Juanita is a life reinvention coach who helps people radically transform their lives and create healthy, helpful, empowering habits.
The Illusion of Connection
Before there was social media there were cell phones – a great convenience. But I am old enough to know what it was like to lose contact with people once you left the house. Whatever message you needed to convey you had better convey it while you were at home. Every now and then you would find someone cool enough to own a beeper, and even then, the most you could do was ask for a call back on somebody’s land line.
Now that we have been promoted all the way up to smartphone academy, communication has gotten a whole lot easier. But you know where I’m going with this. Some of us have lost all control of our lives because of the connection we have to our phone and hence the access others have to us. The smart phone has created for us this false sense of connectivity to each other – where as long as we have a phone in our hand, on our hip, on our desk, or in our purses, we feel “connected”, but are we really?
And how much connection is too much?
If any of the following indications sound like you, you might have an unhealthy obsession with your smartphone AND you’re not connected, just dazed.
- You constantly refresh your home page, social media apps and email. What exactly are you looking for?
- You feel extremely unsettled if you don’t have your phone with you. You have to run home to get it because GOD FORBID you receive a call.
- The people in your life (in the same country or city) talk to you often, but never see you. Maybe you are the robot your computer keeps asking you to prove you’re not.
- When you do see people, your head is still buried in your phone. Rude and awkward.
- You can’t find anything to do if it doesn’t involve smartphone technology. Like seriously… go for a walk. Take a nap. Cook. Read.
- You have to own the latest version of your phone at all times. What does having the latest version change about your ability to do the same things you did with the previous version?
1. Keep the ringer on and only pick it up when there’s a new message or call.
This one is for those of you who are constantly scrolling through your phone looking for Carmen Sandiego. We still don’t know where on earth she is, so no point in searching.
2. Activate your caller ID, call forwarding and voicemail.
Why you ask? So that you can LET THE PHONE RING. Every caller does not deserve access to you. This I'm sure you know but have trouble enforcing. Don’t answer calls you don’t want to take. You might think it’s rude to ignore someone’s call, but I think it’s rude to answer the phone when you rather not. Think about it. It sucks for both of you. Unless you’re a Hollywood actress on set, hiding your reluctance on sight will be difficult. Whether it’s someone you don’t like talking to or a subject matter you are avoiding, give yourself time to prepare for the conversation. Take control of the situation.
This is a perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness, in that you receive a prompt (unwanted phone call) and instead of giving an immediate response, you get to create the ideal one, for both parties involved. It’s not rude. It’s smart. And furthermore, if you don’t wish to ever speak to that person, there’s a feature on EVERY smart phone that allows you to block callers. They won’t even have to know that’s what you did. They just won’t be able to reach you.
3. Don’t give your phone number to everyone that asks.
As I am typing this message I am laughing because believe it or not, this used to be me – friendly Becky who was cool with everybody. Way too friendly… I felt comfortable doing this because I know I can always block someone. But over time, I learned that I was wasting precious time by giving access to people that were undeserving, and wasting precious energy on aimless and at times annoying conversations. It’s not worth it. Screen potentials. Give them your social media messenger details or your email instead. Keep your phone number sacred until they prove their worthiness. If they have a problem with that, then that’s the sign you need, to know they will torment your life anyway! So boy/girl bye!
4. Separate work from play.
If you have a separate phone for work, keep all your work-related conversations (texts and calls) on that phone. If you do your work on your personal phone, practice work hours and conversation limits. Don’t discuss work outside of your designated work hours and always maintain control of the narrative. Never allow clients or colleagues to take advantage of your time by requesting every waking moment of it, or to shift your energy with theirs.
5. It’s okay to hang up the phone sometimes.
Determine how you want to be spoken to and insist on it. If someone on the other end of the phone can’t respect your wishes, you have the right to hang up. Nope. Again… not rude. You don’t have to attend every argument that you are invited to. If it makes you feel better, before you hang up you can say “I am hanging up now, because you are refusing to respect my wishes. Have a blessed day and maybe we can talk when you’re more receptive.” I personally don’t waste my energy in doing all that, but some are less comfortable being the perceived villain, so I get that you might want to soften the blow.
6. Take smart phone breaks.
Our smart phones can no doubt be addictive. They are so mesmerizing – those touch screen mini computers in the palm of your hand. They make you feel like you are on top of all things. I get it. It’s hard to put it down, but you have to. Every night at about one hour before bed, put the phone somewhere you are not. Prepare for bed without it. Every few days, take a day off from phone activity. Just be with yourself and if there is work to be done, use another device. The break will make you appreciate your personal time much more and show your smart phone who’s boss.
Start With Your Cell Phone
Become your own secretary. Screen those calls. Filter your messages. Keep your calendar open for the activities you are interested in. Be kind to yourself. Use your phone. Don’t let it use you.
Peace and Intention to You!
© 2021 Juanita Michelle