Oh good grief, you say, you’re not addicted to your smartphone! You just like it, and, you know, it’s how you communicate with your friends and family. And you get such great ideas from Pinterest and Instagram! And your friend’s mom is having surgery across the country, so it’s absolutely necessary to check Facebook to find out how it went! And your kids need to be picked up and you need to be ready!
I get it! Because if my iPhone doesn’t ding or I don’t see an alert show up on my Snapchat icon every 30 seconds or so, I have to check! Did I miss it? I. CAN’T. MISS. IT!
Well, actually, I can. And you can, too. Because the truth is, we are all addicted. I realized recently that I was reaching for my phone, which was lying within inches of my hip on the couch while I watched TV with my husband, every minute! Or less! The crazy thing is, I hate my addiction to my phone! So I started paying attention to how often I reach for it, how often I panic if it’s not within sight, how often I check it even though I know nothing new has happened in the last 30 seconds.
What I’ve learned about my addiction is not pretty… But I have so many excuses! I have a new baby grandson and a daughter living in a third-world country, and a husband who only texts when it’s important. My friends are way too busy to call, so I have to jump when they text or post on Facebook so I can keep track of them. And on…and on. I am compelled to keep my phone close for those important relationships. And that’s true for all of us. And it’s fine, too, if you have minor children to keep track of or use your phone for workplace communication.
What I’ve learned about my addiction is not pretty… But I have so many excuses!
But our phones are interfering with our relationships in so many ways. We all know this; we see it everyday, all around. I don’t know if it’s possible to fully break our addition, but I came up with some ways I can temper mine. Here are a few small things I practice:
- I leave my phone in my purse when I go out to dinner, and on the counter when I eat dinner at home. On silent!
- I don’t check it until I get home, or the dishes are done.
- I do not take my phone to bed with me. It stays on the kitchen counter, on Do Not Disturb mode, from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m.
- I don’t look at for the first 30 minutes I’m awake, until I’ve kissed my husband good morning, stepped outside to scan the lake, and made a steaming cup of coffee. I use an app on my phone for early morning reading, but I don’t check email or social media until I’ve completed that, so it’s usually a good hour before my full-out addiction kicks in.
- When I’m outside, I leave it inside. I’ve noticed that I’m more peaceful when watering flowers or trimming shrubs or just catching some sun without hearing my numerous alerts go off.
- I switch it to silent and move it out of reach or out of sight if someone starts a conversation with me. I want to be a caring listener and give the other person my full attention. People in front of us are always worth way more than what is on our phone.
- I don’t carry it around the house with me (unless I’m listening to music or a podcast). If I’m cleaning or working out or getting dressed, I’m free to do that without distraction.
So try a few of these yourself, and discover your own smartphone freedom (at least most of the time).