Dammit, iPhone. I Wish I Knew How to Quit You.
Obsession is exhausting.
I just spent a bucolic weekend in the country. The weather was sunny, low 20’s Celsius with a breeze that was just cool enough to remind me that it’s still Spring.
I spent as much time outside as possible taking photos and walking through acres of dandelions and brush. For the first time in a long while I was focused on the environment around me and not on the screen in front of me.
I stopped to smell the flowers. (FYI There’s a reason there’s no “eau de dandelion)
We’re slaves to technology. We’re addicted to attention.
We suffer not so much from attention deficit but from attention overload.
We can’t go 15 minutes without checking to see if anyone is paying attention to us.
We like to think we’re in control but admit it; we’re smartphone junkies.
My sister-in-law dropped by on Sunday and with apologies to the social media guy, declared that she has been unplugged for four days – not only from Facebook, but also from her cell phone.
She said that if people want to get in touch with her, they have to call her land line. (Seems they still exist.)
What surprised her the most was the indignant reaction from her friends.
For most of us, living without technology is like living without indoor plumbing.
We can do it, but it’s pretty crappy.
Five ways to control your smartphone addiction
1. Turn off “push notifications”
We don’t have enough distractions already that we need to wait by the smartphone, iPod, iPad, iMac and PC for the next little beep that says someone is thinking about us?
How about “you” deciding when you want to check in. Manually check your emails and Twitter mentions.
2. Know when you’re being compulsive.
Is constantly checking for updates and messages your new normal? If you do this without noticing, maybe it’s time you put up some barriers.
Put the phone in another room or in your bag when at work or at dinner. Like smoking, create cell-free zones. i.e. when talking with your IRL (in real life) friends.
3. Detox. Take a tech-free holiday.
Try a weekend without your smartphone or laptop. When you get the urge, reach for a book instead of a phone or chew a celery stick.
Take a walk. Real life is even better than 3-D. When you get back, make each moment with your phone count.
4. Just say no, no,no
Unless you’re a doctor on call or Prime Minister Harper’s PR guy, your world will not fall apart for the couple of hours you might take to respond.
And for god’s sake, don’t take it to bed with you. Even on vibrate, it’s just sad.
If you feel you can’t resist checking in every few minutes; try a cold shower. Step back. Remember, you’re the boss of you.
5. Don’t go cold turkey!
Sudden withdrawal has been known to cause irrational behaviour; people talking into soup cans, playing Angry Birds on an Etch-A-Sketch etc..
If you’ve unexpectedly become untethered from the net – say your battery went dead and you’re caught without a charger; seek help. Ask the guy next to you at Starbucks to borrow his. Failing that, make your way home (don’t drive), plug the phone in the charger and read a newspaper.
Your smartphone or you – who’s the boss?
About Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz is a Social Media Strategist with management roots in restaurant, hotel and performing arts. A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social". Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.