Unplug NOW! (well after you read this:)


It's going on two weeks without a cell phone, and it remains a blessing! For this weekend's blog post, I am re-sharing my article that appeared in my column at The Good Men Project where I discuss how breaking my phone twice in six weeks led to a new level of clarity. I am hoping that it inspires you to get bold and take a technology break today to get clear on the vision for your life.

Six weeks before my trip to Wisconsin, for a speaking engagement, I dropped my phone and cracked the screen. I was upset when it first happened but soon realized, despite the damaged screen it worked. Sure, the condition of the screen made it difficult to see text messages, photos, and other features, but it functioned as usual.

My phone is an earlier generation I-phone, the 6s plus to be exact. It has the features I need in reliability, camera functionality, access to essential apps, and, last but not least it makes and receives calls. While I enjoy technology and appreciate the conveniences that come with every new phone or device, I don’t believe I need to have the latest gadget. Yes, I believe in brand loyalty and prefer Apple to Android, but I do not rush and get every new phone, computer model, or accessory, because they are available.

While living in Mazatlán, Sinaloa Mexico comes with benefits; there are drawbacks when it comes to technology. It's warm all year round, the food is excellent, people are friendly, and the cost of living is inexpensive when compared to the United States. On the downside, I can argue that nearly every electronic item of higher quality is double the price than what it would cost in the United States. I-phones are especially a rare commodity and come with an expensive price tag to purchase without a contract.

Mazatlán is a small town along the Pacific coast, and the repair options are limited. There is one location in a mall located thirty minutes from my home. It's an Apple dealer and not a retail store, which means all phone repair requests are sent to Mexico City and returned approximately 4 -5 days with an estimated cost of 200 USD. As aforementioned, my screen was cracked but worked as usual. I decided to wait until my trip to Wisconsin, where I could get the phone replaced in an hour and for less than 100 USD.

I went to Wisconsin, rocked my speaking engagement, and had my phone repaired. After making it home, and getting back into my routine I sat my phone on the counter. I was writing in the morning on the day after I returned from my trip when I moved my computer from my standing desk apparatus to the table.

My external USB hard drive slid off my laptop, and shattered the glass on my less than 48 hours' repaired phone! This time it was bad. I could not see anything on the phone’s screen. I tried everything to restore it, but it would not power on. Unlike the first time, I quickly became upset because I just had it fixed.

A few days later, my anger transformed to contentment when I found that a broken cell phone is a blessing! Over the past week, I have not had nearly as many distractions that I would usually encounter if my phone were working correctly. Sure, I would rather have access to my email, social media platforms, and other apps from the convenience of my pocket, but I am not complaining. I have been incredibly more productive without the constant ringing, dinging, and vibrating. The absence of a phone has taken my level of focus to another level.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you break your phone to get more accomplished, but you may find that you can get a lot more done without it in your pocket or resting on your lap. Try turning your phone off or leaving it in another room when working on projects aligned with the vision for your life. We often think that we need to be accessible at any time, but unless you are an emergency room doctor or possess other circumstances that demand you are available within a matter of seconds, you don’t need to hold your phone every minute of every hour on every day.

This experience has reminded me that while phones are great, it’s okay to unplug and focus your attention on creating your best work.

I am a minimalist in many ways, but I am not abandoning my cell phone. In fact, until I make time to get it replaced, I have my calls forwarded to my wife’s line. In the event of an emergency, there will likely be plenty of people in the vicinity who do have a phone. Mindful time without technology can empower you to make progress on your life’s most important work.

This experience has reminded me that while phones are great, it’s okay to unplug and focus your attention on creating your best work.

My action steps for you today are to turn off your phone for one hour and focus on a postponed project, time with family, or a self-care activity. If you don’t know where to start, check out my personal development course at this link.

#personaldevelopment #thegoodmenproject #apple #travel #lavidalindsay