Recently I found myself being really unproductive, scattered and just not on my game. My goals are in order, my weekly list is prioritized and my calendar is time blocked. It was something else… I let my iPhone take over. In fact, I was getting compulsive.
Now I know I’m not alone. In 2015, on average, people in the United States across all age groups checked their phones 46 times a day. And that was up by almost 40% from 2014.* And yes, I just used my iPhone to figure that out…
IT’S A PROBLEM BECAUSE:
It interferes with sleep
By now you’ve heard that mobile devices and things like tablets emit blue light, which suppresses melatonin the hormone that helps us fall asleep. But this doesn’t stop the 71% of people who said they usually sleep with or next to their phones — 3% of those people said they sleep with their device in their hand!** (I’m not judging!!)
I used sleep with my phone next to my bed and I checked my emails and texts in the middle of the night. More than once, I’d check email at 2am and read something from a friend delivering bad news or I’d see a stressful work-related email. Guess who was up the rest of the night?
It’s distracting, rude and potentially dangerous
We can’t not be fully present on a task when we constantly have an ear open waiting for the next ping of our phone. That means we are actively distracted all the time. And when we do stop and answer the ping it can take over 20 minutes to refocus on your original task.***
What about when we are out with a friend or significant other and we keep checking our phones? Hello rude alert! And even worse how about walking down the street texting? I used to do that all the time!
It’s addictive and changing our brains
According to Catherine Price, author of How to Breakup with Your Cellphone the psychology of cellphones is the same as slot machines. Similar to winning the jackpot, our cellphones wire us to want the intermittent rewards of a text that gives us a boost or an email with news that gets us excited.
Secondly, and even more terrifying this “frequent, focused distraction isn't just capable of creating long-lasting changes in our brains; it is particularly good at doing so.” Talk about invasion of the body snatchers!
Now I will tell you, this time around I wasn’t checking my emails at 2am and I didn’t walk into the path of a speeding NYC taxi…. But I know myself well enough to know where things were heading — so I got a hold of myself, just in time. And since I work well with structure, I put together some rules.
Mimi’s Rules of Cell Phone Civility 😉
By 8pm at night, I will turn the phone off and put it in the kitchen.
When I am out and I want uninterrupted time, I will leave the phone at home or keep it in the car.
When I’m working, it stays off.
I will delete apps that I check way too much.
I will turn my phone on in the morning only after I’ve taken care of my pets, journaled and gotten my thoughts together for the day.
Have I been perfect? No. I think this is a weakness for me (kinda like Hershey Kisses) so I’ll need to work on being consistent. However, I do feel much more on track, focused and I’m cranking through my daily to-do list pretty fast. I also feel like I need to practice what I preach and so I am committed to being upfront with you on how this is going.
And I’d love to hear from you. Do you struggle with being too attached to your cell phone? Do you have any tips and tricks for me to try? Tell me in the comments or respond to this email, I’d love to know!
*Deloitte, Global Mobile Consumer Survey Report.
**Fortune, Here’s how many Americans sleep with their smartphone, June 29, 2015