Taking time to PondeR

      44 Comments on Taking time to PondeR
(L. to r.) Yours turly, Jessica Braveman, Nathalie Retana and Isabela Jacobsen at the PRSSA conference

(L. to r.) Yours truly, Jessica Braveman, Nathalie Retana and Isabela Jacobsen at the PRSSA conference

My t-shirt (photo, r.) got some laughs at the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) conference in Washington, D.C. this weekend.  It was a birthday gift from my daughters, and it’s precisely what I find myself saying to my students when they seem surprised by an assignment or a class policy.  In fact, most teachers say it a lot, and in its silly way it speaks volumes about how much we all simply don’t pay enough attention.

I can tell you with some embarrassment that I’ve almost thrown out checks and credit cards, because the mail looked like junk and I was too careless to open the envelope. We allow ourselves to become so distracted that we don’t read past the cover or think things through or ponder before taking action. We multitask to our own detriment and, as a result, we wind up making mistakes and missing opportunities. Hallway conversations become quasi-meetings, and email messages become a substitute for contemplative brainstorming and conversation.

This is why I enjoy conferences as much as I do.  I relish the chance to completely focus on a presentation.  The cell phone is off, no TV is on, the dog isn’t asking to play, and no one’s dropping by the office with a quick question.  I get to listen to every word, share ideas and contemplate how they apply to my own experience.  And that is exactly the point of a conference.  It’s a chance to get away from our every day environment and do some critical thinking–without interruptions.  Then we enhance our professional lives by applying what we’ve learned.

Yes, it’s on the syllabus.  It’s in the envelope.  It’s in the classroom, at the conference, in the program.  It’s taking time to hear the words and really listen. It’s enjoying the parts of our day when we can pause, observe, and experience the moment.  Sometimes it’s just forcing ourselves to slow down, pay attention and think.  Your thoughts?

Next week: What I heard and learned at
the PRSSA conference

44 thoughts on “Taking time to PondeR

  1. Whitney Shepherd (@WhitneyPRGirl)

    I think in an era where the world is at our fingertips and social media is constantly updating we sometimes forget to take a step back. Especially as PR professionals we are always spending time tweeting out pictures of the event or quotes from the speech that we don’t really hear what is being said or actually what is going on. Many times we forget to actually be a part of the moment instead of just attending.

  2. Danielle

    Recently I went on a retreat and although it wasn’t an educational trip, it did teach me the importance of being unplugged for awhile. I’m guilty of always being on my phone, but at the same time I realize the value of face to face contact. I try to listen more and put the phone away during conversations with others at dinner, during class, or just hanging out with my friends. It’s amazing what you can learn and absorb when you listen instead of looking at a phone screen. Great post!

  3. Makayla Sapienza

    I completely agree, and this post hit me like a ton of bricks because I am guilty of never stopping to think about how fast I move. I certainly agree with the majority of the comments that say that we don’t listen but wait for our turn to speak and that our minds our never on the task at hand. I without a doubt will have to try and stop being a slave to the ring of my phone and focus oh what is happening right in front of me.

  4. sophia1212

    We hear what others say to us or we read it, but we rarely ever GET it. I like being alone either in my car or on the front steps, because I feel relaxed and I can focus more on what I’m reading or hearing. I allow myself to take it all in, and actually get into it.

  5. Laura L.

    I definitely agree that we must take a chance every once in a while to slow down and really focus on what’s around us. With the convenience of modern technology, we tend to get tasks done as efficiently and quickly as possible. Especially as a PR professional, I am sure that it is very easy to make a rash decision or mistake. We must always remind ourselves to take time to just enjoy our work and develop ourselves by slowing down and really focusing on the task at hand.

  6. elizah9

    Paying attention in college is such an important factor in whether or not you succeed. There is many times where I find myself wondering when an assignment is due. I often forget that there is a magical thing called a syllabus, that tell college students when an assignment is due and when is their next exam. It is crazy how a few pieces of paper stapled together are so significant; however, as college students we tend to overlook it on a daily basis. For instance, since we are always on the move it causes us to forget that we have a handy guide to everything we need to know about our college courses. From now on I am going to take a look at my syllabuses regularly.

