Do you remember busy signals? You would call someone and get a sound that let you know someone was on the phone. There was nothing you could do except wait and try back later. Then you could call again and you might get a busy signal AGAIN! And I won’t say how I know this, but the only way to break that busy signal was to call the operator and say that you had an emergency and you needed to reach the person and could the operator please cut into the call. And then explain to the person on the phone (without fail someone’s mom or dad) why you broke into the call. You also had to have respect for other people in your house because you shared this line with everyone in your house (we actually had a party line so we shared with even more people!).
As frustrating as all that was, I would go back to it in a second. When you were on the phone it was important. At least, it was more important than anyone else you could be talking to at that time. You were not interrupted by call waiting or a text or email from someone else that was demanding your time. And, if you wanted to be left alone (to work, or watch tv, or take a nap, or any reason at all) you could leave the phone off the hook!
Check out this cute picture of me, that my mom dug out for me!
These days we are just too accessible. If someone wants to reach you they have an almost infinite list of ways to get your attention, and it doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing, they CAN reach you. And the only thing worse is that you are expected to answer IMMEDIATELY! It doesn’t matter if you are pooping, or on vacation, or woohooing, you are expected to answer really quickly!
This takes our attention away from our work, our family, our friends, our food, our walking, our driving, etc.. People are not just losing touch with those around them, they are actually getting injured while using their phones! Check out one of these articles, or the jillions more that are available online – 6 reasons smart phones are bad for us, or10 reasons phones are bad for us, or statistics on cell phone injuries.
So what do we do? We need to take a stand against our lives being over taken by a little electronic box that was invented to help us.
- For starters, turn off notifications on your phone. This allows you to tell your phone what to do instead of your phone deciding what is important to you.
- Make rules for yourself about phone use. Don’t go crazy here, start small and work up to being less connected. You could try only checking your email twice a day, or not answering phone calls while you are talking to someone in person, or limiting texts to three back-and-forths before you call and TALK to the person, or putting your phone away (somewhere farther than arms reach) before you go to bed.
- Let your friends, family and co-workers know how you feel about this constant connectedness. And where appropriate, let them know your new phone rules.
This is the AMAZINGLY SIMPLE way to keep your phone in its place and spend more time with people than electronics!