No matter what store I’m shopping in, there seems to be one common theme-people with their heads glued to their phones. They are either walking and texting (usually not looking where they’re going) or they’re busy composing an e-mail, chatting up a storm, often completely oblivious towhat is going on around them, including their own children’s needs and cries for attention.
Just last week I was in HomeGoods and a lady was chatting away and looking at some items on a clearance cart. As she tried to keep the phone from falling, she in turn broke something in the store! She looked mortified and quickly closed her phone and threw it in her purse, after apologizing to the store clerk. Then there is the whole problem of ‘texting while driving’ which is quickly becoming a huge danger. I found out that a friend of a friend just died while texting and driving a couple of months ago. So sad, he was in his early 30’s-so avoidable and completely unnecessary.
I have a question for you. Are you addicted to your e-mail or the internet? I’ll be honest, I think I am. Perhaps not to the extreme that many are, but this article on breaking the cycle of e-mail addiction really resonated with me. Guess what? It turns out that the addiction all comes down to one main need, which is instant gratification.
Back in the day we waited weeks for hand written letters and longed to hear a friend’s voice on the phone, today we can text, instant message, e-mail, call from anywhere in the world, skype, or write someone via social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.
Three years ago my hubby got me a Blackberry curve for my birthday. I loved it-at first. Then the constant barrage of e-mails daily was enough to drive me crazy. I run a design business and while I do my best to respond to all of my customers, I don’t want to be accessible 24/7, nor is is necessary. I draw the line at client contact on weekends-I don’t answer business calls, and after a year of owning that new phone, I turned off the data feature and saved myself a bunch of money in the process. A year after that I cancelled my phone plan when the contract was up and now use a pay as you go plan, making the majority of my calls from my home office. Sure it became less convenient, but I was so glad I did. In no time at all I was once again accustomed to not having instant information at my fingertips. I never wanted to be that person that was obsessed with their ‘crackberry’ and now it is worse with so many people having iPhones.
Then, five months ago I decided to remove myself from facebook (you might remember my post on my Facebook Sabbatical) because it was a distraction in my life at a time when I had so much to focus on as well as a few other reasons which I explain there. I gained more time back in my day but it was unfortunately replaced with Twitter and more time spent blogging. LOL. Having said that I only spend 10 minutes per day max on twitter and I try to write most of my blog posts in the late evening after my work day and spending time with my hubby. At then end of the day, I think blogging is far more productive than frittering away time looking at photos and checking facebook statuses. I like to learn and reading blogs allows me to learn more about what I love-writing, crafting, yard sales, decorating, cooking, gardening, baking and gives me inspirational ideas too. This is all something that facebook never offered (via my personal account) so all in all I think it was a smart move.
My main concern is getting a handle on e-mail and web surfing. I have several e-mail accounts and while I don’t check all of them each day, my main 2 accounts get checked multiple times daily when I’m on my laptop. I think I need to go on an e-mail and internet fast or detox of sorts. I find myself searching for decor ideas, reading blogs, checking my bank balance, renewing my library books, reading new articles, etc. While many of those things do save me time and hassle, I need to better define boundaries for myself.
As this Harvard Business Review article suggests, there are ways to slowly ease yourself away from the constant ‘checking’ of e-mail. Having said all of this, I am going to begin today. I will only check e-mail first thing in the morning and again at 10pm-that is it. I hope to minimize the time I spend surfing by giving myself very specific limits. I already leave my cell and laptop behind when I travel for pleasure, so I’ll keep that in place too. I’m looking forward to less online distractions and more time working on my home and spending time with hubby who could probably also use an internet detox, but I’ll leave that up to his discretion. My greatest hope is that at a time when so much is happening here at casa Davis, that I can find and maintain a healthy level of balance.
How about YOU? Do you feel compelled to constantly check your text messages, cell phone, facebook account or e-mail? Do you find that it affects the time you have available for other important things?
Happy Canada Day to all of my Canadian readers and friends! 🙂