Admitting the Problem is the First Step

Staying present is hard for everyone to do.  It takes practice and patience and forgiveness toward yourself and those around you.  The first step to solving any problem – and trust me, you have a staying-present problem – is to recognize the symptoms:

·      Finding any excuse to check your phone when talking with someone

·      Checking your phone at restaurant when your dining partner gets up to use the restroom

·      Looking over someone’s shoulder at a party because you want to see what’s going on elsewhere

·      Any hint of FOMO

·      Thinking of what to say when someone else is talking to you

·      Taking a picture of something before you’ve really had time to enjoy the scene yourself

Now that you recognize you have a problem (and, yes, you do have one, because we all struggle with this), what are you going to do about it?

·      Leave your phone in a different room or the car when you’re meeting with people

·      Turn off notifications on your phone and instead check when you want

·      Keep as few applications open as possible while working on your computer

·      Keep email off on your computer when you’re working, and even when open turn email to manual receiving, rather than on a time-based push setting

·      Be comfortable with the decision not to go to something, and if it’s not your choice to miss it focus on the benefits in the things you’re doing instead

·      Really listen to what people say by using active listening techniques and asking questions

·      Eat your dinner rather than take a picture of it – no one really wants to see your food anyway

These all may seem simple and beside the point, but they’ll help retrain your brain so you won’t have to fight it so much any more.

Sam Jacobson