5 WAYS TO FALL BACK IN LOVE WITH YOUR SMART PHONE
For the purpose of this post, I’ll be sharing five practical ways in which I’m trying to encourage (what the author Catherine Price suggests from Page 1) a more harmonious relationship with my mobile.
If like me, you’re ready to let go of your phone a little, then I hope you’ll find these simple steps useful.
Remember, this isn’t about hurling your phone into the ocean.
It’s about being in control of when you use it, how you use it and how not to let it distract you to the point where it makes you feel like crap!
Since finishing the book, I’ve become more aware of my phone habits and have been better able to read the social cues on smart phone etiquette. (It exists, trust me!)
For example, I recently went to a 40th party where no one had their mobiles out. As I took a picture of my pretty Cosmopolitan (gah!) I noticed no one else was – let alone hovering a bright red lobster covered iPhone, over the bar! I put Bazza away, had the best time and even forgot all about him, too! (Sorry, mate!)
On the contrary though, when I’m working, either styling a photoshoot or in attendance at a press showcase or event, it’s pretty standard behaviour for the crew and crowd to have their smart phones on standby.
Whether it’s to check emails or upload content to social media – it’s all part of the gig. On these occasions, Bazza can of course take pride of place in the spotlight.
This, I’ve noticed, is where a lot my mobile phone ‘issues’ are…
You see, my line of work does require me to have my mobile at the ready, unlike say, Mr Husband who’s a firefighter.
I’d be lying if I said this didn’t cause tension at times because we use our devices in very different ways. It’s something I’m working on, as I’m also aware that to our children, I must look like I’m on my iPhone playing Candy Crush (never actually played it. Flappy Birds, yes!)
For me, as a time-rich, cash-poor freelancer, my phone acts like a miniature office in my pocket. I’m not 9-5 in front of a desk up in town anymore. I made a choice to keep my working hours flexible to be around my family – but they don’t see it like that.
The kids see smart phones as one massive App fest!
But I don’t want to green-light them into a world where ‘phubbing’ (phone snubbing) is the norm. And I don’t care if that makes me sound like a dinosaur. I may not feel mature enough at times to have kept two human beings alive but facts are facts, I am the parent. When I say no phones at the dinner table, I mean it! (OK, rant over!)
So, to summarise, this is not a judgmental post. Depending on what you do, everyone will have different experiences of how they use/need/rely on their smart phones, but hopefully these simple steps will help keep the balance all in check, innit…?!
1. DON’T CHARGE YOUR PHONE IN THE BEDROOM
All our iPhones and iPads now get charged at night on the upstairs landing.
Admittedly the socket looks like it’s had an electronic prolapse but it just means that the temptation to scroll is not there.
As with any habit you want to break, by creating an obstacle in its path means that your immediate response or association becomes challenged and already you are beginning to break the cycle. Congrats.
2. BUY AN ALARM CLOCK
The author advises this as a means to prevent your phone from being the first and last thing you interact with. If you can, make that a human being or pet, instead. Admittedly, I have yet to set the clock radio in the bedroom and insist on setting my iPhone to 06:30am but because it’s now outside the bedroom, it means I have to physically get out of bed to switch it off thus leaving me no time to even consider hitting snooze. For me, this is an extra bonus, so I may just keep this going instead…
3. REORGANISE YOUR HOME SCREEN
This is truly genius. On my home screen now, all I have are the apps that aid me with my day-to-day. So, things like the clock, maps, Mr Husband’s shift patterns, school portals and the calculator – ’cause I can’t do maths!
Swipe to the next screen and it’s all my social media apps, ASOS and Ebay etc plus any application that when used in moderation, are a happy distraction.
Downgrade each page in order of how the program helps or hinders you on a daily basis.
I know I sound like a dinosaur here, but I can’t stress enough that both this book and my blog post have zero intention of wanting to come across as sanctimonious shiz. As Price says; “Observe, ask questions and experiment. There is no need to stress, there is no way to fail.”
4. EDIT THE MENU BAR
This is the strip at the bottom of your iPhone (is it the same on an android?) Here, I have allowed only four things for easy access which help and improve my life on a daily basis. (Note: yours may be totally different)
Phone & text: No explanation needed, innit. DUH!
Email: All three of my most in-use email accounts are here. I have turned off notifications so it’s not pinging every time a PR sends me a press release and if I’m away from my laptop, doing school pick up or on a shoot, I’ll just scan it, in case anything requires my urgent attention.
Camera: I love taking photos. I want to do a photography course and before you ask, no, it’s not just for my Instagram.
As kids, my Dad would take a ton of photos (on 35mm of course!) It used to drive us all bat shit. He’d even hold the camera in reverse, at arms length, hoping to catch something magical in the lens…
R.I.P. Dad. You didn’t even know it but you were the King of the 35mm selfie!
Of course, the beauty of film is that it isn’t edited.
Every roll of film ended up at Bonus Print to be processed.
The result was a stack of photo albums depicting my brother and I, mid-moaning and generally being a pair of un-cooperative twats.
However, in hindsight, these photos have become our long term memories and fun stories for my children (Mummy, why are you making that face?”)
Plus, when you lose people whom you love so very, very much, these pictures become more precious than gold…
5. F*CK THE F.O.M.O!
And finally, something I personally find a bit hard to do, the fear of missing out…
But let’s try and get some perspective, innit?!
I have to remind myself that there are plenty of things I won’t be a part of but there are plenty of things, that I will.
Focusing on the latter is the key.
Creating your own IRL (in real life) experiences; with your crew, your family, the people that make you piss yourself laughing is what will make you feel deeply satisfied. And just because you didn’t drop it on social media, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen either!
It doesn’t even have to be extravagant stuff either. It just has to be real and you have to appreciate it.
Inhale the moment and soon enough, you will begin to exhale all that BS.
For me, as a busy, buzzy parent, IRL joy can be as simple as sitting on the sofa – uninterrupted – reading a Sunday supplement. It can be a run in the sunshine after school drop-off, noticing birdsong or just enjoying the silence before the household awakens for the day…
And let’s not forget the beauty in simply doing nothing! Phones have made it so hard for us (and our kids) to just be BORED, BORED, BORED!
Sounds wanky but do you remember that programme, ‘Why Don’t You?’
I used to hate the song and that one line in particular…
“Why don’t you, just turn off your TV set and do something less boring instead, WHYDONTYOU!?”
Anyone brought up in the 80s will know, it was SO annoying when your parents would wang on about it because all you could see away from the telly box, was boredom.
But as we all now know – thanks to age, sage and slippers – boredom really is where the magic happens, innit?
Thank you for reading. As always, I love to hear from readers of The FT Times. Please scroll down and comment below and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any posts.