Have you noticed how many people appear to be praying these days?
Heads bowed, shoulders hunched, looking down at their hands and oblivious to the outside world?Believe me – it’s not religious fervour that’s enthralling them, It’s their hypnotic addiction to the smartphone!
Be honest. Who do you greet first when you get up in the morning - your partner, the kids, the dog OR your mobile phone?
Do you reach for your smartphone before you even get up?
I found myself doing that, and frankly, it worried me! I used to never turn my mobile phone on until after I was up, and ready to face the day, but slowly and insidiously the phone had ceased to be a useful tool, and turned into a bad habit - soaking up time and mental resources like a sponge. Being constantly in the loop seems to be almost a requirement of modern life, bringing with it the fear of ‘missing out on something’, accompanied by a sort of guilty pleasure in participating in the latest chat, gossip or ‘news’.
But Hey! It’s just a phone, right?
Actually, I believe it’s become rather more than that - to my mind, the smartphone has turned into the biggest waste of our most important resource - Time.
OK so it only takes a minute or two to pick it up and reply when it ping’s, peeps or whistles for attention, but check out how many time a day you’re doing that - and even worse how much distraction it causes to your life.
Interruptions are the worst time wasters when you have a job or project to complete and I personally find that I need ten minutes to get back into the ‘swing’ of whatever I was doing following any kind of distraction.
Most recently I’ve been actively working to completely break the smartphone habit - All notifications are turned off - email, messages, updates - everything. And I’ve also set the phone to automatically switch on the DO NOT DISTURB settings after 6 pm each day. Also, in physical terms, I make sure the phone is in another room being charged when I’ve finished work. Effectively I’ve turned off the SMART bits and left the PHONE bits switched on to receive calls!
The results have been completely positive - First, let me say that after 90 days of the new regime - I HAVE MISSED NOTHING OF IMPORTANCE!
I am now in charge of communications and distractions - I choose when to pick up email and messages, at a time to suit me - and the art of conversation has been reinstated into family life. Plus that nervous twitchy feeling that I might be missing out on something has almost completely disappeared - So there is life after smartphones!
It’s not easy because it feels like ‘swimming against the tide’ and it’s taken a couple of months for the new stuff to become the new habit. But personally, I think it’s worth the effort!
Some social media is great. I use it to stay in touch and build relationships. But knowing when to focus on the face-to-face interactions (like our weekly BCC meeting) and put notifications on “Do Not Disturb” is important in this increasingly digital age.
Many of us work on our computers, laptops or tablets with notifications switched on: email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Skype, YouTube, Tumblr, and Snapchat pinging, chirping and whistling as notifications fly across our screens shouting, “Look at me! Someone retweeted you! Someone wants to be your Friend!”