Do you see me? Do you hear me?

Where’s your phone right this moment? There are three likely answers to that question, the first and most probable, is that it is in your hand and you are reading this from it, the second, is that it is beside you as you read this on an iPad or laptop, the third and most unlikely it that it is in another room or perhaps even turned off. Our point is that over the last ten years we have grown an extra limb. Unlike the rest of our body parts, this limb is detachable, it feeds from the mains rather than food produce; yet, we are as dependent on it as we are our hearts. And love this extra limb we sure do, at CBTHBN we can vouch for checking our new limbs are okay before the rest of our body in instances of accidents. Hard as it may be to believe we once did survive without these limbs. Whilst our new limbs have made our day to day lives unrecognisable in comparison to those of our grandparents; there are some aspects of life that aren’t being helped by our new body part. This week we would like to talk about our mobile phones and how we can find a balance between digital absorption and being off the grid.

Like most of our posts ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me?’ has come from an observation, yet in this instance, we can’t help but feel it would be more adequate to describe the sensation as that of invisibility. More and more we notice we are invisible to our friends, colleagues and the general population we come into contact with in day to day life. The reason for this is digital absorption. Be it someone walking into us in the street, too busy catching up on Instagram to see us coming towards them, or a family member point blank ignoring us as they scroll mindlessly through Facebook. We are invisible. Sometimes we resort to waving in an exaggerated manner just to refocus the attention of our loved ones, and direct them back to the conversation put on hold by the familiar ping of Whatsapp. It’s not social media that is to blame but more the vehicle that has enabled it to become a part of our ever breath. The smartphone.

Combative techniques

This isn’t the first and it won’t be the last post about disengaging ourselves from our phones, in our research we’ve read some great pieces, from a newly-wed pastor seeking divorce, to lifestyle coaches recommending the best apps to use to implement ‘balance.’ There are many different opinions out there as to what is the best way to combat our digital addiction.

Strike one in our mission to disengage ourselves from our phones was the greyscale theory. The idea is simple, remove stimulating colours and notifications from your screen and your brain will be less engaged in the content. The removal of colour from our digital worlds had us feeling as dreary as our screens looked.

“don’t live in a monochrome existence”

Next up on our quest were the previously mentioned control applications. We chose Moment as our smart phone gate keeper. After learning exactly how much time we were spending on our devices we had even more reason to find a way to disassociate ourselves from our aluminium cased friend. Moment is great for both tracking the time you spend on your phone and also if your feeling brave, setting a limit to the time you wish to be ‘digitally active’. We couldn’t help but feel like bad dieters, craving the buzz of that familiar notification sound and bingeing on quick hit’s of Facebook / Instagram just like they were a packet of Skittles. Whilst our dentist might be happy with our new found binge habits, we found ourselves still firmly attached and reliant on our phones.

Disassociation

So how can we disassociate ourselves from our devices without becoming hermits? We aren’t advocating a tech blackout, we need our daily Instagram fix as much as the next millennial. What we don’t need is the nagging feeling from our brain, telling us we’re missing out on something until we’ve scrolled through every image posted since our last session. The best way to kick any habit is a change of mindset. So this week we challenge you to change your attitude to your mobile phone. How often do you crave chocolate, only to eat it so quickly you don’t remember the taste five minutes later? As adults, we know that the pastries we smell each morning as we pass the bakery offer no nutritional gains and that we will not feel better after eating them. The same goes for our phones, we know the statuses, BuzzFeed posts, memes and images we see on a daily basis offer no wealth to our day to day life yet we still engage in this meaningless ritual of habitual scrolling.

How we each use and relate to our devices is different, some people choose to turn their phones off whilst they are at work, blocking out the distractions of social media and allowing them to focus on the tasks at hand. Others prefer to spend travel time, catching up on ‘life admin’ texting, Facebooking etc. We aren’t suggesting we change our habits but rather our mindsets. We challenge you to unprogramme your mind from it’s bi-hourly status checks and remember a simple fact you will feel better from human connection rather than digital ones. Swap your LinkedIn networking for actual networking.

Expand your business card collection.

It turns out divorcing your phones is simpler than the many suggestions the internet has to offer. Yes, it requires some discipline but you’ll be surprised to see how quickly you fall into this new regime. Think of your phone as an inanimate object. Correction. Your phone is an inanimate object. It is not a living creature, ignore it and all that will happen is it’s battery will dwindle. Ironically, it’s battery will actually last longer if you use it less. Unlike a Tamagotchi it doesn’t require your attention for food and exercise; and you do not require it.

The mindset is simple:
- Use it when you need it,
- Put it away when you don’t.

Leave it at home, turn on airplane, do whatever you need to do to remove your phone from your conscience. Open your eyes and free your hands from that claw-like grasp.

Live in the moment

Originally published at cbthbn.com

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