Smart phones are marvelous, don’t you agree? We have everything at our finger tips. If my 10 year old wants to know who holds the world record for jumping on a Pogo stick, I can find out for him whilst we are waiting in the car park for his sister. We can look up the football scores, or check facts about the ancient Celts for homework. We can connect with our friends and share a joke or 2. Fantastic!
But when do we draw the line? How much is too much?
Recently we had to look at our teenage daughter’s phone to see where all the credit was going. On looking at the stats, we discovered (what in some ways we already knew) that hours were being spent on the phone on a daily basis and very little of that time was checking out the Celts for homework! As my spouse and I voiced how disgusted we were, berated ourselves for not paying more attention and prepared to impose some controls, a sneaking feeling washed over me............ GUILT...........
Just how long was I spending on the internet each day? My husband used to scold me for being online in the evenings and one lent, I went off Facebook for the 6 weeks. Guess what? I survived. But since I’ve been working from home, I do find that large chunks of time are disappearing from my life where I could be much more productive. Hubby did ask me what I did on a particular day and to be honest, I couldn’t fill in the hours with much in the way of productivity when I thought about it.
To be fair a lot of my online time these days is work related. I read a lot of articles online and watch a lot of videos and interviews related to my work, I also have a few online communities that I’m a member of, but I do get distracted by “shiny objects”. Oh, I’ll just continue scrolling for another few minutes in case I missed something.... Suddenly another 20 minutes have passed.
So how to get out of this habit and what really is a mindset of “What will I miss?” or FOMO – Well I’m here to tell you from the 6 weeks I spent without Facebook, what did I miss? Nothing much at all. If it’s important, you will find out anyway. So maybe you missed a cute photo of your neighbour’s cat. Will she notice that you didn’t comment or “like” it? Will she hold that against you? (And if she does is that not more her problem than yours?) We all know the people who do not live their lives online. Are they not living their lives to the fullest by not participating online? No, in fact to the contrary, they are so busy living their lives that they don’t have time for social media. Be like them, live your life in the moment and not online. Remember the scream of exhilaration as your kids go down the water slide on holidays because you experienced it in that moment, or even better, go down the water slide too! Don’t see it through your camera lens, live it!
As with everything, MODERATION is key. I like to chill out by scrolling through my various feeds, but I now limit it to 15-20 minutes. I actually set a timer on my phone to bring me back to real life. It also serves as a better example to my children as when we limit their screen time they can’t say “Ah but you were on your phone for ages!” The old pot and kettle!
And if you use your phone for business, which is obviously a great tool, try to schedule that in to your working time and develop the discipline to do whatever business related task you have to do, then log out (avoid the shiny objects). I use mine for meditation (brilliant for this) but do the mediation, then STEP AWAY FROM THE SMART PHONE!