Technology Detox- Jennifer’s Journey
I am not addicted! Last summer, I was relaxing in my favorite place, Christmas Cove in Northern Michigan. I was sitting comfortably in my beach chair watching my sister dip my 6-month old daughter’s toes into the warm water. Christmas Cove is a small lake surrounded by wilderness on one side and sand dunes on the other side. There is a small stream leading into Lake Michigan. As a child, I would run down the sand dunes and jump into the lake or climb up the sand dunes and run in Lake Michigan.
As I was beginning to daydream, a couple with their two kids settled in next to us. As the children jumped into the lake, the parents immediately picked up their smartphones. I couldn’t believe they were engrossed in their smartphones on this lovely day at the beach. A group of teenagers walked passed us and commented on the situation. One teenager said, “Did you see that, they weren’t even paying attention to their children?! They are too busy on their phones”. I thought this was so interesting because my generation is usually saying comments like that about the teenagers.
I sat their proudly thinking, I’m not addicted to my phone, and I pay attention to my daughter. When my daughter was born, I told myself I would not be on my phone while breastfeeding. I would not be on my phone during vacation or while at the dinner table. I was able to accomplish this, so I must not be addicted.
For this change, I decided to fill out a questionnaire to see if there was a small chance I was addicted to my smartphone. I thought for sure I would pass with flying colors, but instead I failed. It turns out that I really am addicted to my phone.
After reflecting on why I use my phone, I’ve realized I constantly check my work emails. My personal texts and emails can wait, but for some reason, I feel like I must return work emails right away. I decided if I was going to make a change, I needed to start with two rules.
Take work email off my phone.
Don’t look at my phone after 6:00 p.m.
I definitely can say I’m just like the couple on the beach. The last few months work was so busy! I tried removing work email from my phone, but two hours later I added it back. I thought maybe if I answered emails throughout the day, it would save me time. The last thing I wanted to do was sit down for hours before dinner answering emails. Then, things became super busy and I had to work all day and all evening. I hope to follow this rule next time.
For the second rule, it lasted just four days. Then I started the habit of looking at my smartphone for a few hours after my daughter went to bed. I was only successful with this rule when I left my phone in the car. I guess addicts can’t have their addiction in front of them; it’s too easy to slip.
I hope to make another attempt at this change. I’ve come to the conclusion, that it’s better for me to check my email a few times throughout the day, not a few times an hour. I need a break. I need a lunch break without my phone, but to engage with my colleagues. I need weekends free from my phone to engage with my family. Otherwise, working all the time, with no breaks leaves me depleted, exhausted, and ready for a life change.
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