Stock phone

I did it and it feels great. Now, the key is to try doing this more often and with a clear and defined purpose.

Here is the question: Where was your smartphone right before you read this column? On your desk or table, in your purse or back pocket, or in your hand like most of us?

It seems we are always on our phones and they are never more than 2 feet from us all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone and everything it does for me, especially when I am bored or need a quick distraction to read the news or check emails, etc.

I had a little experiment the other night. My wife and I were going to go for a walk in the neighborhood, just to get out of the house for an hour or two. Normally, our phones are on us for no specific reason, but not this night. We saw a few people we knew and stopped to chat for about 20 minutes in their driveway. A little later, we saw another neighbor and did the same thing. OK, we basically had a short walk, but we really enjoyed the chats we had with a few different people.

Usually when this happens, I might glance at my phone to check something, especially when they are talking about shopping, politics or even dinner recipes. Yes, it’s ADD or what I call, crap that I have zero interest in hearing about.

This time, I had no phone to aid my distraction, so I was forced to be in the moment.

Couldn’t check my email, see what was happening in the news, the stock market or to take a picture of the pretty sunset. Yes, I had to be a part of the conversation.

When I came home, I actually felt relaxed with a good feeling from the time we just spent together, just the two of us and the neighbors.

So what happened here?

I forced myself to have a new habit and that was to be a kid again. No worries, no thoughts, no issues, just to play and be in the moment. We used to do that when we were children and it was delightful. I remember saying to my parents, “I am going outside to play” and they said, “OK, come back before it gets dark outside.”

Simple times, simple pleasures and a sort of freedom that was so enjoyable.

How can we get back those moments as adults and relax ourselves with a little playtime? It is not as difficult as you might expect, and I will list some of my new found thoughts that allow me to play again and be in the moment.

The less screen time you have will increase your people time and allow you to play again.

Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of numerous business books including two national best sellers, “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s newest book on sales is titled “Ultimate Sales Book.” He can be reached at


Letters, commentaries and opinions appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, its board, officers or staff.

How do you feel about this article?

Choose from the options below.