Lately when I am waiting in line at the grocery store or pumping gas, I whip out my iPhone and read email. Then, I pull away from the pump feeling like I was productive. But in reality all my email checking is making my work life balance out of whack.
“The ubiquity of smart phones means we never lack for a way to spend time,” says Fast Company contributor Laura Vanderkam. “Stuck waiting for the elevator for 30 seconds? Next thing you know you’ve got your phone out of your pocket, and you’re deleting newsletters you can’t remember subscribing to.”
What we should be doing is something else, something more fulfilling.
“Cleaning out the inbox feels productive, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not all that fun. Nor is it accomplishing much,” continues Vanderkam, who has 17 suggestions for making better use of your daily lulls. For example: listen to your favorite song, read a page of a book, take some fun photos or make a couple notes in your journal.
I don't want to beat myself up, but like some of you, I need to embrace the notion that it's okay to be in the moment and enjoy it. If I can lose my addiction to being productive, there's actually is a lot to gain. Last week I put down my phone while in the check out line and made conversation with my the grocery store cashier. I learned she lives right across the street from me and has for a while. It was really nice to meet my neighbor. Laura says nurturing social ties is incredibly productive–and key to human happiness. Of course it's really hard to do when staring at a screen in my palm!
While I love my smartphone, I am realizing I have allowed it to create a sense of obligation to respond to texts and emails whenever, wherever I can — even if I only have five minutes. Going forward, I am going to reclaim balance and spent my small amounts of time in more fulfilling ways.
I am working on creating a bucket list of 25 things I want to do by the time I am 50. Next time I have five minutes to spare, rather than checking email (again) I am going to work on my list and get excited about the fun times ahead!
How do you use small blocks of time to bring balance to your day?