Be the Boss of your Phone – not the other way around {encouragement}

Remember when BBs came to town? Blackberries – the phone, not the fruit.

i remember the first time that shrill triple alert resonated through the room, “pweep-pweep-pweep!” and even then, had the thought that this whole phone thing could become an annoyance if not managed.

Is your phone bossing you around?

Is it your phone, or are you its person?

The other day, my phone hollered at me,

ding!”- and then an echo – ding! – and another – ding! – ding! (a pause) then – ding!One or two is pretty much the norm – no big deal. i don’t rush to fetch or check it like it was a newborn each time it makes a sound, but this one time stood out as it was so many notification notes it could almost compose a short song. Had it been a cluster of inspiring quotes or pics, it would’ve lightened the moment, but nope.

The message was as sharp as the tone of the phone, clearly sent in panic mode as we sometimes can do. An sisterly acquaintance on the contact list was offloading, putting pressure elsewhere to alleviate her frustrations – in essence, trying to demand my immediate attention. It worked, and though i sent a quick note to share that i was cooking, the phone kept on singing over and over again.

Lesson: the volume button is there for a reason and we can actually use it for those moments where we need to create boundaries to tend to something or enjoy quiet moments.

Be The Boss Of Your Phone (and not the other way around)

Like laptops, they come in so handy for scheduling tasks, managing social media, checking e-mail, posting pics on Insta, recording melodies in voice-notes, connecting with close friends/clients, listening to podcasts, hosting or joining webinars and all the rest of it. I even ran this blog from one for almost a year! “Smartphones” have become these pint-sized, password-protected super-machines that not only strive to gobble up our attention but often demand it through a playlist of notifications.

How many hours a day do you spend on your phone? Check the screen time in the settings and you might be surprised at what you find. “Where does the time go?” Away is where it goes; it goes away.

Do you have a phone, or does your phone have you?

STEPS you and i can make to be the boss of our phones (and not the other way around):

  • 1. turn off unimportant notifications (prioritize to suit.)
  • 2. when out for a meal with people, remember you’re out for a meal with people – your phone does not count as a company
  • 3. keep up your handwriting skills and give those poor thumbs a rest every now and then
  • 4. refuse to take your phone in the bathroom (it’s not toilet-paper nor is it soap)
  • 5. use your phone in purposely-productive pockets and sync social platforms so there’s less post repetition
  • 6. set it in another room, drawer or designated space out of eyesight at nighttime
  • 7. let the battery life go to 1% sometimes. Test your emotional attachment to the ‘device’
  • 8. replace any idle phone-time with a light activity (gardening, painting, a walk)
  • 9. dodge the notification trapdoor facebook has when you download the app and sign in for the first time on your phone. You’ll be asked the same question about 3 times, and each time, the ‘turn on notifications’ option will be on a different side of the screen – left, then right then left, to subtly confuse you into ‘accidentally’ turning on notifications if you’re in a rush to log on.
  • 10. please don’t lay down with your phone on your heart, hip or chest, under your tummy or near your ear.
  • 11. dare yourself to travel without it sometimes whether for short walks, supermarket visits or a few rooms away. You’ll find things like breathing, eyesight, hearing, speech and movement remain the same. You might even find out you didn’t miss it.
  • 12. politely but firmly let your contacts know your phone habits. Is it alright if your clients call or send messages at 3am? E-mail is a different story. (i’m not a fan of using my phone for WhatsApp at night unless it’s a close amiga who usually only sends a message then to share a kind thought, prayer request, Scripture or if it’s an emergency.)
  • 13. Go for walks in creation without them sometimes. It’s nice to take photos and footage of nature and it’s also lovely to keep those images of those precious moments in your mind and memory, without a phone. If you do have to take the phone in case an important call from a close loved one might come through just try to take it out if it rings or for a photo or two, and not just because.

How many hours a day are gobbled up staring at or scrolling on a screen? Honest self-evaluation is healthy when it comes to using these digital devices in these times. It may not be easy, but it’s healthy to remember your phone is not an appendage. They come in handy but let’s not hand over all our information and give all our precious time and attention to gadgets that are dubbed “smart”…that wouldn’t be smart. Ever thought about where all our information goes? What cloud? Whose cloud?

What happens to our phones and everything on it when we leave this earth? What will loved ones find in our inboxes, sent mail and photo/music libraries?

Does your phone require layers of access codes and techniques just to access it? (Face scan, thumbprint, two jumping jacks, one saliva sample, 2 twirls and a swoosh of the hand just to get online?) If you’re not in a high-security job, what in the world is on your phone? If you temporarily misplaced it (or the charger) are you likely to 1) become anxious 2) lose your temper 3) have a restless night

Don’t get so attached to your phone til you love it more than people. If anything, let it be an instrument used to reach out to others to share a kind word, build something good, offer a word of encouragement or post an uplifting message. Love is the connection. Phone is a tool.

As a blogger who also manages a few social media pages and connects with friends and music people through e-mail and a chat platform, these little computers called ‘phones’ can be so convenient, but that can be a subtle invitation to become dependent on them. At the moment, I’m on social media an average of 17 minutes a weekday, with a 3 thumb-scroll limit. Any more scrolls is a waste of time and a risk to the eye gate. Too many signals, opinions, images, moods, news…why would we open ourselves to the ever changing salad of what’s on people’s online menu jusso?

If we’re storing the same info that’s on laptops and desktops no wonder many guard their phones like they’re living breathing things.

From family photos and calendar of events to business plans, e-mail contents, contact names and numbers, we’re essentially travelling around with mini offices in our hand. So before we realize we’ve gone too far, let’s take a moment to assess where we are in the relationship with our phones.

And since when did we ever even have a ‘relationship‘ with a phone?

Humans…sometimes we have a tendency to take each other and everything we’ve been blessed with for granted…yet care is one of those precious intangible things that makes us different from gadgets that have a tendency to numb some yet demand so much attention with their rings, pings, apps, pics and the list goes on. Patience with them is on the rise while patience with each other runs the risk of being left by the wayside. Make room for real life…cause these gadgets can numb some. I’m writing this on one so it’s not like I don’t make use of them…just sharing a light reminder to remember to live real life and cherish the ones you love more than possessions you have.

Update: …and now a song springs forth.

Related:  To Blog Or Not To Blog and A beautiful moment without evidence

‘Be the Boss of your Phone – not the other way around {encouragement}’ was first published on ‘Joy within’ Blog

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