Notice Anything Strange Lately?

Something strange is happening…

Last week I watched as a young woman stumbled up a flight of stairs because she couldn’t take her eyes off her phone. I sat next to a man in church whose pocket vibrated repeatedly the entire hour. And my wellness clients’ ability to get through an entire coaching session without looking at a screen of some kind is much more a struggle than it was ten years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting in judgement here. I understand the pull. I can scroll through FaceBook “for a few minutes” only to wake up thirty minutes later feeling weirdly anxious. My body and brain give me red flags but I don’t always listen.

Research is discovering more and more about why these tiny devices are so addictive. If we hope to live rich, full lives we’ve got to make some important choices.

I’m certainly not planning on ditching my phone, mind you. Just this week I FaceTimed with sweet MayMay in Seattle, watched our son’s soccer team win a game out west, and got photos in real-time from Bob in the Dominican Republic. I love how connected we can be even though we’re scattered.

But here’s the thing…I really don’t want to wake up a few years from now and realize I’ve wasted precious time staring at my dang phone, and I know I could if I don’t make some careful choices now.

I’ve been working on some safeguards and a personal key question that can help me make a decision easily when I’m clearly headed into cellphone-zombie-land.

I’ve got it boiled down to this so far:

Is this phone activity making me more awake to the life and love I want, or less?

I’ll let you know how it goes.

As a wellness coach I see firsthand that often all it takes is one small change to jump start a whole cascade of other big changes in our lives. With this in mind let’s consider a one week experiment – something that can open up some fresh spaces for us without too much work.

Look over the choices below and pick one – or design your own. One new thing for one week. That’s all.

Take your pick:

  • Take a week’s vacation from Facebook.
  • Turn off all phone notifications – no rings, dings or pings.
  • Declare mealtime and/or bedtime phone free.
  • Don’t check or answer work messages after work. Inform co-workers so they don’t think you’re dead.
  • Add something fun to your week that requires no technology. Leave the phone at home for this activity. Walk, swing, read a real book in a hammock, ride your bike. Do this fun thing 3 times this week for 10 minutes.

Then reflect on your week and identify a few valuable take-aways and any next-steps you might want to take as a result of your observations.

I’m going to join you – and I would dearly love to hear what you discover…

PS – Don’t miss this 9 minute TED talk: Why Our Screens Make Us Less Happy


Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash

4 thoughts on “Notice Anything Strange Lately?

  • November 8, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    This is a good reminder no matter who you are, as the insidious addiction schemers are seriously at work here.

    I started defending my bedtime in multiple ways long ago because it was something I could do about fibromyalgia, so I’m happy to say mealtimes and bedtimes are phone free. I read a real book to help me fall asleep.
    I tell my people at work I don’t look at emails in the evening or on weekends.
    I try to add face time with people to my week after work and on weekends. Otherwise I may as well be a hermit.
    My next step…and I have been dithering about this ever since I moved to my river house…is an emotional support animal that would force me to walk for its sake!

    • November 8, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      BRAVO for no work emails after hours!! This is a HUGE move on your part. Texting and email have made us SO available that it seems to be expected.

  • November 8, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    While we were waiting outside for our table at dinner last week, I watched a couple across from me. They were sitting side by side also waiting on a table. Instead of talking to each other, they were both looking at their phones, texting or whatever. I thought it was sad. I hope to never get to that point. Long ago I started the no electronics or tv at the supper table. Just quiet background easy listening music. I fought resistance, but hold fast to that rule. It is tough for me, too, in many situations. The pull of the phone is probably as strong as a heroin addiction, I imagine. We must fight it as civilized people. Contect to each other, not electronics! Biggest pet peeve: phones at the movie!

    • November 8, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      “We must fight it as civilized people” I love this Colline. You are right, it isn’t the easy road…I can get sucked in so easily. But it certainly is vital – worth all the effort and safeguards and accountability we build into our lives.


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