Face Down

Today, attention is one of the most valuable resources, and we’re giving it away too freely. At any time when life around us starts to settle down, the first thing we do is reach for our phone and swipe endlessly, unconsciously denying ourselves the time to be present in what's happening right then and there, in favor of knowing what someone else was doing 30 minutes ago.

As attention becomes increasingly valuable, I believe that people who have requested my time should get my undivided attention too. That means blocking out all other distractions that would impede me in fully engaging and being fully present. That, of course, starts with my phone. I've started making a conscious effort to not look at my phone when I’m with someone who has requested both my time and attention. Whether thats in a meeting, at lunch, or just one-on-one with a friend. 

A simple tip to achieve this; if your phone is out on the table, turn the audible sound off, and put the phone face down. I know for me, if the screen is facing up, I'll constantly be looking if it lights up. If it vibrates, ignore it. If it rings, reach over and hit one of the volume buttons to mute it, but don’t miss a beat. Even better, just keep the phone in your pocket. Nothing's too important to wait 5 minutes, or even 30 minutes. Another option is to use the Do Not Disturb feature on the iPhone, which allows you to mute all incoming notification unless its from someone you’ve explicitly allowed access, which would hopefully denote an emergency and nothing else.

Don’t make the people you’re with seem less important than the people you’re not with. Focused attention is quality attention.