I find myself checking my cell phone literally dozens of times every day. Has someone called, texted, left a message? The evil little device puts me in touch with everyone, ALL THE TIME. Of course, it’s not really evil, but without it I would feel…well, inadequate. There, I said it! Besides, how will my business associates, clients, friends and family get in touch with me if they need to?
And yet…I sometimes long for the days when I actually had fewer options and less “connectedness”. My woefully outdated cell phone is both a tool and a distraction. It can deliver wonderful little surprises in the form of text messages and pictures from my wife or kids, or it can interrupt an important meeting if I have failed to mute it. Like many of you, I feel this need to know what is going on all the time. Otherwise, I am “out of the loop” on things. Pitiful, isn’t it?
I have found the best use of my cell phone, by far, is when it allows me to discuss dinner plans with my wife before getting home from work. My stomach is thrilled with the technology. But I have to ask myself, “Am I controlling this tool, or am I letting it control me?”
Steps we all might take to keep interruptions at bay include the following:
1) Make sure all notifications with sound are turned off, except the morning alarm and incoming calls.
2) Turn your phone off during all important events. But be aware, simply turning your phone off is not effective in stopping all notifications from “punching through” as there are some notifications that may have been inadvertently set to pop-through a locked screen.
3) To ensure notifications will not interrupt, put your phone in airplane mode to cut the device off from receiving outside information. The phone will be as quiet as a mouse for as long as you want. Turn it back on when you’re ready for the onslaught again.
4) Decide not to check your phone for messages more than once every couple of hours. Do not become a slave to your phone. If it is an emergency, the notification will come in the form of a phone call. So relax.
5) Do not check your phone or emails first thing in the morning. Carve out that time for yourself to contemplate the day, to focus on your workout or your creative side or whatever activity gives you the energy and focus to take on the rest of the day.