  7. michaela marano

    In a world that is so electronically centered, it is so easy for us to get distracted and lose appreciation for the things around is. I believe that we are losing the ability to communicate face to face. Cell phones, because of the smart phone, are allowing us to have access to almost everything at the touch of the button. As a society, we have become engrossed in this digital world that takes us away fro the here and now. Because of this, despite the social media aspect, we lose opportunities to connect with things and people on a deeper level.

  8. Jessica Vallario

    My mother is probably the most meticulous person I know. She checks everything twice (or three times, or four times) and reads every detail. My brother and I often become frustrated when she asks us the same question twice, but what I have come to realize is that she is doing the right the thing. I can name several occasions where she has caught something I missed and essentially saved me a giant headache. My mother is a civil attorney for the city of New York and after years of practicing she learned that the fine print is often the most important. She reads over every word, twice and checks and re-checks everything she does. I think that this is a good habit to get into before entering the professional world. In such a fast paced society we often rush through tasks to get them done quickly, but in saving time we may be sacrificing efficiency.

  9. Jennifer Im

    I haven’t yet had the opportunity to attend a conference, but I understand the value of being able to place your undivided attention on one subject for an extended amount of time. In our era of constant communication, our attention is consistently split between emails, reminders, societal pressures, and four different kinds of social media notifications, so it’s always nice to have a moment of relief away from the worries of school or work.

  10. liadzayit

    I can definitely agree with this although I have never been to a conference. I get distracted very easily especially when I am at home. Being a commuter I tend to do all my work at home but I tend to get off track when my brother is with his friends, the dog is barking, my parents have people over or even when my phone is going off. To avoid this I recently been going to the library at school, leaving my phone on do not disturb and not taking my computer so I do not get distracted by social media. Its seems as if conferences are just like my situation and I would love to attend a conferences because it’s a perfect way to focus and get to listen and share ideas

  11. Devin Jaffar

    As a graduate student pursuing a degree in public relations, it is very important to not get distracted easily. I am the kind of person to get distracted easily and since I started grad school, I am teaching myself to really think things through before saying it or writing it. As an undergraduate student, I attended many conferences and these conferences taught me more than what I learned in the classroom.

  12. Brenna Harran

    I agree with you completely Professor Morosoff. We don’t sit down and just focus on the details or the task/presentation at hand without any distractions. For me, sitting in class without hearing the buzzing of my phone or the distractions on my computer is difficult. With this, I often miss the meaning of something or a minor detail that could really be important. The busier we are in our lives the less time we have to just sit down and think!

    PS: Love the shirt!

  13. Sarah Ramos

    Daily I find myself over looking something because I become complacent in daily tasks. In order to stop from doing that I find new ways to make the tasks more interesting. Doing this allows me to focus on the tasks and not over look anything!

  14. Anjelica Johnson

    I definitely agree taking the time to really let things sink in and fully understand how to apply a concept or lesson into your life is important. It makes me think about going to conferences when I was in undergrad, and it was a chance to learn so much about an important subject, but my friends and I would sometimes get bored and play games or text on our phones. We didn’t take the time to actually listen to what was going on and it’s something I definitely regret now as I’m older and more mature. Plus, it’s nice to be disconnected from technology every once in awhile.

  15. Doug Gillies

    This topic really hits home for me. I have been kicking this idea around in my head for a while. My job makes it difficult to slow down and process conversations while I am working. I am constantly moving to meet event times. I find myself reflecting on the conversations or just the things I saw during the day after work. It’s a constant struggle in todays world to fully submerge yourself into a topic or conversation. It is so crucial though that we have these meaningful deep conversations that stimulate parts of the brain that we don’t use on a daily basis.

