YOU AND YOUR SMART PHONE, WHO’S IN CONTROL?
I’ve just finished reading, Catherine Price’s book ‘How to break up with you phone.’ This is not an AD. I borrowed the book from my local library and honestly, I think it’s a must-read for anyone who wants to have a better relationship with their smart phone. Here’s why…
OK, so you’re probably reading this blog post on your mobile, innit?! Believe me, the irony is not lost but I can’t stress enough that this is not about rejecting the digital revolution.
Price does not encourage you to purposely drop your mobile down the toilet to then taunt its demise as you hold a tupperware box over it, ready with uncooked rice, chanting “I choose to be free from you, you wretched time waster!”
Yes, smart phones can be a bit of a beast, but they’re a thing of beauty, too. They help us connect and communicate and organise our day-to-day with more ease than ever before. To paraphrase the author;
“Phones should add not subtract you from your interactions.”
From the off set, Catherine makes it retina display, crystal clear that this book is for people who may be aware that the balance is out of sync and wish to be back in control.
Whether it’s how much time you or your kids may be spending on WMD (wireless mobile devices), if you’re ready to readdress, then you really must read this book, cover to cover.
In the meantime, I’d like to share with you just one thing that really resonated with me. Originally this was going to be one blog post with a lot of info but I decided to split it in two separate posts.
Break ups are tough, innit and it may be a lot to process in one hit…
Now, please don’t think this is a judgy post, it’s not.
There is nothing wrong with using a smart phone, well there is (gah!) but just keep reading and note that this is not meant to be a sanctimonious slap on the wrist.
I had to put the book down a few times as I wasn’t ready to read the information. As with anything that makes you address your thoughts and thus your beliefs with gut-wrenching honesty, it has to be done in your own time. Not when you’re in denial but when you’re ready and open to changing these habits…
Are we still talking about whether it’s OK to scroll on Instagram Stories and check work emails while on the loo?
Yes we are but the reasons why we need to do this in the first place run much deeper, innit?
And that my friends, is something YOU will need to ponder perhaps in private. OK. Let’s do this!
YOUR PHONE IS MESSING WITH YOUR LONG TERM MEMORY
Gah, I already feel like I sound like a shit stirring hack from the Daily Mail with that sub-head! Once more, this is not meant to frighten you, but just consider this…how we form memories and thus our sense of identity is based upon how our brain processes these experiences.
Price explains in Chapter 8 how this is “a network of connected memories called schemas. Schemas explain why a single stimulus – say the smell of cake baking – can trigger a flurry of memories.”
She goes on to explain in detail how the process of building up schemas is complex and takes time and when our brains are overloaded “our ability to create schemas suffers.”
And guess what’s overloading and distracting our brain from creating these complex long term memory pathways?
Now, I don’t actually agree with the fact that this problem is exclusive to smart phones.
I think anything that causes you to be distracted from ‘the present’ can affect how your brain forms these long term memories. It may be a worry (but is that worry that you’ve not checked your work email or how many likes your latest post has got. Definitely guilty of both here!)
And this is the big one, Catherine says;
“When our working memories are overloaded our cognitive loads are too great. Our working memories are your consciousness and the gateway through which every long-term memory must pass. After all, you can’t experience something unless you were conscious of it in the first place.”
“Our brains don’t have the resources necessary to connect new information and experiences to our pre-existing schemas. Not only does this reduce the likihood of those memories becoming permanent, but the weaker our schemas become, the less likely we are to have insights and ideas. We lose our ability for deep thought.”
Go and put the kettle on or take a breather if that last quote blew you away. It did for me.
If I think honestly about how much time I spend on my phone, it basically buffers the beginning and end of most tasks I do. For example…
Wake up, check phone. Eat breakfast. Check phone. School drop off. Check phone. Wait for train. Check phone. You get the picture.
What the author suggests, is that this constant ‘need’ to be distracted removes us from experiencing ‘the now’. Apps are all designed to keep us on them for as long as possible. They are designed to get you hooked.
And it’s not just apps. From work emails to WhatsApp, the irony is that while we’re staying connected to so many people virtually, we’re removed from the very moment that we are in and the people that we are with.
As I read the book, I soon became aware that I wanted to take a breather. Which is why I’ve also purposefully made this a short post, too.
Can I make a suggestion?
After reading this, why not try and put your phone away and focus ENTIRELY on whatever task it is that you do next. Whether that’s making a cup of tea, going to the loo or looking out of the window on your commute. Try to focus hard on your senses. Acknowledge what you can see, then tune into what you can hear, from there carry your thoughts to what you can taste, what you can smell and finally what you can feel.
Focus, feel and experience your right now.
It can take time to quieten your mind away from the to-do lists and what’s for dinner but this is a very simple technique to root yourself in the moment. In YOUR moment.
For the next post, I will have some quick fire, practical, smart phone switch-ups that Price advises in her 30-day plan, which I’m trying to implement to help encourage a better relationship with Bazza. (If you didn’t know, he’s my lobster-covered-mobile.)
Thanks for reading and you know the drill, scroll down and comment below. I’m fascinated by this and would like to know what you think on the subject, too.