It’s all too easy to miss out on the important moments in life because you’re too busy staring at your phone.
Richard Branson takes a phone call before going kitesurfing
So let’s all put down the phone and ignore social media for a whole 24 hours.
Along with Virgin.com, Holly and Sam and many others, I’m taking part in the national day of unplugging – where we’ll all go on a day-long digital detox. This means no blogging, no posting or looking at social media channels for 24 hours from Friday evening at 6pm.
Richard Branson phone
There’s such a huge value in disconnecting from digital devices and reconnecting with ourselves and our loves ones.
But there’s also a bigger message that we can take home from this experience – that we can all be more present in our own lives. I really believe that being in the moment is the key to happiness and success – and being constantly glued to your phone can have a big impact on your relationships. I always try and focus my attention on whoever I’m with. When I’m in a meeting I listen and take notes and when I’m at the dinner table I catch up with my family. While I love technology and social media, a text or a tweet can never replace the real value of conversation.
At VML we often talk about the importance of unplugging – we have our very own Digital Detox on a Wednesday afternoon when we shut off our email servers for an hour to encourage staff to talk to each other. I’ve seen great benefits in collaboration – the team hold regular lunch and learn discussions, and there’s now even a running club that’s sprung up every Wednesday lunchtime.
If you’re finding it hard to be in the moment because you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to take a break to recharge. We all need time to rest. I love hiking, biking and windsurfing as I feel connected to nature and re-energised after a good session. I would recommend finding a hobby that gets you outside and unplugged – even if it’s just walking the dog around the park. It’s a great way to boost your mood and feel more in control.
When you’re present, you notice the moments that really matter. For me, it’s holding my grandchildren’s tiny hands, seeing flamingos fly across Necker at dusk, listening to my family debate ideas over the dinner table, the smell of rain and the wind across the sand. I would hate to miss these moments because I’m replying to an email or sending a tweet.
We need to remember that we are the masters of technology, it is not the master of us.