I will be the first to tell you that smartphones are one of the best electronic devices to have ever been created. They allow us to interact with people across the entire world, keep in touch with friends that have moved away, stay up to date on news and stories from around the globe, and access anything on the internet from wherever we are. Unfortunately, we sometimes find ourselves relying too much on these tiny, pocket sized computers. [spacer color=”264C84″ icon=”fa-android”]
I have been a sufferer of a “condition” people are referring to as FOMO, or “fear of missing out.” Whenever I hear that I have a new notification or feel my phone vibrate, I almost immediately go to check it. It does not matter what I am doing or where I am, and that is because I have convinced myself that something cooler could have just popped up on my phone.
Since I have started writing for AG almost a year ago, I have used that as an excuse to always check my phone because it might be an email from a company about a product or app review, or maybe it is a message from someone else on the team who needs advice or opinion on an article. So I will check my phone, and 99% of the time it is just an email from Best Buy telling me about some amazing sale that I will miss out on or a message from Twitter saying that some of my friends have retweeted something. Anytime that it is a notification I actually care about, it is never something that need to be looked at right away.
But this does not stop me from always checking Twitter, or Slack, or Feedly, because I think that the one time I do not check, I will miss out on some amazing story that everyone will be talking about later. Believe it or not, that has never happened to me, and I have recently learned that you can miss more important things by always checking your phone than you can by not checking it.
Don’t miss an amazing sight
Last Wednesday and Thursday nights, I told my girlfriend we should watch the Perseid meteor shower because it was supposed to be spectacular. We had never watched one before, but she agreed that it would be fun. So we went out to a field and lied down on a blanket looking up at the sky. I must say, the meteor shower was breathtaking. We spent three hours out there each night watching the meteors streak across the sky, and never once took out our phones.
Thursday night, we had gone about fifteen minutes without seeing a meteor, and I felt my phone vibrate. I wanted so badly to check it, but I decided that whatever it was could wait. Only a few seconds later, the most amazing meteor we saw the entire time flew across the night sky. It was huge, bright, colorful, and zoomed from one end of the sky to the other. If I would have checked my phone, I would have missed the best meteor of the whole night.
Later, when we had finished watching and I actually did check my phone, it turned out to be an email from Best Buy letting me know I only had four hours to snag their latest deal.
Don’t miss an amazing time
Saturday, my family got together to celebrate my grandmother’s and uncle’s birthdays. I have two younger cousins who are three and six. The six-year-old loves technology, and when we got to my uncle’s house, he was already on an iPad trying to learn how to play solitaire. He did not even come say hi to me for the first hour I was there. The three-year-old is much less technology dependent and greeted us at the door when we walked in.
We all talked for a while, finally got the six-year-old off the iPad, and sat down to eat dinner, cake, and open some presents. Before dinner was even over, my six-year-old cousin told his mother he was done and wanted to go play on the computer. Unfortunately, everyone said it was okay, and we lost him for basically the rest of the party. We left a little more than an hour later, and someone had to go get him so he could say goodbye to us.
I understand where he is coming from because there are plenty of times that I would rather be alone than out there talking to everyone, but he missed some great times with everyone. His little brother played a pretty intense game of “I Spy” with all of us, and it would have been nice to have him there, too.
Of course, he will eventually grow out of it, or at least get to the point where he wants to socialize with everyone. But there are many times that I see other members of my family, myself included, missing out on moments while we are busy on our phones.
[spacer color=”264C84″ icon=”fa-android”]Phones are absolutely amazing, and I would be lying to you if I said I though otherwise; however, they should be used in moderation just like everything else. Whenever you get that email, see that article, get that tweet, or hear that notification, stop and think if you really need to look at it right now. Odds are nothing will change between you doing something about it now and doing something about it later.
The email will still be in your inbox, the article will still be on that site, the tweet will still be on Twitter, and the notification will still be on your phone. As I have constantly learned, these notifications are never as important as the people you are with.
Many times, you can miss out on something great by keeping your eyes focused 45 degrees down and a few feet in front of your face.