Who really wears the pants in your relationship with your phone?
Let’s start by stressing something: as well as being a lawyer, I’m a digital strategist and consultant. The chances that I’m going to write something recommending you bin your phone are fairly slim.
In a world where you can be permanently “on”, using a mobile phone effectively over the long term isn’t about occasionally fasting from your phone, it’s about ongoing relationship management.
So let’s ask an honest question to open up the discussion: are you using your phone, or is it using you?
It’s convenient, therefore it’s better.
This is what every mobile phone owner (which, let’s face it, is pretty much all of us) tells themselves.
Convenient access to:
- the phone (although less so now!)
- this awesome website
- and so much more!
With >2m apps in the Apple store and nearly 3m available to Android, the options of what you can do on your phone are pretty massive.
But can doesn’t mean should.
Ding! – You’ve got Mail
How do you react to notifications?
Is your phone so close by that you can just casually glance at it and see if it’s something more important than what you’re doing right now?
Were you looking at your phone anyway?
Perhaps you’ve got a smartwatch and can see your notifications come through straight away even if your phone’s not nearby.
Do you leave the dinner table (if you’ve got one) to check?
Put it this way: if your phone says “jump” do you say “HOW HIGH?!?”
If so – phone 1, human 0.
Just There… In the Corner of your Eye
Or perhaps your brain.
How much do you think about what’s happening on your phone?
Let’s compare that to, say, how much you sit back and think about your career.
Or your family.
Or your spiritual life.
If “just checking” your phone is occupying more of your mind, your attention and your time than anything else is, then it’s quite possibly a more important relationship that those others.
And if that’s happening, then there’s a chance you’re failing at life a bit.
Fear of Loss
Have you ever misplaced your phone? How did you feel when it happened?
Fear? Irritation? Anger? Panic?
Did the loss of your phone hurt you?
Of course, the phone is just a somewhat expensive piece of electronics.
But for many of us it’s become and essential piece of connection, and the loss of it can feel tangible, like we’ve lost a friend or a limb.
The level of attachment you have to your phone is a sure fire sign that it’s got more control over you than you have over it.
If you can’t leave the phone in the house without breaking into a sweat, then perhaps you’re more like the puppy who barks when they get put outside then you care to think.
Any Many More…
The point here isn’t to list out every way that your mobile is the decision maker rather than you.
It’s to encourage you to use your phone… not the other way around.
Have you ever witnessed the unfortunately power of the mobile phone? How’d it work out? Let me know in the comments!