Airplane Mode: Apply Liberally

[In my January 1, 2015 post, I christened this the “Year of Learning” here on the blog. Each post, I’ll aim to share something recently discovered (or re-discovered) in the hope that you might add my learning to your own discoveries and make double-moves forward and upward this year!]

airplaneWhen I was younger, I was always amused at creams or ointments that would include in their instructions the phrase “Apply Liberally.”

It was permission — more than that, an urging — to be generously free-wheeling with the application of their product. Don’t cheap out. Don’t fear side effects. Go for it. If a bit is good, imagine what more might achieve!

I’ve learned that Airplane Mode might be treated the same way.

In case you need a catch-up, Airplane Mode is a setting on electronic devices like cell phones and tablets that provides a one-click cutting-off from all external signals. As the name suggests, it was designed with air travel in mind, so that we could all respond in a split second to the flight attendant’s request that all transmitting devices be shut off. This great feature provides the compromise humanity has longed for: We can now appease the flight attendant and keep playing Angry Birds.

My discovery: Use Airplane Mode more liberally than that.

Nights: I flip on Airplane Mode right before I determine it’s close-my-eyes time. Who needs a sound sleep interrupted by even the vibration of a not-quite-silent phone?

Meals: If you’ve ever determined that family suppers are being compromised by texts or tweets, treat your dining table as an airliner. Your spouse will love you, and you may well rediscover the pleasure of a beep-free meal.

Visits: Rediscover the luxuries of speaking with and listening to the people your Facebook page claims you love most. When anyone can interrupt any moment for any reason, something has been lost — mark that down. This available-at-all-moments access, once reserved for brain surgeons and rulers of nations, now proceeds to thin out every moment in which all of us live. Hit Airplane Mode for an hour, and re-establish your skills at attentively caring for one person at a time.

Movies: Theaters already warn customers to turn off their phones so as to avoid being pummeled by angry film buffs during the show. If powering off seems too extreme, use Airplane Mode to fully engage in your entertainment and save your skin.

Thinking: There are some tasks that can be achieved with the fringes of one’s attention. But there are other tasks (particularly creative work or focused study) that demand our uncompromised A-game. Why self-sabotage by holding or wearing a buzz-bomb through which any time-terrorist can detonate the device and blow your hard-earned train of thought right off the tracks? In the name of efficiency, use Airplane Mode. Flip it back when you need that mental breather later on, and grant yourself freedom to ride every wave of inspiration or concentration as far as you can.

Airplane Mode: Start applying it liberally. You may be surprised at its healing benefits!