Put Your Phone Away

The scene I am about to describe is all too common. You are out to eat with a friend. You sit down and they pull out their phone and place it on the table. All through the conversation and the meal, what do they do? They constantly look at their phone and react to every ding, bell and song that indicates someone has sent them a life changing message that can alter the course of humanity therefore I must ignore the people around me to check in with the person on the phone because they are obviously more important that you. (deep breath)

Maybe we have all been guilty of this at one point or another. Sometimes we do need to be aware of calls and texts, but it’s bigger than that. It’s a symptom of a serious sickness. In the book my team has been reading together, author Todd Henry calls it “The Ping.” He says, “The ping is that little sensation that occasionally prompts me to check my email or my social media accounts.” He goes on to say “The ping wants to be my master. It wants to own me. It wants me to serve it. The ping even has a life philosophy for me… Something out there is more important than whatever is right here.”

There are so many projects, people and family members that are all attempting to gain our attention. The difficulty is we only have so much to give. As a member of the ADD club, I will tell you now that multitasking, although necessary, is not productive as it pertains to creative thinking. In order for us to do the best work we are capable of, we must pay attention to what’s in front of us and learn the art of focus.

This is a giant subject and I am certainly not an expert on focus (just saying that makes me laugh). However, here are some simple steps that might help you disconnect from the “ping” when you need to focus:

  1. Put your phone away once in a while. Break the habit of constantly checking your texts, emails and messages. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you are not that important. If the world is falling apart, you’ll know soon enough.
  2. When you need to focus on a project, turn off the alarms that indicate you have a message, email or text.
  3. Block out a portion of your day to check and respond to emails. If you do this and stick with it, you can master the “ping” instead of the “ping” mastering you.


  1. Stephnanie Adams says:

    No comment. Your wife:)

  2. I know Kelly will GREATLY appreciate this post sharing her annoyance w/ the ping 🙂

  3. You know what they say… write about what you know.

  4. Penny S says:

    Guilty! I am now making a conscious effort to leave my phone at home or on silent when I am meeting with someone. You are so right. It is just plain rude!

  5. Todd Henry says:

    Steve, so glad the concept of The Ping resonated with you. We are learning a fundamentally new way of being human as technology accelerates our capacity to explore our whims at the speed of fiber. Thanks too for sharing the book with your team!

  6. Thanks for the comment. Your book has made quite an impact on me and my team. We actually segmented the team into sub groups and spent time processing the book with each sub group individually. Great material. Thanks for your work…..keep it up.

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