  16. nicole_lombardo

    I hate to admit but I am NOTORIOUS for doing this! Whether I am in the middle of something and will think, “Oh, I’ll get back to that when I am done” and I never do, or I am feeling lazy and just think that I will remember to look later. More times than not, I will completely forget and than when I remember I feel like a complete fool. I think this can be related to what we were talking about in class yesterday. Stopping and taking in a moment. I think that people, including myself, are way to overwhelmed and that piles on an unspeakable amount of stress. Everyone thinks they can do everything, but sometimes our brains need a moment to catch up. I try at least once a day to stop for at least a half hour and just relax and forget about all my responsibilities. After that half hour is up I go back and make a list of everything I have left to do. This has become the only way I know how to stay sane. Clutter causes stress, which in my case, causes forgetfulness. There are no redo’s in the real world!

  17. Deana Meccariello

    I can completely relate to this. A lot of my job consists of proof reading, proof reading, proof reading…. and then getting someone else to proof read my work. Even though this is hammered into my mind I still find myself occasionally skimming my work. Its very important to not get ahead of yourself and always focus on the task at hand.

  18. Natalia Dutt

    I agree with a ton you have said in this post! So often now a days I’ll be walking down the street and not a single person looks up due to the fact they are always on their phones. It is actually kind of sad because there is a whole life to live outside of what we see on Facebook, instagram, and twitter. I have slowly but surely trying to cut out a lot of technology from my life for at least and hour a day. People could really benefit from putting the phone down.

  19. Meredith O'Connor

    I agree with some of your points, but I feel almost everything can be beneficial when used in moderation. Social media can hurt relationships, and experiences, but can also make new relationships as well as introduce new experience and events that you may not otherwise know about. However I couldn’t agree more that using electronics at times like the PRSSA meeting could really take away from the experience.

  20. Vanessa Felder

    Thanks to modern technology I can honestly say that I get distracted very easily. Often times I tell myself to focus on one thing, but then my attention gets diverted elsewhere. The only time I turn off my cell phone and tune out the outside world is when I am in church – and that’s if I go. I need to do a better job of paying attention and not let trivial things distract me from the world around me.

  21. Felicia Colavito

    Paying attention is something that is so easy to do, yet many of us fail in doing so, myself included. There has been so many times I simply tune information out, or overhear my classmates say, “I was too lazy to check the syllabus.” However, paying attention plays a big role in succeeding. Even just paying attention to something your professor likes in their papers, or a necklace your friend loved, and so on, can make a difference in the relationships we have in our lives on a professional and non professional level.
    I think a big part of “being distracted” comes from the cell phone. Many of us are constantly checking our social media pages or texting friends, which causes us to not be focused on the present moment. This weekend I went to the Hamptons with my boyfriend’s family and actually forgot my phone at home (shocking!). I was so upset at first, but then realized I really didn’t need it. I was able to unplug for the entire day and pay attention to not only the people around me, but to the experience I was taking apart in. I now want to take an hour everyday and just turn my phone off so I can pay more attention to the people and the things that are going on around me.

  22. Amy Schildwaster

    I love attending conferences, I always leave with a reignited sense of why I love PR. I do get distracted even when I’m at conferences but it isn’t by my phone but by my own thoughts. If a speaker mentions working in an office, I think about my job and the tasks I need to complete the next Monday, which can lead me to think about my class for that day and the cycle continues. I feel like I need to start mentally preparing for conferences before I go to get into the right mind set.

  23. Areanna Rufrano

    When I was in fifth grade my teacher gave the class a 15 question test that I still remember to this day. The whole class was so apprehensive about it and we were all eager to start the exam. Once we finished, our teacher collected the tests and quickly examined them. Then she told us that more than half the class had failed. We were all shocked and upset to say the least, but then she surprised us with a shocking revelation. The instructions on the test stated to answer questions 1 through 3 only. The class was so eager to start the exam that we failed to read the instructions. Only five people in the entire class followed the directions. This really taught me a valuable lesson to take your time and read/listen. By taking your time you avoid mistakes, do things efficiently, and appreciate the outcomes.

