Have you ever left your house, happily arrived at your destination, only to have that “where the heck is my phone” panic scramble? This includes, but is not limited to: patting down pockets, reaching into bags, completely dumping said bags, searching under car seat. All the while your eyes are darting around, frozen in time, hoping that a flash will hit, reminding you of your last phone encounter.
Last week I had that panic scramble while out running errands. The unthinkable had occurred: I left my phone at home. Breathing slowly, I told myself that I was only running a few errands. What could go wrong? I reassured myself that I’d soon be reunited with my phone.
While sitting at a red light, I wanted to check my e-mail. Wow, I’m bored. Sheesssh, another red light…where is my blasted phone? Geez, I may look at my phone while driving more than I think. At the UPS store, I waited, wishing I could see what was happening on Twitter. I see a greeting card stand with the usual categories: Birthday, Get Well, Anniversary… wait…what is this? Almost Funny cards? Love it! Wish I could take a picture of it… bummer… I forgot my phone. Should I be somewhere? My phone usually alerts me with an alarm for any appointments or conference calls. Dear Lord, I hope the school doesn’t call due to a sick or hurt kid. Irrational fear takes over. I had better cut my errands short and get back home.
Ya know… this smart phone is amazing. But It hits me – I am an ADDICT. Thinking that this could be a blog post, I look for my phone to write a note. Dang. Maybe I can leave myself a voice mail message. Duh, no.
Upon returning home, I see my lonely phone on the counter. I run to it like a long lost lover. As I pick it up, a wave of relief comes over me. This is a problem. I should be able to function without my phone, right? Something needs to be done. So, thinking there may be others with an affliction similar to my own, I developed this 8 step program. If you know someone who may be in need, feel free to pass it on:
8 Steps to Overcoming iAddiction:
- Admit you have a problem (isn’t that always number one?)
- Break up your day with “Tech Time Outs.” Get off the grid and be free.
- Silence your phone when working on an important task.
- Engage with people, making the conversation a priority (not the phone).
- Safety first when driving. Phones truly are a dangerous distraction.
- Declare to the masses when out socially that you are putting away your phone. Then stick to it.
- Wait and watch. Use the down time to observe and be in the moment.
- Trust that it is okay to just “be” rather than always having to have something to “do.
Start slow and see what transpires. Without my face in my phone at the UPS Store, I became aware of a man lugging big boxes and was able to run to the door and help. Having a phone-free drive gives you time to think – and is the right thing to do. Waiting in lines sans phone will give you an opportunity to connect with people (what a concept!). I mean, what did we do before smart phones? That’s right – we survived.
And yes, I did go back to UPS and take that photo.