Recently, I went to work without my cell phone. That morning I went through my usual routine, which consists of me rushing around like a chicken with its head cut off, to get myself and my two kids ready for the day. I got my makeup on, hair brushed, my daughter’s lunch made, son’s pull-up changed, clothes on everybody, and then I walked right out the door while my cell phone sat on my bedside table, still plugged in.
I didn’t realize I’d forgotten it until I was almost at work. I had a brief panic attack and my heart plunged through the floor of the car. I thought about going back to get it, but then I decided that I would be brave and spend a day, phone free. My cell phone is everything to me. I know, I know, that sounds terrible, but I do feel lost without it. We don’t have a house phone; so my cell is the only way people communicate with me and vice versa. I get personal and work emails through my phone, so it’s constantly buzzing or alerting me about something. I also help to manage several social media accounts, so there are more alerts and buzzing happening anytime someone re-tweets or likes a post. The point is my phone is almost never silent, and it’s constantly by my side. If a technological gadget could qualify as a best friend, that would be my phone.
So what happened when I didn’t have it for an entire 8+ hours? Nothing. That’s probably disappointing considering the buildup I gave, but really, nothing happened. There was no major catastrophe or emergency that I missed, no life-changing news or text that I wasn’t alerted to. I survived a day without the relentless alerts and constant monitoring of my phone.
It got me thinking. We got our first cell phone when I was in high school. Before then, if you weren’t home, you missed a call and people left a message on your answering machine. There was no constant update from a mini-computer in your pocket. I love texting but I also remember having long, fun conversations on our landline with my friends. Now we text each other like crazy because phone calls are interruptive to our schedules.
I’ll admit I’m addicted to my phone. It’s such a huge source of entertainment, communication, functionality and work that I can’t get away from it. My kids will tell me to quit looking at my phone, while simultaneously asking to watch videos on it. Yes, smartphones are alluring for everyone.
Without my phone that day, it was somewhat liberating not to check it 20,000 times. Normally, it sits on my desk and I’ll be typing away on my computer and then it will go off and I have to peer over at it, simply for curiosity’s sake. I’m pretty sure I was more productive that day I left my cell phone home. Without the distraction of all the alerts, I was able to write more efficiently and keep the thoughts in my head from being so scattered.
Even as I’m typing this blog post, my phone is alerting me of a Periscope broadcast and I’m checking to see how well that Facebook post for work is doing, and I’m seeing what’s trending on Instagram. Maybe it’s more like a really needy best friend, who needs constant attention, and I’m an enabler. Hmmm…pausing for self-reflection here.
Would I leave my cell phone home every day so that I could get away from the distractions? NO. I have two kids whose teachers and caregivers may need to contact me, and despite what my husband and parents think, I actually need my phone to do my job (at least parts of it, anyway). I know this isn’t revolutionary stuff I’m spouting here. People have been talking about how we need to unplug and have genuine one-on-one connections for a while. But for once, after that initial nauseous feeling, I really let go and didn’t worry about my phone for a whole day. And that, felt good.
-Amanda Scott, Program Manager for the Liberty County CVB
The Right Blend Blog is written by three different authors employed by the Liberty County Chamber/CVB. As we are able, we rotate weeks and each write about our individual experiences, opinions and let our writing reflect our personalities and creativity. All content provided on The Right Blend blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.