Yep, it’s true. I’ll admit it. I am 100% addicted to my iPhone. This is probably one of the biggest things I’m struggling with right now, so I thought I’d share my experience.
I feel like now more than any time in my life, I have the HARDEST time being present and in the moment. People don’t say it often, but I know it bothers them and I know I’m hurting relationships with my lack of ability to set my phone down and just be present for TWO SECONDS. Trying to analyze the situation, I see a few potential causes.
1) Becoming self employed has been both an exciting and stressful challenge for me. I love what I do, but at the same time there is stress that comes with knowing that if I don’t produce, I don’t make any money. There’s no hours to clock in and out of, just the amount of time I choose to dedicate to the business on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, I know what I signed up for, and most days I absolutely love it. The problem is the fact that because there’s always so much to do, I have a hard time shutting my brain off, and flipping the switch from “work Jake” to “social Jake”.
Most of my work is done through my phone, which means I’m constantly spending time typing things up, communicating with clients, making phone calls, and obviously mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. It’s been easy for me to justify my always being on the phone, because hey, I’m working aren’t I?? Although I would try to justify my bad habits, I knew deep down that I needed to find some sort of balance between work and my personal life.
I also feel I’ve developed an introverted personality completely due to the fact that I’m always in my head and thinking of the next thing that needs to get done. I’m no longer projecting outward, but constantly in my thoughts, brainstorming, problem solving, coming up with new content, etc… I’m a very driven person by nature, so it can be easy for me to want to continue working and avoid losing that built up momentum. Being able to find separation and balance is a skill I’ve still yet to develop, but it’s something I’m working on constantly.
2) As social media has become an increasingly larger part of my work, I have found myself more and more frequently engaged in checking up on all the different platforms. The relevancy of social media in our lives has been both a blessing and a curse, as it’s allowed me to justify the increased amount of time I’ve spent on the sites over the past few years . On one side, it’s allowed me to interact and network with thousands of people on a daily basis. I’ve been able to express myself, meet like-minded individuals, and use it as a tool to spread my message about my company and what I stand for. However, while all these things can be great, it can also be just as easy to fall into the narcissistic trap of constantly chasing after likes and followers. Let’s be honest, we all feel good when someone gives us a follow or gives us their “stamp of approval” on a picture we post. It gives us that immediate dopamine rush, leaving us glued to our screens as we watch the notifications pop up that someone new just liked our post.
I found myself becoming more and more consumed as each day went by. Scrolling Instagram for HOURS each night before bed, and literally hopping right back on the very first thing in the morning. I was obsessed with being in the know about everything that was going on in everyone’s lives. I felt like if I wasn’t keeping up on Instagram, then I was suddenly “out of the loop”. Out of a loop that I had completely created in my own head. “What loop? What’d this loop have to do with me or my own life?” Absolutely nothing. However that’s the way social media works, and this is one of the many reasons why we can have a hard time detaching and coming back to reality.
At the beginning of 2018, I really made the conscious effort to begin analyzing my habits, and figuring out areas in my life that I could improve upon. Becoming more present & valuing my relationships more was definitely at the top of the priority list. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been really trying to set boundaries for myself and my phone usage to try and improve on this area. For example, I’m trying to give myself at least 20-30 minutes of phone-free time each morning when I wake up. NO MORE CHECKING INSTAGRAM THE FIRST SECOND I OPEN MY EYES! I’m also trying to be more conscious of leaving my phone in my pocket whenever having conversations with people. I think it’s one of the rudest things when someone is texting while you’re talking to them.. AND I DO IT!! (What have I become) Lastly, I’m just trying to reduce the amount of time I spend on the dang thing. There’s so much life to be lived & enjoyed outside of a 6 x 3 inch little screen. It’s probably going to be a difficult undertaking, but it’s important for both myself and my relationships that I make the conscious effort to drastically reduce the use of electronics.
Our phones and social media are absolutely amazing, and wonderful tools if used responsibly. They provide us with so many opportunities our parents never had, and allow us to connect in ways we’ve never seen before in human history. This is not a post bashing on technology, but simply a reminder that too much of a good thing can also be bad. Don’t allow technology and social media to consume your life. Use it freely, but don’t allow it to take away from your ability to be truly present with those around you, because that’s what life is really all about.