  24. Courtney Zanosky

    I must admit that I laughed while reading this post because it is undeniable that you have said “it’s on the syllabus” more times than should be needed during our class sessions. I think it is such a part of human tendencies nowadays to simply not pay attention to details. We are so used to a fast-paced and hectic world that sometimes we forget to step back and look at the little things in life. Something as simple as turning off the cell phone or looking away from the computer for even an hour can be so rewarding. We were not created to be glued to technology and I think this is something that is often forgotten in today’s world. If we open our eyes, even to something as simple as a syllabus, then many of our problems could be solved.

  25. Ashley P.

    I think everyone can relate to this post. We are constantly trying to multitask, and even when we are “relaxing,” we are probably checking twitter, looking at facebook, watching TV, and texting a friend. With the world at our fingertips, we get distracted too easily and are not comfortable with being along with our own thoughts. It is definitely important to put yourself in situations where you can just unplug from the world for awhile, and a conference can be a great place to do that.

  26. nixablevins

    I agree that conferences allow you to step away from everything else and soak in all the information. I have been to a few conferences on various topics the past few years. When I leave, I always feel motivated and excited to make things happen. I take notes on what others say and get inspiration from their success. It is exciting. Also, when things get complicated, I can think back to my experiences there.

    Unfortunately many of us work on overload. We constantly have something that needs to be done while also attempting to satisfy our personal needs. In my senior year I have already learned how important it is to relax for an afternoon or turn off my technology.

  27. erikfreitas

    I agree that conferences are a great place to get away and participate in a healthy, intellectual, and constructive environment. There is more to this post, however. I also agree that it is vital to our success as professionals to detach from the cyber world and just think and do. In order to be productive, we must be calm and clear mentally, and sometimes that takes a moment to gather oneself before we work. I will take this post to heart this week, which anticipate to be a busy one.

  28. jheiden1

    I think that listening is an imperative skill to develop properly. Everyone can do it to a degree, but very few can really utilize it in the best way possible. I can’t tell you how many times I half listen to an instruction or an assignment. The problem is that we often become distracted by an overwhelmingly high number of tasks. This limits our ability to listen and focus. So there is an art to balancing all of these things.

  29. Gabrielle Furman

    Being in college I have realized that focusing and concentrating is very important. I myself get very distracted with my cell phone, and think that I have more time than I actually do for something. I believe that if i just sit down, take a breath, and put my cell phone away I can actually accomplish anything that I need to do.

  30. mconno25

    In this day and age, multitasking is part of daily routines. I constantly feel distracted and doing numerous things at once. I’m never thinking about one thing because my mind is all over the place. If I didn’t have my planner I would be lost. To be honest, even writing this blog post has taken me quite awhile because I have been distracted so many times. I’m actually starting to hate how obsessed everyone is becoming with iPhones and technology all together. I look around the room and all I see is heads down with thumbs scrolling on their touch screen. No communication. No interaction. I’ve been trying to distance myself from my phone because after all the videos I’ve seen and the one Nikki posted, I realized there are opportunities I’m definitely missing out on.

  31. Sarah Lopez

    The rather sad part about multitasking is that we all think we’re experts at it. In reality, we’re not taking enough time and energy to devote to a single project. This allows room for error and missed opportunities. It’s so important to take a step back from trying to do so many things at once and dedicate all your time and energy to one assignment to make it better. Life can be hectic at times and that’s the nature of it but it’s important to take a step back and really analyze everything going on. I think we would get much more out of doing something to our full potential rather than dedicating half the energy to do something.

  32. alexisgionesi

    I think everyone can relate to this post… I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve stopped what I was doing to either check Twitter, send a text, watch something on TV. Today, everyone is so distracted because there is just so much to be distracted by. It’s kind of exhausting!

  33. kcormi2

    I can completely relate to this post. With the constant stream of messages being thrown at us today, it has become incredibly easy to live in a state of distraction and carelessness. I often find myself prepared to do an assignment and knowing exactly what I want to write, and then my cell phone goes off and by the time I return to the task at hand, the idea has left me. I think it is important to sometimes put yourself in situations where there are no distractions but a single topic, so you can truly immerse yourself and express complete thoughts without interruption.

