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Apparently we love our own cell phones but we hate everyone else’s. — Joe Bob Briggs
I have to confess…..I really, really, really, really love my phone. I held out for so long, piously insisting that I didn’t need an iPhone, that it was just another time-sucking device, and that my regular-old 1st generation Android phone was working just fine, thank you very much, even with a cracked screen and no data plan. Besides, how much better could this whole smartphone thing really be?
So. Much. Better.
It is a note keeper, schedule-watcher, budget tracker, picture-taker, web-browser, email-checker, social media updater, friend-connector, and life-organizer all rolled into one.
And that’s just the beginning.
I’ve got apps for work, for fun, for saving money, for helping my kids learn math & reading, for checking the weather, helping me sleep, editing my photos, getting around town, searching the local real-estate market, scanning documents, booking travel, and more. The darn thing even turns into a flashlight when I need it to.
But I have to confess that I may love it just a little bit too much sometimes. Like so many others before me, I have become a smart phone addict, subconsciously reaching for it at every turn.
It drives my husband crazy. In fact, a few months ago, after he started bringing the girls to dance practice, he came home frustrated and upset that most of the parents spent the class glued to their phones. You should see them, he said, it’s just so sad! Their kids will do something good and then realize their mom or dad isn’t even watching and their whole face will just fall. Those parents don’t even know what they are missing.
I didn’t say much. I didn’t want to admit it to Chuck, but I was one of those parents. How much had I missed?
After that, for the sake of my kids and our marriage, I’ve tried to temper my obsession and implement a few self-imposed cell phone policies. While my dependence on my smartphone is still probably far more than it should be, these “rules” have helped a lot:
- No cell phone at the table. Period. This goes for both in restaurants and at home. No answering calls, responding to texts, or even looking at the phone while eating–or spending any sort of time–with someone else.
- Turn off notifications. Eliminating dings or buzzes anytime someone sends a text, email, tweet or Facebook message greatly reduces the temptation to “quick check” to see who it was. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never not checked my phone long enough to miss an important message.
- Remove email. This option might not be feasible for anyone who needs to use their cellphone for work emails, but for me it has helped eliminate the very bad habit of constantly wanting to check my email. If someone important really needs me, they can text me. Otherwise it can probably wait!
Like social media and email, smart phones can be a great tool when used wisely, and just another source of stress when allowed to take over. A little purposeful moderation can make all the difference.
Be sure to read Edie’s corresponding post, More Communicating.
Carve out some smart-phone free space in your day. Ask your spouse for an honest evaluation of your smart phone usage, then together create a few smart phone policies to implement in your life.
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