Give More Presence

About a week ago I got this app for my phone that tracks how much time I spend on my phone. My wife told me I’m on it too much and that I’m addicted so I wanted to find out exactly how much time I spend on it.

So after 7 days how much time did I spend on my phone? 10 hours and 6 minutes. I did the math several times just to make sure I was right. I am genuinely shocked and ashamed. This past week was fairly typical so I think it’s safe to assume that I spend about 10 hours a week on my phone. That’s 520 hours a year or 21.5 days! Three full weeks of time spent on my phone.

My wife was right.

Today in church my pastor talked about giving more presence to the people who I love. Not more things (presents) but more attentive time (presence). This admonition plus my obscene amount of phone time convicts me hardcore right now.

Why am I spending 3 weeks a year on an impersonal device made of plastic, glass, and metal? It’s not like it’s my work phone that I actually work from. This is my personal phone that I use when I’m not working.

What could I do with three more weeks of time each year?

Get closer to my wife. Read more good books. Play with my cat. Volunteer. Fold my laundry the first time I’m asked. Create something.

I’m so grateful for this experience and knowledge because it’s helping me to see how much I still have to grow up. This Christmas season, I’m going to start doing my best to be more present with the people I love. It’s going to be hard but that just means that it’s something worth doing that will make me stronger.  I’m going to put my phone somewhere that I can’t see it and try to be more present.