7 May 2018

Do Not Disturb: Quitting The Phone Obsession

Do we Have an UNHEALTHY DEPENDENCY ON OUR PHONE?

We have been talking a lot about how much time (and wasted time) we spend on our phones and whether we even register the usage.


When I recognised how much of the day my eyes were sternly attached to my iPhone, I thought maybe.

From the second I woke up, to the moment I drifted back off to sleep in the evening I checked my phone on an “over” regular basis.


I was in denial.

‘I’m working’ was the excuse I played when questioned on the amount of time I spent glued to the screen.


It wasn’t until downloading the app ‘Mute‘ that I fully registered how much time I was killing and the results were staggering.



On average,

* I picked up my phone 40 times a day


* I couldn’t put it down for long, checking it every 30 minutes


* 3 hours of my day were spent searching and scrolling


* I stayed away from my phone for no longer than 2 hours




At the beginning of April, I finally declared that enough was enough.



 ‘Do Not Disturb’ 

I turned the phone off to enable me to switch off properly in the evening.

Each evening I would put my phone away at 7 pm and not look at it again until 7 am the next morning.

Usually, I would be quickly replying to an email, engrossed in a WhatsApp chat with girlfriends or aimlessly scrolling Instagram. I decided to be more present in the moment.


Time Spent Wisely

I questioned the use of my time.

Spending 3 hours on my phone a day was eye-opening.

Sure, I sent a few emails and used it whilst commuting to VA HQ, but did that warrant 3 hours?

 


Routines Spent Differently

Previously, at any given opportunity my head would be buried in my phone.

When I stopped, my routine shifted.

I read physical books without pausing each turn of the page to look at social media. I watched a TV series without missing scenes to check notifications.




What have we all decided?

To take more time for ourselves; scrolling through Instagram can wait.

Drastic as it sounds. I’ve accepted the notion that life does go on without a phone in hand.

VA In Your Inbox

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18 Comments

Taste of France

Having a crummy phone also helps. I use mine only to call/text and to listen to podcasts while running.
That said, I now read all my news online, vs. on paper, and am so grateful for it.

Reply
anitapelayorivera

I agree. I only check it MAYBE on my lunch break at work, and even then, the decision we made to go for the limited data usage has made a huge difference. I don’t need to check my IG page so often because in the end, it doesn’t matter. I check my IG page in the morning before I go to work, and that’s it. Life is too beautiful right in front of you to miss it all because we have our heads hanging over our phones!

Reply
Mimi Gregor

I don’t even have a smart phone; just a basic flip-phone that makes and receives calls (it has a camera, but I never use it.) I have a computer at home, so why do I need to spend all that money on a device so that I can basically carry a computer around with me? I’m not on social media, because I figure that if you’re actually a “friend”, we’ve spoken in person and you know what’s going on with me. Acquaintances don’t have to know bupkiss about what I’m doing, nor do I need to see a picture of every restaurant meal they have. This saves me an enormous amount of time, which I use to cook actual meals, sleep, and read a book or see a movie without distractions. We’ve become much too dependent on these devices; I think that they fill the awkward silences when people are together because people cannot deal with silence anymore.

Reply
Judy Holmes

Mimi: Applause, applause! I was slow to getting a cell phone. I love texting – a big surprise to me! I even let go of my land line. However, I draw a line in the sand when it comes to upgrading to a smart phone. Our phone addiction is impacting so much of our daily life! I believe this obsession has lessened the quality & depth of conversations we have with one another. I have a laptop at home but I do not have internet. I use the internet at my local library. I also do not have cable television which is saying something because I use to work for a cable company – ha! I channel surf too much with cable! I enjoy checking-out movies, documentaries & such from my local library. I want to know what I am going to watch before I turn on the television. I believe we have a responsibility to make our own personal decisions about technology. We can control how much & how often technology distracts us from being our best selves. I love having time “to cook actual meals, sleep & read a book or see a movie without distractions.” Ineed the silence – especially in my own home!

Reply
Linda Boardman Kerr

This is a timely topic for me. My husband and I had a big discussion about it yesterday. I strongly believe that the smart phone is very addictive. I see it in the classrooms (high school) at work and I see it in my own behavior. Hours are wasted each day, where I could be doing something more worthwhile or creative. On the other hand, the phone, with all its apps, is like a Swiss Army Knife. It is many things: a book, a mailbox, a translator, my music, my GPS, encyclopedia, etc. Here is a Ted talk that addresses the effect it has on our lives: https://www.ted.com/talks/adam_alter_why_our_screens_make_us_less_happy

I have decided to turn it off for periods of time, or at least TRY. I wouldn’t want to miss an important text from my kids! It’s a dilemma. Good subject.

