Let’s get real with each other…we are all in this together.
After all, you are reading this and the chances are good that you are probably reading it on your cell phone.
So, the question is, are you being a “phone-ie” and being a “phony” by opting to miss a chunk of your actual life because you are forever using your phone?
We are each so conditioned to have constant knowledge, to have the ability to know and respond to absolutely everything instantly, that it has made it incomprehensible for us to be separated from the devices that provide this information to us. We are tethered to tech. We are on phone autopilot. We cross the streets while reading messages, we grab our phones at traffic lights while driving, and we open our eyes in the morning and reach for our phones. Scan the room at any restaurant; it’s always the same story. Phones are out on tables, people are taking pictures of their food, and others are scrolling through social media. Our connections to our phones and all that they offer us have for many superseded our connections to each other. Has it just become so much easier to be with the “people in our phones” that we have forgotten how to be with the actual people in our lives? The lines have blurred between how we interact with others in person and how we respond via our phones.
We record and re-record ourselves. This epidemic of self-photography breeds a new kind of “look at me narcissism.” With every click of the camera feature, we record rather than live the moment we are in. We let go of our privacy in order to share with strangers. No one records unhappy moments, only happy ones… perpetuating the myth that we all lead perfect lives. Being perfect carries an enormous amount of baggage. The constant feeling of being “on” and plugged in creates a false connection to people and things and manifests anxiety as we compare and contrast ourselves to others.
In order to be true to ourselves we need to be able to find more ways to reconnect with the actual world and not just the world within our phones. Many of us have become complacent in our daily lives largely because the world can be brought to us. We can order, research, submit, engage, post, and record on our phones-- almost everything-- right from home, in our pajamas.
With all of this instant and continual connection to everyone all the time, the art of interactive, live conversation is lost to the urgent typing of a text. This text to others often trumps the respect and attention that our in-the-flesh friends, family and co-workers deserve. Checking our smart phones all day long zaps our time and takes us away from the tasks at hand in order to engage ourselves elsewhere. While we all enjoy the advantages of owning smart phones, and cannot picture life without them, are our smart phones making us a little less intelligent, a little less tenacious, and a little less human?
We all know how we got to this point. Can we control our smart phone habits? How do we move away from our virtual connections and move closer to our real ones? Here are 7 suggestions for drawing some boundaries around “phone-ie.”
Keep the phones off the tables! When dining with others, dine with others. Talk, listen, engage, and make eye contact.
You’re it! One popular way to combat cell phone over use during group meals is to have everyone at the table put their phones into the center of the table face down. If anyone looks at their phone during the meal…they are paying for that meal! Or at least a round of drinks.
Take a vacation from social media. Pick one day, or an entire weekend to be social media free. You will find a few “extra” hours to do what you most cherish.
Consider a cell free area for your home or business. Just like smoking is banned in most public places, cell phones may not be far behind. Try to find a room of your home or office where cell phones are banned at a specific time or specific day.
Don’t answer emails or texts with urgency unless it is your own urgency. When people send us texts and emails, it is implied that they are expecting an immediate response. That is about their agenda. Pause and make sure it is about yours as well. Many people I know will not answer a business email or text over the weekend.
Recharge your phones at night only. That way, you can only be attached to the magic of your phones for the duration of the charge and no longer.
Don’t be transparent. Everyone does not need to know your every move; you are not starring in a movie. Have some secrets, some private moments that you enjoy without documentation. You own those moments, and they become that much more special and memorable when they are yours to keep and savor.
Randi Levin, CPC, founder & CEO, Randi Levin Coaching – is a nationally recognized transitional life strategist, Fortune 500 keynote, author, and reinvention expert. Randi Levin Coaching supports women in becoming legends in their own lives! Legacy is a mindset and a muscle that when flexed can become a power tool for change and redirection in the current moment. Randi is a catalyst toward a shift in perspectives in regard to fear, growth, purpose and overall success—all key elements of her Signature GPS Coaching System. Randi Levin Coaching is widely quoted and featured in top media outlets. She is a featured expert for Thrive Global, DivorceForce, The Three Tomatoes, Women for One, and Better After 50. Her workshops have been featured in The Wall Street Journal and you may have seen her in HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, Business Insider, American Express OPEN Forum, and Working Mother Magazine. She is regularly a guest on top podcasts and radio shows. Randi is a contributing author in the anthology series Get RESULTS!