Fair warning – I’m about to make a statement with a random anecdote as my only bit of clearly unscientific “evidence.” Putting away your phone and taking a walk will make you more creative.
Tonight, I took my dog (giant blue-nose pit bull, in case you’re curious) on a stroll to my local grocery store in Malibu. As the sun set, I barely noticed. My head was down, staring at my phone. I was checking MLB scores and simultaneously tweeting and emailing. I reached the store without actually knowing how I arrived. I was hypnotized and taking stock of my shopping list.
I hadn’t planned on it, but I left the market with three heavy bags that housed eggs and milk, meat and veggies, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a handful of other odds and ends.
This meant that I’d hold the leash in my left hand, one large shopping bag slung over my shoulder and the other two in my right. It also meant, to my dismay, my phone would be in my pocket.
As I cursed at myself for not driving instead, I hiked down a pitch black Pacific Coast Highway with my dog and 100 pounds of food for my home.
Then I noticed something. The ocean was loud, bellowing a consistent low-level roar. The stars were glowing with just enough light to illuminate my path. A comfortable breeze provided slight resistance but felt totally worth it; the upside was a light bounce on my skin.
As I took it all in and started to feel grateful, my mind exploded with creative thought. In my head, I solved an issue related to an article I’ve been working on. I vividly rehashed and analyzed my day. And, I decided to write this quick blog.
I’m not going to be giving up modern technology any time soon, but next time you’re out, take some time to experience your surroundings. I had a unique experience simply because my phone was in my pocket; let me know if you have one too.