Saturday, December 20, 2014

Telus Reminds You to Unplug this Holiday and Enjoy #HolidayMode

It's a special time of year for spending time with those we love, making memories to last a lifetime. And, yes, we do want to capture a lot of those memory moments with photos and video, but we don't want to miss them by spending too much time connecting online via those same memory capturing devices.

Telus is in the business of connecting people, and during this holiday season they are encouraging Canadians to embrace the in-person, face-to-face connections they make with family and friends. Unplug from the online world. Turn off the devices, and be present with those around you. They did a survey this year that found Canadians are twice as likely to be on their phones around family and friends (82.6 per cent) as they are when at work (40.6 per cent). Wow. Why not give our full attention to the people we love during the time we are able to be with them?

In support of their #HolidayMode initiative, Telus has created some rather entertaining videos, calling us out on our smart phone/tablet addictions. Check out these two:

How do you think I'd look with one of those headpiece cardboard frames? I may just give it a go :) It's true though, the view is very different without a camera in between. I tried very hard to aim my camera and then look over it while I was taping Boo's holiday concert last week. The video may be shaky, but I saw him with unfiltered eyes as he sang and danced with his friends.

Do you need some help unplugging this season? The following tips have been developed by TELUS and family expert Sharon Vinderine to help Canadians of all ages enter Holiday Mode and get the most out of their time spent with loved ones.
  1. Take baby steps and start now: You don’t need to do it cold turkey. To avoid device withdrawal, begin setting small goals for yourself like committing to putting your smartphone on silent over dinnertime. If you can get through dinner without checking your phone, you’ll find entering Holiday Mode far less of a challenge. 
  2. Make a public declaration online #HolidayMode: Tell your friends and followers online that you will be unplugging and going into #HolidayMode for a bit. Ask them to call you on it if you suddenly start commenting on their posts or sharing pictures of your beautiful holiday dinner. 
  3. Adjust your notification settings: Turn off push notifications on your devices and apps to stop them from tempting you every time a text message comes in or a friend tags you on Instagram. This is a great little trick to manage your digital cravings when it’s time to enter Holiday Mode. 
  4. Delete apps that aren't absolutely necessary: Make it difficult for yourself to get lost in the black hole of app browsing by deleting them right off of your device during Holiday Mode time. If they aren't absolutely necessary (for work, for example), you can do without them. If you really want to check Facebook or Instagram you have to go the long way and use the browser to access your social sites. Consider this like taking the stairs to your favourite guilty indulgence: if you want it, you’re going to have to work for it. This will make it less likely that you’ll cave in. 
  5. Turn it into a game: Find creative ways to make a game out of unplugging, like getting everyone at the table to stack their phones in the middle of the table during dinner; the first to check their phone has to pick up the tab or do the dishes! Create a designated “Phone Box” for social gatherings. When your family or friends come over let this Phone Box play host for everyone’s smartphones so your attention can be spent on the people around you. 
  6. Out of sight out of mind: Stash your phone – somewhere safe – but in a hard to reach place while you’re in Holiday Mode. Keeping it out of your reach and sight will help curb the convenience of a quick text or newsfeed scroll.
  7. Switch into auto pilot: Let your device do the work for you: set auto-response notifications for your texts and emails. Or, slide it into airplane mode to hold all communication while you’re in Holiday Mode. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly you forget about your phone, especially while you’re with friends and family enjoying some egg nog. And don’t worry, all of your messages will be there waiting when you when you’re ready to connect again. 
  8. Set expectations with your close friends and family: Last but certainly not least, make sure to tell close friends and family that you will be putting down your device and going into Holiday Mode for a while so in case of emergency, to reach you on a land line (yes, they still exist!). That way you won't be stressed that you are missing something urgent, and they’ll know how to reach you if they need you.
For me, turning off push notifications is huge. I am like one of Pavlov's dogs, trained to respond to those special little beeps, dings, and whistles. If I hear it, I check, without even thinking mostly. That alone will go a long way to keeping me unplugged. And I have to say I snickered a bit at number 6. I misplace my phone inside the house so often it's laughable. At this particular moment as I write, I have no idea where it is. Of course I do have the computer and a tablet ready to go, so I'm definitely not unplugged. I think I'll designate a phone box for Christmas Eve and Day and have us place all of our gadgets in there. 

But still, I may find it difficult not to Instagram my Christmas dinner.

Do you have any tips to add? Be sure to share how you are unplugging this holiday season with @Telus, using the hashtag #HolidayMode. Now get offline and go make some memories :) Happy Holidays!!

Disclosure: This post has been brought to you by Telus. Regardless, all opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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