This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in Nov 2012 issue.
“Tring!!!” mobile phone rings. Within a second, everyone in the restaurant takes their phone out and checks for call/sms/mms/Facebook alert or Tweets.
That is a common scenario I see everywhere. Today, when you walk into a restaurant, you will notice that almost everyone has his or her phone out, and they’re texting, emailing, tweeting, or updating a Facebook status. Even though we are socialising and having a great time, a ring from our mobile phone will stop what we are doing and we start checking our phones.
There was a time when visiting a restaurant with a friend/family meant enjoying a tasty meal together, having an engaging conversation and updating each other about one’s life. These days with smartphone in our hands checking Facebook while having a conversation, tweeting a photo of a dish during the meal and taking a call seems to be accepted behaviour.
If you travel using public transport, look around and I am sure you will see almost every single person staring at their phone. The worst and dangerous ones are the ones who drive while talking or texting on a phone.
Also what about those who talk on the phone while someone is trying to serve them, completely ignoring the person.
Don’t get me wrong, I am just as attached to my smartphone as anyone. I love gadgets and technology in general. But lately I have realised that the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is check my phone for emails, messages, Facebook alerts and Tweets. Like many people, I have become so addicted to my smartphone that it is hard for me to go an hour without checking my e-mail, Twitter or Facebook alerts. It is with me, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
I am sure I have been doing it for a while but I only realised what I was doing when I saw my husband reading his eBook on his smartphone all the time. After a long day work when we come back home, we were sitting in the same room but often, he is reading his book while I am watching TV or using my phone to Facebook, Tweet or just surf internet. We were in the same room but we were not really talking. That moment, I realized that I wanted to get out of the slavery of phone.
Another habit that I realised I had was that I tend to look for my phone every time a pop alert for email, Facebook, Twitter rings so my smartphone was constantly demanding a significant part of my attention taking away my attention from just about anything instantly and consistently.
I realised that rather than me using a phone, I was the slave of it and its instant messaging. The ability to instantly connect with anyone has its advantages but it comes with a price. We pay the price in terms of the time which we feel we have so less of in this busy world.
I have also read about a research which proved the following.
“Those who are constantly breaking away from tasks to react to email or text messages suffer similar effects on the mind equivalent to losing a night’s sleep.”
So lately I have changed the way I use my smart phone. In other words I have stopped being used by my smartphone but start using it again.
- I know all the emails and messages I check in my phone can wait and people can always call if things are important, so I check them a couple of times in a day rather than as soon as a message lands in my inbox.
- I turned off all the alert sound from Facebook and Twitter so it doesn’t pop on while I am in the middle of something urging me to check it instantly.
- I make sure I put my phone inside my bag or pocket when I am meeting people.
- At home, phones stay in the table so no need to check every 5 minutes.
- I turn the internet off on the mobile before going to bed.
I am sure lots of you might have similar habit like mine so go ahead and try not to use for phone for an hour. See if you get more things done without getting distracted. Turn off all the alerts and have a quiet and piece time for a change.