Just how addicted are you? A quick experiment on your relationship with your smartphone
We are hopelessly addicted to our phones. It’s terrible, and I don’t think we talk about it enough. This week I disabled a key feature on my iPhone, and it made my week better…
We’re wasting our lives
That family that you see at the cafe, all of them are head down in their phones, that couple at a romantic dinner, not one bit of eye contact, both on their phones. People waiting for the bus, all with a ‘I’m serious, I’m important, don’t look at me’ frown on their face, buried in their phones. The parent, pushing their son on the swing, with one hand holding the phone. What rubbish.
I think this is completely heart breaking. We are ruining our lives, wasting so much time staring at these little phones. Look at the masses of smartphone zombies wherever you go.
Then you see the opposite. The father and son, joking and playing together. The in-love couple, holding hands looking at each other, laughing, no instagram required for validation. The casually dressed person waiting at the bus stop, headphones on, a smile, and a Puffin book in hand, looking forward to the journey. Cast yourself forward to your deathbed, looking back at that bus stop, who do you envy more?
I eliminated the apps, but the browser still caught me
I don’t have social media (I recommend you try it), with the exception of LinkedIn, as it has brought me job opportunities in the past. However, I found myself still surfing junk from my phone, and it took me out of the present.
So this week I disabled Safari from my phone. Notice how I said “disabled”, because you can’t actually delete Safari. It was interesting how often I picked up my phone and wen’t ‘oh, I can’t do that’.
Now, what’s so bad about surfing the web on your phone? Because it’s so easy, I tend to do it when I could be doing something more enriching, that requires just a bit more initiation effort. Sites are also designed to be addictive, to learn as much about you as possible, to market to you as much as possible.
If I only have 5 minutes to kill, instead of reaching for my phone, how about I just chill out and enjoy the moment? Day dream for a bit, or pull out my Kindle and read a few pages.
A horrible place to spend time
Ultimately I’ve found the phone is a horrible place to do most activities. The way you look is horrible, hunched over staring into your master, but it’s also ineffective.
- Writing emails? Do it from your desk and do it meaningfully — write one message that will eliminate the need for the next 5
- Any work — If you can do it from your phone it’s time to take a closer look at the quality of the work you are delivering.
- Surfing the web? Read a book instead
- Checking the news? Do you really need to check it? Is it just because it’s a crutch, is it because it’s easy?
- Rediscover day dreaming and being present.
I never thought I’d say this, but even though my career is in Tech, I’m starting to wonder if we really need this thing on us all the time, which is why I also carry a $29 phone when I take my son, or spend an evening with my wife. I don’t want the temptation, I’m addicted.
If you’d like to try this, first get rid of social media apps, then Chrome, then disable Safari.
- Disable Safari on iOS by following these simple steps: STEP 1: From your device’s home screen, click the Settings app.
- STEP 2: Scroll down and select General.
- STEP 3: Select Restrictions.
- STEP 4: Enter (or create) your restrictions passcode.
- STEP 5: Switch the toggle next to Safari to the OFF position.