Setting the Priorities: Ignore Shiny Things

When I’m crunched for time in the morning, my mind immediately goes to every little thing on the to-do list and mulls it over at high-speed. I try to tackle everything at once, instead of one at a time. I try to control the six windows I have open on my internet browser, as I eat breakfast, drink coffee, get dressed, start a blog post, fix lunch, go back to the six open windows, catch what’s on Morning Joe, finish the blog post (on most days…), and take another bite of breakfast.

See, how that works? Right; it doesn’t.

When we sit down to read, watch a show or movie, or just chat and catch up at the end of the day, my mind immediately tells me to check my phone, write something on the to-do list so I don’t forget, check my phone again, check in with what we’re doing (movie? show? what’s that you said?), and then I’ll probably check my phone…again.

Does that give you a headache, just trying to understand the logic?

Me, too.

ADD Cat 
{It took me a good 10 minutes just to choose that picture; “Lol Cat” searches always create a time warp.}

Today, we talk Priorities. Do you have them? Do you set them – seasonally, weekly, daily, hourly? All of the above?

Tuesday night we watched “Miracle on 34th Street” (the new version, because Mara Wilson was an adorable toddler). It’s one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies, and yet every time that upper right corner of my blackberry started blinking that shiny red, I immediately checked to see what it was.

Standard behavior.

Then I walked that blinking phone into the room, plugged it in to charge & turned it on silent. Watch the movie, just relax for an hour and leave everything else alone.

I intend to do that more often, ignoring the fact that I’ve set that intention multiple times before. This time, it feels more pressing. For whatever reason, I’ve suddenly realized what a crutch it is. And it’s annoying.


Wasn’t there a time when hardly anyone had internet on their phone? We were able to shut “it” off, go about our days and get other things done – tend to other priorities. And didn’t we all get by just fine? Yes, I think so.

It may be a little late in the season, but better late than never. I’m setting daily priorities, making sure items get done and crossed off, and I’m putting my phone “away” (and shutting it up) when I need to.

Yesterday, I cooked some kale, sweet potatoes & fennel for lunch (using up groceries!) instead of sitting down to hash out a blog post. I went to happy hour with some friends and put my phone & purse in the corner, where I didn’t think about it for the rest of the night. I got up for yoga this morning and only let my brain think about breathing, tight muscles (ouch) and holding a pose.

I’ll “publish” this, answer some e-mails and keep one window open on Firefox the entire time I work – finishing tasks without shiny distractions.

I’ll wrap the last few presents for the tree, meet a friend for lunch, head to a meeting, and then head to the grocery store so we’re all stocked up for the holiday.

Tonight, with all of the above done & checked, I’ll turn the phone off again and enjoy a date night with D, to kick off the holiday weekend.


What are your priorities today? For the hour? For the rest of the week?

Are you a phone-obsessor, or do you have the {now rare} ability to ignore it?



Filed under about me, holidays, learning, things that make you go Hmmmm

8 responses to “Setting the Priorities: Ignore Shiny Things

  1. Wow, I think we were in each other’s heads when we blogged today! My post mirrors yours in so many ways – ultimately that we’re all far too revved up doing way too many things to ever step back and recognize what’s important in our days, what priorities SHOULD remain on our to do list and which ones should be tossed. It’s so hard to step back and just breathe. But I’m working on it and I can see that you are too and I love it. Have an awesome date night with D, my dear!

  2. Sadly I am phone obsessed. I keep my phone on silent at all times but I have a blinking light on my Droid and when I see it flashing out of the corner of my eye – I must check it. When I need a break though, I throw it on the charger in the other room and leave it. It’s freeing for a bit, and then exciting when I have several notifications when I finally pick it up again 🙂

    My priority for this HOUR is to submit paperwork to have a pre-trial conference to fight a ticket I received the day before Thanksgiving (evil! happy holidays to you too motorcycle cop!) I’m a huge procrastinator and this needs to be done NOW!

  3. AGHH I am a slave to my laptop when I’m at home. I can’t sit through 10 minutes of a movie or show without needing to check “something”… thankfully I don’t have a blackberry/iphone/smartphone of any kind. Mark and I were just talking about trying to spend more time unplugged over our holidays.

  4. I am phone obsessed and it drives me insane. I think a lot of it came from being in a long distance relationship. It was our main form of communication. That ended about a month ago and now I find myself constantly looking at my phone. Many times I wish I would just leave it at home just so that I wouldn’t be looking at it. That isn’t necessarily realistic though in case of emergency or just getting a hold of people. My priority for the rest of the day is to go work out with my family tonight and then enjoy some homemade pizza! 😀

  5. You know I agree with you on the cell phone! It’s like an addiction now a days for all of us. What did we do when we didn’t have cell phones? It’s funny because I’ve gotten to be an expert on turning the ringer off. I take time for myself to watch a complete movie, exercise, etc. instead of letting that darn phone distract me. I set priorities everyday and stick to them! Come visit me at and like my fan page on facebook as well as follow me on Network Blogs. That’s where I found your blog!

  6. Vanessa

    I am phone obsessed. I check facebook, twitter, emails and text people alot. However, at work (1st grade teacher), my phone doesn’t get checked. I know if I put my phone down more after work, I would get more accomplished. My priorities this week is to spend more time in my Bible. I’m on Christmas break so I def have alot of time. Also, I want to organize my school room in my house, finish Christmas shopping of course, and run…run alot!! (i love running!) Hope you have a blessed Christmas. 🙂

  7. this post is like a direct quote from my brain. I am constantly checking things on my laptop, iPhone, etc. But since I’m on the floor for hours at a time at lululemon, I have that built-in “away” time…but the minute I take my break, I’m checking emails, replying, texting, posting, etc, etc. 😉

  8. Lauren

    We all know how much I love to text! However, since i started my job I have become pretty horrible at my phone and now I hardly text at all. (we have to leave our phones in the office during 9-11 hour shifts). It is actually pretty nice. Also, I love reading my missed texts from Dust when I do finally get a chance to look at my phone. 🙂 I have also gotten really bad at calling people back though…you know this. Phone date soon I promise! heh

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