Reply
Vicki Ford

Check out the amount of electro magnetic radiation that comes off your cell phone. That should sort things out. Goodnight!

Reply
Frith

Great topic Vicki and I am in total agreement, but am not as disciplined as you are although I am trying.

Reply
Jillayne Wickware

I can truthfully say I have never had a problem with time spent with my mobile phone as I use it for only a phone 95% per cent of the time. very few people have the number and if they need to talk to me they know they’ll have better luck on the land line. The joke in the family is that my cell phone is for my convenience, not anyone else’s but there is a strong ring of truth in that. For me, phones are still for talking – the computer is for searching. That division makes a world of difference I think.

Reply
Wendi

So I have a few thoughts and suggestions on this topic. The instant world that we live in today is most of the times a real blessing. Pretty well any question that I have can be answered by “The Box” which is a godsend when you are looking for obscure information. However, as a business woman who has both an Instagram and Facebook page, Google page. blog and website (actually under construction right now), the big problem is that we get some of our rankings in SEO from the promptness of our replies to customers. I have had messages that arrived for my business at midnight and if I don’t respond, my rate of response goes down. This is a conundrum for business people – when does business end and personal time begin? Also, if I do respond, especially on Facebook, please do not respond again to me especially with emojis because, then once again I must respond or be docked for the lack of response. Etiquette for customers making an inquiry:

1. Please look at the time. If it is past 9 pm then unless your question is an emergency, please wait until the next business day to ask your question. I too like to have some time away from my business and in retail, our weekends are usually Sunday and Monday.
2. If you ask a question and I have responded to you promptly, unless I have missed the context of the question or there needs to be a confirmation, there is no need to respond to my response.
3. I like my customers a lot but I do not need you to send me emojis.

Thank you Vicki for this timely post. I have just gone through a scenario as I described – customer question, my response which did include a question to clarify, her response to that, then mine to suggest that she might want to come to my store so that we could determine the outcome then several responses from the customer that were emojis. I finally took the hit on the promptness because I just don’t have time for that type of back and forth with a stranger.

Wendi

Reply
Lynne

Knowing my own addictive nature i decided to stay off social media altogether. The people closest to me know this and send me emails and photos of important matters. I don’t feel i am missing out and hope i have avoided a potential problem.

Reply
MARLA P

How did this happen? Right? Gracious is it a thing that “fills in” all of the spaces we have in our lives so we never turn off or wind down? Maybe we are afraid we will miss out? I truly do not know. But good article VA.

Reply
1010ParkPlace

I rarely check my phone. My two puppies are so loving and entertaining, I’m workout by on my courtyard, adding new plants, working out at the gym, watching American Idol for the first time… I could have many more Instagram followers but a life spent with my phone is not the life for me. Brenda

Reply
Pamela

I enjoy my phone but I try not to let it take up too much time. Struggled with a back injury earlier in year, lying flat for weeks and then still in recovery for a month more. The phone kept my mind occupied (books too) and I took up Instagram and enjoyed it. Could also Google all kinds of things from bed. Very few of my long term close friends are on social media sadly. Some think it’s the devil’s work (not literally). But I like to keep in touch with others OS and interstate. Also follow my granddaughter’s IG posts of her dog. So adorable and entertaining. Only 13 and she already takes fab photos, writes cute, clever, funny captions and is learning how to write what’s appealing and relate to her many followers. Her dog is a brand ambassador so she’s also learning marketing skills and earning a small amount of pocket money. Good experience for later in her adult life I think.

Reply
Michelle à Détroit

I have always hated telephones. My husband still teases me about how brief our phone chats were when he was courting me. For a while there, he wasn’t sure that I really liked him! I have a small business and I still must force myself to keep my phone charged, off of silent mode, nearby and at the ready. If I didn’t make a conscious effort, the poor phone would be permanently lying dead at the bottom of my bag and I would have no friends OR customers.

Reply
Michelle à Détroit

In addition, I use my iPad rather than my phone for most communication. Email, I love.

Reply

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