One of the most telling TV scenes about our phone addicted generation came in an episode of The Office a few years back. Ryan (BJ Novak) is participating in an office trip to trivia night and is told by the host he’s not allowed to check his phone during trivia. After he refuses to put it down the host confiscates his phone for the remainder of trivia night. Ryan lasts about 5 seconds, stands up and says, “I’d rather be with my phone” and then briskly walks outside. Serious separation anxiety happens when generation X, Y and Z'ers are not able to check their phone every 1-2 minutes. The statistics are absolutely shocking how often we check our phones and how attached we are to them. In many cases, our phone never leaves our side 24/7, 365. The reasons we need to break free of this addicted should go without saying but let me set you up with them in case they aren’t so obvious.
5 Reasons to Break Free of Your Phone
- Your relationships are probably suffering | Your friends can’t remember the last time you gave them eye contact. Your spouse feels ignored. Your kids are following your example and might feel ignored too. A 15 year old’s birthday party in 2016 might be one of the more depressing things you will witness in your life. Eight 15 year old’s in the same room staring at their phone. smh.
- Your eyes are probably suffering | "Because they emit HEV light (also called blue light), staring at phone and tablet screens may actually harm our eyes permanently. HEV light is that portion of the visible light spectrum that comprises light with the shortest wavelengths, which carry the greatest potential to damage living tissue.” "We’re spending almost as much time staring at screens as we do sleeping.” - Simon Hill (Digitaltrends.com contributor)
- Your hands are probably suffering | Yeah, you feel this too? Actually, as I type right now, the pad underneath my thumb feels a little sore. Most of us text and type all day long and it is wearing our muscles and tendons down. Rheumatologists don’t have an official diagnosis for this condition yet but my guess is that it won’t be too long down the road and there will be an official name. However, among tech-savvy users that have experienced this for years it is referred to as “Text Claw.”
- Your job performance is probably suffering | Some studies have attempted to prove that a short mental break of 5-10 minutes each hour can greatly increase work productivity. The truth is that many people experience full on prudctivity derailment not just quick break.
- Your mind is probably suffering | Studies show that our brains struggle to shut off quickly from our frequent evening use, which in turn impacts our ability for our brain to rest. Think of a really old computer with all of the memory and storage taken up. That computer takes forever to shut down and boot up. This is similar to what our brains are going through. "Through mobile phones, the internet, electronic mail, television, radio, newspapers, books, etc. people receive every day about 105,000 words or 23 words per second in half a day (12 hours) (during awake hours). Although people can not really read these 105,000 words each day, this is the real number estimated to be reaching the human eyes and ears every day. After adding pictures, videos, games, etc., we reach the volume of 34 gigabytes of information per day on average. The total consumption of information from television, computers and other information was estimated (for the U.S.) to be 3.6 million gigabytes.” (University of California- San Diego)
5 Tricks to Help You Get Free from Your Phone
- Sabbath | This is what snapped, and continues to, snap me back into shape every time I begin to overuse my device. Sabbath. Sabbath is intentionally setting something aside for a set time and for an set purpose. Are you an addict? Want to get free? Have a one month sabbatical from your phone except for calling and business related matters. What hours each day, day each week, month each year are you intentionally keeping your phone off limits?
- Turn off notifications PERMANENTLY | Yes, you read that right. Permanently, as in, forever. I originally went to my settings so that it wouldn’t spoil my favorite sports games for me when I was recording the game. Then, I made it there and thought, "I don’t really need to know that Sally liked my photo 6 seconds ago. That’s not really a time sensitive matter and it totally kills my work and home vibes by constantly popping up." The same is probably true for your life too.
- Charge your phone at another outlet | Have trouble staring at your phone and playing that game until you fall asleep and want to get free? Move that charger to another outlet across the room. This also might help you get up in the morning to turn your alarm off.
- Turn your ringer on and store in another room | This one is new for me but I am doing it more and more. I normally have my ringer off because ringers and sound notifications annoy me. They break my stride and demand my attention when they are rarely deserving of my immediate attention. Placing my phone in another room and turning my ringer on will allow me to answer important phone calls that might come in but still keep my eyes, ears and hands available to enjoy and serve my family when I’m home. The texting, commenting and reading about all the interweb non-sense can wait. I’ve used this technique in the car as well. I just place my phone inside my console where I cannot see it or touch it.
- Leave it in the car | This one is particularly on point for dates, nights out with friends and family meals. "Be present” has become a buzzword and its a darn good one. Leave the phone in the car. Most of the time, whoever you want to talk to at that time is sitting at the table with you. Enjoy being with them and don’t brainlessly escape to someone else’s life and table. Be present and enjoy the ones right in front of you.
Hope this helps. Would love to hear your thoughts and comments.