Hi, my name is Melissa and I am addicted to my smart phone. This statement is not far off from becoming a reality for me! I love my smart phone. How did I know I had a problem? The message I received could not have been more clear; a fall in the bathtub. You see, this was no ordinary fall. This was a hard fall, one that should have broken my leg. One that left ¾ of my leg black and blue for 3 weeks. One that left a large muscle contusion on my legs weeks later. One that landed my cell phone in the bath water. I knew I had a problem when I was more concerned about my phone than my leg. Here I was hoping out of my bathtub on one leg to my bedroom wildly pulling my smart phone apart trying to dry it out. Throwing the battery onto my bed while screaming in pain and crying out for help. Yes, I am a mess!
Many of you will say, what was she doing with that smart phone in the tub with her in the first place? Yes, that was the first problem. I guess I couldn’t be away from that possible email or text message for more than an hour. So that is when I knew something had to change. I have been through the evolution of the smart phone from Palms to Blackberries to now my favorite phone Windows Phone 7. Just let me tell you, there is a reason that Blackberries are called “Crackberries”. The problem wasn’t with the type of phone I had….the problem was with me.
I had every excuse for being so attached to my phone. The first being I own my own business, several in fact and I could miss an important email or phone call. The second being we got rid of our land line to our house and my cell phone is where those once important land line calls are going to arrive. And finally, I love how organized it makes me look. I can answer emails and text messages within minutes of them coming in showing people how on top of it I am. But this is what I was missing….living in the present with the people who are right in front of me. I was missing conversations with one of my children. I was missing a look from a friend that says she needs help but is afraid to ask. I was missing giving someone all of my attention.
I started with baby steps. I turned off my email notification on my phone. I no longer had that alert that would notify when the next sale at Chico’s was going to happen. Let me just say that my email notification has come at very inopportune moments, the least of which was a serious doctor appointment I was in the middle of. But once I turned those email notifications off, my brain started to relax and I no longer crave to hear that sound. I was the one who would wake up, roll over, grab my phone and see what happened in the last 6 hours while I was sleeping. I was the addict who heard that chirp and stopped everything to see what could be so important that someone was emailing me. I was like the dog in “Up”whenever he saw a squirrel…..he would drop everything and give that squirrel his attention. That email notification was my squirrel.
My second step was I no longer charged my phone in my bedroom. This has resulted in one problem so far, when my son called for a ride and I didn’t answer my phone as I didn’t hear it. I proceeded to ask why he didn’t call his dad and he said he didn’t know his dad’s phone number. See, I am too available, even my kids don’t even know my husband’s cell phone number! I am the number they call when their phone battery dies and they only have one number memorized. I am the one who is going to get the call when they are only allowed the one phone call. Mental note….teach my children their dad’s cell phone number!
So now when I go out with my husband, we do cell the phone stacking game. Where we both put our phones on the table and the first to grab it has to pay the bill. Yes, I lose when I hear a text message come through…..I always pull the mother card and it works every time. I look at him and say, “it could be one of the kids”. He can look at it for me and tell me if it is one I need to look at or not so I can still be in the game.
So now when I go downstairs to watch a movie with the kids I leave my smart phone upstairs charging. If I miss a call or a text it is now ok as the really important people know my husband’s phone number and can get ahold of him in an emergency.
So now when I go to the gym I don’t take my phone with me to yoga class. But instead I will take it on the treadmill with me to only listen to my music on my phone and to not check my email……scouts honor!
So if you try to email, text or call me I could be busy taking a bath or at yoga class. So please wait a couple of hours and I will get back to you because I am busy living in the here and now with the people that I surround myself with having real relationships and having these things called conversations.
To Joyful, Simplified Living,
MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.mssimplicity.com/
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