Don’t worry! I’m not really disconnecting your beloved “Seven Ways.” We’re logged on and signed in and it’s killing out social skills. Social media is disconnecting us, and it’s time to disconnect from “social” networking. Take this week to turn off your eThis and iThat and turn on the real world.
- Go back in time. Think about what you use your phone for and go back to your roots. What would happen if the cell phone towers blew up? You’d have no idea how to get from point A to B without your Google Maps. Do you know how to read a real map? Unsure how to spell something? Instead of relying on your Merriam-Webster app, try busting out a real dictionary. If your electronics were stripped from you, would you be able to function?
- If it has to be plugged in, recharged or have the batteries replaced, don’t use it. I’m talking electronics here. By all means, use your hair straightener or electric razor. For a week, replace your electronic gadgets with books, a blank canvas and paint, Sudoku puzzles, guitar lessons, card games, or walks in the park. Act like your power went out and you’ve got to occupy your time with something other than Tumblr.
- Take a social media break. When you wake up, refrain from logging on before you even eat breakfast. When you come home from work or school, engage in a conversation with your parents/roommates/your neighbor instead of signing in. Make a conscious effort to decrease your time spent on “social” media and actually get social.
- “I’m checking out. Can I call you right back?” I’ve worked retail most of my employed life. A pet peeve of most retail associates? People who gab on the phone while they’re trying to complete a transaction. Put the person on the other line on hold and greet the cashier.
- Forget your phone. Whether it stays in your pocket or on the dining room table, leave it. When you walk around the city/your college campus/the mall/etc., observe the sights around you instead of playing Bejeweled or texting your friend. I can’ walk down the street without seeing 4/5 people looking down at their phone. C’mon, you’re better than that! Replace your phone with a camera wander around with an open mind and capture the world around you.
- Out go the ear buds! Listening to music on the way to your destination can make it much more enjoyable. You can zone out, walk to the beat of the bass, and live in your own bubble. However, we can miss out on other (perhaps equally) enjoyable opportunities. When we put headphones on, we disconnect ourselves from the world. We don’t notice the birds chirping in the park. We miss the cute stranger behind us telling you they like your shirt. Take the week to listen to nature’s sound track instead.
- Do the math. If you’re anything like me, your basic math skills have slowly been disintegrating because calculator > pencil and paper. It’s much easier to plug in number to a machine than scribble equations on a paper. If you don’t use it, you lose it, right? Keep your brain’s gears turning and do the math.
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