Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship with technology. Particularly my attachment to my smartphone. Despite my best efforts, I’m really struggling to set and keep realistic boundaries when it comes to how many hours of my day I spend looking at a tiny screen.
Can you relate?
As a small business owner, I’m incredibly grateful for the ways technology enables me to run my business efficiently with low-overhead, and from anywhere. That said, if I’m honest with myself, I know that as a business coach, if one of my clients had an employee that they were as dependent upon, or wasted as much time chatting with as I do with my cell-phone, I’d wave a red flag and advise them on steps to change this!
I can no longer ignore this gnawing feeling that my smart phone is slowly starting to manage meinstead of me managing it.
Inspired by an article I read, my husband and I decided to use our recent vacation as a chance to truly see if we could disconnect from our phones for a week. We made a commitment to each other that we would be truly present for the duration of our vacation, instead of checked-out staring at our screens or sharing each experience on social media with people miles away. We even went so far as to give our parents the number of the hotel we were staying and advising them that if there was an emergency the front desk would be the best way to get in touch.
The result: it was incredibly refreshing and good for our relationship, but it was also incredibly hard.
What we quickly realized was just how accustom we’ve gotten to using apps to navigate the day-to-day activities in our lives and how much of the modern way of existing is dependent on our phones.
So, being rational folks, from time-to-time we allowed some exceptions: we used Google Maps to find our way to destinations, we used Yelp to help select a restaurant, we used Lyft to get car rides, we used Postmates to order food to our hotel for lunch, and we electronically checked-in for our flight.
These uses were innocent enough, however the real challenge was once the phone was open and our use of the particular app over...there is a strong impulse to go look at other things on the phone, which inevitably gets you sucked into time wasting screen-staring.
Smartphones are addicting, and honoring boundaries takes incredible self-discipline.
We tried our best and yet still we sometimes stumbled.
Since being home, I’ve been considering ways I could realistically stop having my phone be the single tool I use to operate so much of my life: I could get a newspaper subscription, an alarm clock, a landline, carry a camera, find paper maps, use the yellow pages, an address book….you know, like how we did before smart phones.
Is this the right solution? Is it at all realistic?
I’m not sure. I’m still grappling with it.
That said, I do know I don’t want to spend so many hours of my life staring at a screen. I want more space to think creatively and more time spent actually in the present. It is a priority for me to create more balance and become less dependant on a single device.
So, for this weeks Monday Motivation Challenge, I’d like to encourage you to consider your relationship with your smartphone and brainstorm together with me ways to create more balance. I believe this effort will inevitably help move your creative ventures forward and allow more space for making.
- How do you feel about your relationship with your devices?
- Write a list of the ways your phone has made your life better/more productive and also what ways you think it has had a negative impact.
- Consider what steps could you take to create more balance or set greater boundaries with your devices?
- Install the Moment app to track how much time you actually spend on your phone
- Create some attainable boundaries for your devices (no phones in the bedroom, no screens after 8pm, only look at certain sites on your desktop)
- Delete time-wasting apps
- Try to not fill down-time with screens (try just wait in a line, or the elevator, or for the train without looking at your phone)
I’m yet to come up with the perfect solution for how to manage my smart phone use, so if you come up with any great ideas in this weeks brainstorm or that you have found work in your own life, please share them with me! In the meantime, if you want to connect one-one-one with someone in real life to talk about how to start crushing your goals for your creative business, schedule a free 30 min intro coaching phone-session.
We’re in this together,