  34. nikkigyftopoulos

    There are so many messages being thrown at us through multiple distributive methods that our minds automatically filter through them. If at first glance nothing catches our attention, we brush it to the side without a second thought. We have become machines in a sense, constantly multi-tasking to get as much done at once as possible. However, efficiency methods usually decrease the overall quality of the work being done. Look at the example of assembly lines in factories. They make production faster, but they also create a less detailed and valued product. A handmade product is always seen as more valuable and usually costs more. The individual who made that single product had to put time and effort into their work. That is what we need to start doing…we need to put effort and time into single actions instead of trying to do everything at once. We need to slow down, put our technology away, and enjoy our lives.

    I recently saw this video about how in this day and age, technology is taking away from the simple beauty of life. It was such a powerful message that has stuck with me ever since. I am now much more aware of my technology usage and encourage those around me to put the phones down to enjoy a personal moment together.

    Check the video out here: http://elitedaily.com/news/world/put-your-phone-down-video/781701/

  35. bibianabogues

    I can relate to this blog in so many ways, especially as a college student. There are so many aspects of my life that I often brush off because other things get in the way, or I don’t pay enough attention too. Attention to detail is extremely important and I feel as if we tend to do the exact opposite, especially with the rise of technology. Although I don’t see myself as a lazy person, there are many times where I look back and wonder if I would’ve just put in a little more effort, what would’ve come out of it. We get so busy and immersed in things that we become blind to the answer that is right in front of us. I really enjoyed this blog and love the meaning behind such a simple shirt!

  36. Rebecca Costa

    I feel like the older I get, the busier I get and the more distractions there are. I toss mail I don’t recognize, I assume most emails are junk and I don’t take the time to always read the syllabus. It’s how life works and we all run in our own little circles. Every once in a while, it is great to just get to focus on one thing and it would be great to attend a conference and have everyone focus on the same thing, even if it’s just for an hour!

  37. Sarah Abuharaz

    It is so true, I find myself doing it everyday. I’m easily distracted by my phone. When it pings and I can’t answer, I start to become restless. I’ve definitely been working on it though since I came to New York. Transferring to Hofstra was a big deal to me so I knew I had to take it seriously. I’m here for school and I know my phone is a huge distraction. I think I’m doing pretty well since I’ve gotten here.

  38. Jenna_xo

    It is so true that we are so easily distracted at times or that we are so stressed out and busy that we don’t allow ourselves to take a moment to just breathe. We should always allow for time to really take in a moment and observe what took us there or what is going on around us. You’d be surprised at what you could take in by doing so. I don’t think we mean to be overly distracted and unable to really take in what we hear or see at times but I think the busy world we live in, especially here in the fast pace state of New York where people barely take a second to just turn off their brains for even an hour has a lot to do with why we are so prone to being distracted.

  39. Gia Palomo

    I think that especially in this day and age, people get so distracted by the pinging of a phone or by technology in general that its hard to focus. Simple things like keeping my phone away during movies or class, get so hard to do. With so much information circulating at our fingertips, I guess we take for granted what we already have.

  40. maxeisenberg8

    I think it’s nice to have a place to focus strictly on what we’re doing and not have to be concerned with out phones, other conversations, or any other distractions. This is how I feel when I go hiking or when I play with my band. I get totally lost in the walk through the woods when I’m hiking by myself. When I’m playing with my band I am completely focused on the music and don’t get distracted by anything else.

  41. Lyndi Catania

    I think the shirt is great! I agree that we let ourselves get distracted very easily these days. I have almost thrown out important pieces of mail myself. Conferences seem like the perfect way to avoid the distractions and enjoy the valuable experience. Just like the syllabus, the information we need is there for us, it’s just a matter of looking.

  42. Ashley Iadanza

    I have been thinking about this a lot lately as well. I’ve been trying to find ways of being able to have technology in my life and trying not to be so dependent on it. I wish we could here more about the conference though!


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