By Ruth Tovey

  • Missing important goals
  • The world’s best* high jump
  • How to make time in a busy world

*still to be confirmed by Guinness World Records!


Missing important goals

Ironically, after my lovely Employee Appreciation Day and welcome post from Andy last week, mine this week focuses on how to unplug and switch off from work. Hmmm, maybe I should be glad my post came second, or our very first blog may not have been quite so complimentary!

On a serious note though, it’s been estimated that we check our phones an average of 50 times a day, which when you factor in that most of us will surf the web, send some emails, do some online banking and still have time for a Facebook catch up too, means we spend an awful lot of time during our day staring at a screen. I’m so guilty of this, especially when the children are quiet, or busy doing something else, and I can often be found catching up on my emails, or researching things on the net, whilst they don’t require my full attention.

I regularly watch hockey or football matches with lots of other parents, and there are moments when one or other of us has to be gently told to look up, one of our children has scored a goal. It’s a small example of how not switching off, can result in missing something really important.

2016 2 Phones


The world’s best high jump

The problem is that screens then slip a bit too stealthily into every aspect of our lives, if I’m at the park and I should be watching a never-before-attempted high jump off a swing (middle child survived, relatively unscathed I hasten to add – I missed the most dramatic bit of the whole ill-thought-out stunt according to his older brother, which maybe I should be grateful to my smart phone for,) or on the sidelines of the various sports fixtures that I seem to spend my life attending, or even waiting in the playground for them to stroll out of school, the temptation to snatch a few minutes ‘catching up’ on my phone is ever present.

There are a generation of tiny digital natives, who are probably convinced that a normal view of a parent’s face has a smart phone surgically attached to it at all times. I joke, hopefully, but it is an increasing worry that if we don’t stop and watch the small stuff, the big stuff all too easily slips away from us.

2016 2 Goose


How to make time in a busy world

My own vow this week is that I’ll leave the smart phone in my bag and be fully present (and cold!) on the sidelines instead. Wish me luck…

So, what’s the answer? Well, ironically, there’s an app to help you (I said ironically!) OFFTIME is an app that actually helps you to use your phone less. Using some no doubt very complex programme blocking technology and communications filters and some other techy stuff, you can customise your phone to temporarily concentrate on what really matters, whether that’s focusing on one important work project, only taking messages from friends and family, or switching off completely to have some screen-free time. It can also track your daily usage, and tell you exactly how much time you’re spending on your phone every day. A little honesty based on actual evidence doesn’t hurt our opinion-based logic once in a while!

I’m not sure how it sits with me that we can entrust our capability to switch off a bit to an app, and I’d wager that the daily usage findings would be a scary eye opener as to how often we use our smart phones without even being aware of it. For now I think that a bit of screen free navel-gazing is in order, perhaps even the act of admitting we rely too heavily on our ability to always be contactable is a step in the right direction, and maybe I should fight this urge to go and download a screen time babysitting app and just switch off for now?

2016 2 daydream


Summing up

This ‘switching off’ philosophy appeals to Redtarn PR & Events. We’re an adaptable bunch, we try to be flexible and present in both our business and personal commitments and we go the extra mile to make sure we’re doing what clients want, what they need and what works best for them. We know the value of spending real face-to-face time with people, we listen and we adapt. And when one of our events comes to fruition, such as our 10th 2000trees Festival this July, it’s truly one of the most amazing ways to stop, switch off and look up – fully engaged in the culmination of that work…

The 2000trees Festival, Gloucestershire

The 2000trees Festival, Gloucestershire