Practicing Waiting

I’ve been in the process of reviewing how I use screens and tech stuff and one of the things I have been doing as a result is ‘practicing waiting’.

That might sound a little weird so I’ll explain.

You go to meet a friend for coffee and get there first – 5 minutes early – so my normal procedure has been to crack open the phone and check email/ FB/ Instagram/News etc until my friend arrives. I’ll do the same when stuck in a long queue or when waiting in the school carpark to pick up my kids, or in the Doc’s waiting room – in fact any time I am in danger of being bored or mentally unoccupied.

Now I’m that weird guy who is just sitting there… without a phone, or at least without using it. And I dunno how you go with this, but I find it hard… It feels like wasted time – when I could be catching up on the inevitable info-barrage that awaits.

But I’ve been reading and learning about the importance of being ‘bored’, about the need for ‘brain down time’, to allow fresh thoughts to percolate and generate. I used to have lots of fresh and fun ideas, but in recent years they seem to have diminished and I am fairly sure its at least partially because my brain never gets a rest. I am always grazing on some form of information so the possibility of my brain firing a new spark is limited.

Its both very difficult to wait and yet also very easy.

You just sit there… and keep on sitting… until your friend arrives, the doc calls you in, or your kids turn up. Its not fun, but I get the sense that it is good for the mental health and may be another piece of the puzzle when it comes to changing up my mental habits.

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