There are so many distractions in every day life, and there’s so much information buzzing around. It’s impossible to watch every TV channel at once, impossible to read all the Ts&Cs of every contract you click “I accept to”, impossible to fully catch-up with everything on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc…
But the ever present smartphone is a malign addition to our lives. Sure, there a lot of advantages and it’s changed the way we life – but not necessarily for the better.
Do you ever remember when this first happened to you? I”ll set the scene:
Around 2009 or so you go out for a drink with some mates. You’re having a good time (not knowing that you may be slipping into being an alco (but that’s a different story). Everyone is having a good time, chatting, talking, laughing and then suddenly.
Somebody, for the first time brings out their smart phone and starts tapping away. It’s like a black hole has opened up and sucks all the atmosphere out of the group and for the rest of the evening you have a screenzombie sitting among you.
At first you protest and try to get them to stop. It’s very rude after all, “put away you bloody phone!”. But zombies never give up (or is that Goonies?). Anyway, they don’t stop that’s for sure. And fast forward to 2014, now everyone is a zombie, you might as well join in. You’ve got the phone that you “need” for work and there’s loads of interesting things to gawk at while nobody else is talking.
In the present day, you have you phone always on you, you stare at it as soon as it makes a noise (and if it doesn’t you check it anyway) and it’s ruined how you communicate with other people. No group time is complete without total silence as people stare and tap at their phones. It’s the first thing you reach for in the morning and the last thing you touch at night. It’s your ever present serotonin button pushing best friend. You can’t even spend a few minutes on a train without resorting to the phone – in the passed you used to love sitting on trains for hours just looking out the window and letting your mind wander (that was called travelling back in the day – now if the airport/hotel/restaurant doesn’t have fast free wifi you start going cold turkey!)
So that’s why I’m going on a digital detox this Lent. Phone free evenings at home and I’ll see how that changes things. I’ve noticed it has made an immediate difference to my attention and focus at home – but kicking a habit ain’t easy and it’s very easy to say after 2 days – “I’ve quit smoking/sugar/heroin/linedancing” but give it a few weeks to see if I make the test of time.