.
That magic moment occurred at 9 PM Sunday night. As I write this on Monday morning, the freedom to move forward is a tangible thing. Getting “hung up” sometimes feels like a literal barrier to our progress.
At times, it’s not a single barrier, but competing priorities that slow forward momentum. As I look over the past week, I also juggled client support, requirements for a board I serve on, building a lineup and connecting with speakers for an upcoming event I’m coordinating, aggregating the last of the tax preparation docs for my mom (she’s a senior), my business, and personal filing, and fitting these around multiple sessions of physical therapy.
If we’re not careful, we can get caught up in “all the things.” It’s really helpful to take a step back to look at the big picture and make sure we focus on the right things at the right time. The tighter we feel constrained—“hung up”—the more frequently we need to ensure we’re stopping to take that breath and assess whether or not we’re working towards goals that are important to us.
Do You Need a “Reboot?”
If devices are dictating a portion of your life, I highly recommend Haley Evan’s book. Taking a break from our “always on” life is so important, one company committed to shutting down operations to give employees an opportunity for a collective digital disconnect. Read more about PwC’s motivation in this article: PwC Shuts Down Office. You can find Hung Up on Amazon and learn more about Haley’s mission at her website.
If your version of being hung up is broader than devices, perhaps your reboot needs to take a look at life and work. Our dreams and big goals sometimes get buried and forgotten when we get mired in the everyday. Give yourself the gift of reinvention. Let me share a quote I heard last week:
Everybody deserves the thrill of doing something they never thought was possible. Matthew Shifrin
Shifrin is a blind rock climber who uses Legos on a board as a “Braille-like” positional map to read with his fingers, creating a mental map of the climb ahead. If your current reality makes big change feel impossible, Shifrin offers a model for inspiration. What you need is a new map.
Are you ready to create a Life Reinvention road map that moves you from where you are today to living your inspired life? Right now the LEADistics Portal I’ve been working on has the introductory framework with a couple of complimentary resources and a course I’ve moved from the prior platform. What’s really exciting, though, is what you’ll find under “coming soon.” You can get hints by checking out the Life Reinvention series placeholder. There will be a big announcement this Friday regarding a FREE online event. If you sign up for the series updates, you’ll be first to know how to access this resource. Click here to explore the portal.
As always, go forth and do great things!
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