Smartphones: Doing Everything, Accomplishing Nothing

by | Oct 6, 2014 | Blog


Smartphones: Doing Everything, Accomplishing Nothing

“If only we had a smartphone we would…” used to be a joke between my husband and me as we traveled around Europe while stationed in Germany. I wanted one and he didn’t. He objected mostly due to the cost and the hassle factor of dealing with mobile phone contracts as a military family that moves frequently. But, he’s also better at disconnecting than I am. Usually when he’s home, he’s home. And when he’s on vacation, he’s on vacation. Finally he gave in and I am now on my second smartphone.

My phone is a genius.

  • It faithfully wakes me up in the morning.

  • It reminds me of things I’m likely to forget, like giving my dogs their heartworm medication.

  • It keeps all of my important information in one place, so I haven’t worn holes in my address book from updating the addresses of friends who move constantly. It also reminds me of my own address and phone numbers because I just can’t keep track any more.

  • It tells me if I’m stressed out. But I know how to beat the system by controlling my heart rate. Maybe I’m the genius!

  • It takes beautiful photos of my life’s minutia and big events too. No need for a Christmas letter. I’ve already told you everything.

  • It tells me how far I ran and how fast. And, it will also get me home if I get lost. How did I ever manage to leave my house before?

  • Speaking of lost, it gets me around the D.C. area more effectively than my GPS.

  • It checks the weather and then creates a packing list for me.

  • It keeps me connected with my friends, family, and teammates (sometimes). I often forget to turn the ringer back on after yoga.

  • It provides me with entertainment if I’m kept waiting. Because heaven forbid I could just BE for a moment, unless of course, I’ve set the timer to sit in meditation.

My phone does absolutely everything, but I feel like it’s really hard to accomplish anything. Whether I am working or spending time with my family, I always have this device distracting me or “doing my business”as my family calls it. And it’s not like I’m playing games. I can be sitting here writing, and I receive a message from a teammate. Worried that I’ll forget about her request, I head over to send an email. While in my inbox, I see that I need to respond to someone else. Finally, I come back to writing my piece, but what was it I wanted to say?

I’ve read the time management advice columns.

  • Chunk your time by spending 90 minutes on projects during your most productive times of the day.

  • Turn off your notifications.

  • Dedicate specific times during the day to email.

  • Don’t take your phone to bed, the dinner table, or outside to play with your kids.

But what if people can’t reach me? Well, they’re probably not reaching me anyway. Not really.

Does your smartphone help or hurt your connections with people?

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