I left my house this morning to drop the kids off at school with my three essentials – my phone, my keys, and my coffee. My purse takes second place to my phone. If I get really desperate and run out of coffee, there’s an app for that. We’re in the digital age and I’m riding the wave just like anyone else. With three children that I do not want hooked on devices, it’s important for me to be painfully aware of how I am using the technology. Am I modeling what I’d like to see in them or am I doing the good old “do what I say, not what I do?” technique?
As some of you know, we managed to pull off a family digital detox this summer by selling it as a “1970’s Summer”. It was wicked, but now we’re back to reality and I am, after all, a Social Chick. Below you will find 9 signs that you may be addicted to your phone but it is also my own personal “watch list” to help keep my mild phone addiction in check.
Just what is the definition of addiction?
Does the Miriam-Webster definition above sound familiar? IF so, read on. If not, great, you may be in the clear – either that or in denial;) I’ve laid out nine signs, each with an “extreme condition”.
9 Signs That You May Be Hooked.
While your friend/child/spouse is talking, you’re wondering how much longer it will take for them to finish so you can check your phone. In extreme conditions, you check it while they’re talking right in front of them.
You bring it with you to the bathroom. In extreme conditions, you whip it out in public bathrooms because you got a moment away from your dinner guest to check what’s happening “out there”.
You bring it with you to bed (yes, I know, many people use it as an alarm clock but surprisingly enough, there are actual clocks made and sold as alarm clocks). In extreme conditions, you check it after you kiss your partner goodnight and it’s the very first thing you do after opening your eyes in the morning.
You check it while driving because you can’t wait that extra fifteen to twenty minutes it will take to reach your destination. In extreme conditions, you find that you have to respond to messages right there and then while you are driving.
You check your phone during your child’s performance. In extreme conditions, you’re on it while she/he is actually singing/dancing/playing…sometimes the whole time!
You feel lost or empty when you forget your phone somewhere. In extreme conditions, you can’t focus or function when you don’t have it.
When you have alone time, the first thing you do is hang out with your phone. In extreme conditions, it’s the only thing you do.
When you’re out in nature, taking a bath, eating a meal, petting a cat, watching a sunrise, you obsess about capturing the moment in a photo and posting it. In extreme conditions, you take yourself out of the moment to ensure that you do just this and post it right there and then thus missing the moment.
You know how your friends and family are doing based purely on their social media posts. In extreme conditions, you don’t actually talk to them anymore, you simply comment on their posts.
If you can relate to two or more of these, you may have some issues and need some time away from your phone. It is easy for us to get attached to our phones because, on the other side, there are people. It is in our nature to want to connect with others in a loving and meaningful way. Being addicted or slightly obsessed with our phone takes us out of the moment and we lose touch with what’s going on inside of us. We disconnect from that creative flow and lose touch with that face to face contact.
The Good News:
The good news is, there is hope for us. Here are some tips on what to do about it, along with a shameless plug for Vicki Chick’s grounding and self-nurturing Joy of Missing Out (aka #JOMO) retreat (I know it’s amazing because I attended one last spring and got nothing but awesomeness out of it):
5 Tips on Recovering:
Take a week to notice your behaviours around your phone. Once you are aware, make a plan with an accounta-buddy* to make a slight change. This could be as simple as “I will not use my phone when my child is talking to me”
Once a week try doing something without your phone. Lock your phone away and get the paints or your writing tools. Perhaps you’re a hiker…get the boots out. Spend an hour or two just letting the creative flow through your body and notice how you feel. Give time back to yourself.
Ask for help. If you’re concerned that you are in the extreme and don’t see a way out, ask for help. Talk to a trusted advisor, a counselor, a mentor, or your local clergy. There is always help available when we reach out and ask for it.
Set boundaries for yourself. I’ve heard people say, for example, that they don’t allow their kids in the bathroom while they’re using it but boundaries only work if you stick with them. Set boundaries like that for your phone and then stick to them. If it’s hard to remember because these behaviours are so ingrained, post up sticky-notes to help remind you. Practice makes perfect.
*An accounta-buddy is someone that understands what you’re doing and supports you. We coined the term in Vicki’s coaching groups for someone that will stand by you, check in with you, and call you on your crap. They’re awesome. Anyone need an accounta-buddy? I may be looking.
Seriously, I’d love to hear from you. Drop us a comment or connect online – ironic, isn’t it? Facebook. Twitter. Email.