Yesterday two things happened that really got me thinking. The first was what I noticed when I was at a restaurant. I passed a table where a family of five was seated. Every single one of them was on a smartphone and completely disconnected from one another. It was very sad and said much about where we are as a society today.
It all makes one wonder if humans are going to rapidly lose the ability to socialize in the way we have for thousands of years.
I didn’t pass judgment because my own phone was in my pocket – but the scene was nonetheless disturbing. Of course, smartphones have some valid uses ranging from being able to make emergency calls, to being used as a GPS, to keeping up with work emails, to sending an important text to a friend or family member.
However, what percentage of the time we spend on our phone is spent actually engaging in something important? “Nomophobia” is a modern age phobia that’s a byproduct of the interaction between people and mobile information and communication technologies, especially fear of not being able to use a smartphone. It also means fear of losing the “connectedness” that we believe smartphones allow.
That brings me to the second thing that I noticed yesterday, I happened to spot an old telephone booth on the side of the road. It quite surprisingly looked to be still operational. I was reminded of the days when a payphone was how you communicated with people if you weren’t home. It sounds inconvenient today but there weren’t constant distractions and life was simpler
Okay so let’s get to the point. I think you should do something you think you could never do –and that is reduce the amount of time you spend on your smartphone by 90% within one week.
Start with Facebook. If you still think you need it just to keep it in order to stay in touch with family, than at least get rid of about 90% of your “Friends.” If we’re honest, things like the emotion controlling Newsfeed are no good for us. There are also constant efforts to persuade you to click into a video with a title such as “What happens next will shock you.” These are just attempts to further control people and then get them to click into some crazy page like the “Ten most horrifying celebrity derrieres.” In other words, the goal is to take you straight to Internet hell and trap you in ads.
So how about we control our smartphone instead of it controlling us for a change?
Here are a few suggestions for do’s and don’ts that will take you to the 90% reduction.
Don’t– keep checking your phone 100 times or more each day just to see if you got a text.
Do– send a few strategic texts to people you’re responsible for when absolutely necessary.
Don’t – go on Facebook just to scroll endlessly through energy sucking posts or into Internet hell.
Do– check work emails to the extent that you’re up to date and responsive if you’re out of the office during working hours.
Don’t– keep your phone on your desk or visible in your car.
Do– shut the phone off as much as possible and instead try socializing with the people around you or taking short walks.
Remember, most of the time we spend on our “smartphones,” we are being controlled by those who are making money off of us without our consent.
I’m happy to help you get there so feel free to contact me with any questions. Oh, and let me know how you’re doing as you kick the smartphone habit! Learn more here.
Darren Hunter is a storyteller with SAP, a leader in the Health and Wellness industry and a Forbes contributor. He’s also the author of the new book The Million Day Forecast.