The truth is, like it or not, most of us are slaves to our smartphones. In a digital age where we’re constantly connected, we’re so used to having access to everything instantly at the tap of a tactile screen that the very idea of leaving the house without them is about as appalling a prospect as leaving the baby behind. Maybe worse.
We use smartphones to scan the news, schedule appointments, check our emails, set reminders, and keep us constantly connected with the office even when we’re at home in our pajamas. Admit it or not, but I’ll bet that beyond Asana and Slack, you also use yours to sneakily check how many likes your new profile pic got and how many times your latest tweet got retweeted.
You probably even use it to order takeout, play games, watch Netflix, manage your finances, or count how many steps you take each day. Let’s face it, if smartphones got any more intelligent, they’d be cooking our dinner and taking out the trash. But is it possible that our obsession for apps and tweets and all things mobile has gone just a little too far?
The Death of Quality Time
We’re all guilty of it. Casting our eyes downwards to respond to that unmistakable ping of a Whats App message, Facebook alert, or chime of an incoming email, temporarily ignoring the person in front of us or cutting them off in mid conversation. Gone are the days when the television was considered the unhealthy intruder at the dinner table.
Now, it’s more than likely that at any mealtime half of those present will be absorbed in their mobile phones. While you may be waiting to hear from your dream client, your loan is pending approval, or your latest article just went viral… don’t forget about the people closest to you; the ones who are actually in the room with you – specifically, the person you’re in a relationship with.
Admit You’ve Got a Problem
All this chatting with people who aren’t in the room and being available every minute of every day doesn’t give your brain a chance to shut off. You’re constantly waiting for the next email to arrive or alarm to ring. You find yourself working on weekends and can’t resist just getting back to that after-hours email from your boss… Whoever it was that said computers would give us more leisure time definitely didn’t predict working mothers checking their emails while breastfeeding their infant and dictating instructions to SIRI.
If you start to get nervous when you haven’t seen your phone for a while or can’t stand the idea of being parted from it even for a few hours, then it’s time to admit you have a problem. Stop letting your smartphone erode your relationship.
If you’re fed up with your partner staying up longer with their phone than you, they’re feeling left out and jealous of your love affair with your Blackberry, or you simply miss the innocent age when you could win an argument without being immediately disproved by Wikipedia, then it’s time to take action.
Ask Yourself a Few Simple Questions:
- Do you spend more time with your hand-held device than holding hands with your significant other?
- Do you fail to respond to each other’s conversations or look up when one of you enters the room?
- Are you cheating on each other with your iPhones?
How much time do you spend on your phone a day approximately? How much of that time is business and how much is leisure? Tracking your time might just be the cold hard shock of reality you need to wean yourself off this addiction. Think about how you can go about leaving work at the office, or if you work from home, think about how you can limit your working hours.
What about your leisure use? How much of your social interaction can you actually do face to face? Set yourself a rule and have certain times a day when you put your phones away. Start with a smartphone-free evening. Try giving your partner 100% of your attention instead of multi-tasking them in with your online life and see where that might lead. You might be glad you did.