While I write this post I am wearing a Facebook shirt, working on my MacBook Pro which is in a room filled with Apple products. I run an online marketing agency and online ticket portal, amongst other online properties. My staff work remotely for the most part, meaning digital comms are the only way to reach each other 90% of the time. I'm 6'4" and I leave a mighty impactful digital footprint wherever I go.
That said, about a year ago one of the reasons my relationship failed was because I was never putting my phone down. My iPhone was essentially another limb. When a text would chime I would answer within seconds no matter what was happening. You could reach me at 4pm and 4am (I never sleep so I was okay with it).
In short, my phone was controlling me. But let's be honest, "phone" is an underwhelming term for the smart devices in our pockets. My iPhone has over 700 apps and connects me with the world. Truly, I could never talk to another living soul again, and I'd still know everything I need to know.
Enough was enough, and it was time for a change. I consciously made a few decisions and then built on them. The first was that just because I'm awake doesn't mean I need to be reachable. So, I put my phone on do not disturb mode after 7pm and only allowed family and my GM to have settings that would slip past it. Then, most days I turned the sounds off on my phone during the day. Those two decisions changed my life.
No longer can you always get a response from me within seconds, and the digital anxiety (I guess you could call it) brought on by a chime that I just had to get to, melted away. Then I noticed something interesting. I kept forgetting my phone at home when I was going out with family. This is something I would have never done a year ago, because it was always top of mind.
Through all of this, you know what I learned?
My businesses still run just as smoothly as they did before. My time with those I care about is so much more intimate now. My clients are happy. My friends and family are happy ... I am happy.
Basically, the work still gets done, but somehow in less time with less contact. Of course there are still plenty of days when emergencies pop-up and I have that phone stuck to me like guerrilla glue, but once those emergencies pass I'm back to being content without my mechanical appendage.
Life is just better. I hope you can do it too.
Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist