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My Presence Is a Present I Can Give to Myself

Jan 15, 2024

By Tricia Scott

Just before Christmas, in an effort to take a well-earned break and enjoy the festivities, I went on a mini-break cruise to the Netherlands. Just a couple of days away, browsing markets and drinking hot mulled wine wrapped in 100000 layers of coats and scarves.  

Even now, as many years as I have been working as an entrepreneur, I still find it difficult to leave my computer at home if I travel (and sometimes I don't), but the laptop was firmly left on my desk as I boarded the ship for my mini adventure. 

What I didn't account for until the ship set sail was that there would be NO SIGNAL at sea. NONE.  

Not gonna lie; I had a mini panic. Even though I'd kidded myself that this would not be a work trip, my calls, WhatsApp messages, emails, files, and folders rely on a half-decent connection to work, and here I was adrift... quite literally. 

After about an hour of sailing, I stopped checking my phone out of sheer habit and accepted it as the camera-only device it would be for the next 12 or more hours, and it got me thinking about distraction. Those unrelenting ding, swish, ping and donks we hear and see around us all the time. 

Usually, It's everywhere you go. People are constantly at the beck and call of their devices, walking around with faces glowing in artificial light and not just during the waking hours; we're waking up through the night when they light up with their ultra-bright retina displays. Hello, sleep deprivation! 

So it was refreshing to notice that, apart from taking photos, hardly anyone seemed to have their devices in hand. Rather than pings and swishes, there was the sound of chat, laughter and music all around the decks. People conversed, admiring the view and enjoying a distraction-free voyage. 

Now, I realise that it's much more convenient to have communication at our fingertips in the instant information generation. However, having so many distractions means we're working flat out, and it's not working. The device is symptomatic of something much more serious to our well-being: our manufactured need to be informed everywhere, with everyone all the time. 

Let me save you a lot of heartaches here; you can't do it. 

Much like you've only got so much wardrobe space (don't I know it), you've only got so much brain bandwidth, and it wasn't until the distractions were (admittedly forcibly) removed that the truth of that statement really started to sink in. 

Does any of this ring a bell? (pun TOTALLY intended) Is your phone constantly buzzing, pinging and swishing away day and night? 

Let me tell you, I laughed, chatted and slept like a baby aboard the ship (even when I felt queasy on the rolling tide 🤢). I soon stopped wondering who out there might need my attention and instead enjoyed the world in front of me in the moment; I even woke naturally early (no artificial blue light disturbing my sleep pattern with a random FB friend request) and caught a stunning sunrise over the ocean, it was pretty epic! 

Of course, about an hour before we docked in the Netherlands, I read the in-cabin information (that you are supposed to read before you set sail) and realised that you could pay for an internet connection on board, so on the way back... I didn't. Not a chance. 

Look around you today; are you missing while you check those notifications for the hundredth time? Are they relevant? Are they more important than the task at hand? I've made many changes since I returned from my trip, but the most noticeable is that most of my notifications are now turned off, and magically, I have more hours in the day! 

Remember, the beauty is always in the balance. 

I believe in you (always)

 

👉🏼If you want to journey with me through 2024, I email our Hello CEO mailing list every Monday. If you want to join in, head to The Homepage and sign up!

 


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