Yeah, I did it. I dropped my cell phone in the toilet. It was in a jacket pocket and I had forgotten about it. $100 later I have a replacement, but not without going without a phone for 36 hours.
Can you imagine? No cell phone for 36 hours… I am sure some of you are absolutely panicked at the thought.
So was I. At first I was embarrassed that I had done something so stupid. Then I was mad at myself. Then I realized I was completely cut-off and began to freak out:
How will I call anyone? I don’t know anyone’s number! I simply tell the voice dialer who to call and it gets done!
How will I text anyone?
How will I check both my email accounts?
How will I take pictures?
How will I check in with hootsuite?
How will I check in with my sisters in the facebook groups I follow?
How will I keep up with my twitter feed?
Yes, I have a computer I can use, but my cell phone allowed me to be mobile. I could check in while cooking, doing laundry, talking on the phone, sitting at a stop light (I DO NOT text or use my phone while driving except with an earpiece). Not having a cell phone meant I would have to stop…doing.
No cell phone meant having to focus on what was right in front of me. Oh, I TRY to do that, really I do, but every time that phone buzzes or chirps or beeps or blinks I am instantly distracted wondering who’s on my phone. Do they need me? Is it just someone else’s comment on facebook? Is it a text from my husband telling me he loves me? Is it a voicemail from my daughter’s school? No matter what I am doing at the moment, once that phone makes a noise my focus is gone.
Maybe that’s just me…
The day my new phone arrived in the mail I re-arranged my schedule and went straight over to Sprint. When the tech guy at Sprint turned on my new phone it beeped with notifications for a solid 4 minutes. He looked at me funny and asked, “There are over 200 notifications here. How long has your phone been off?”
I answered “36 hrs.” His eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Is this a work phone?”
“NO” I answered. “I don’t work… I run a ministry though…” (I felt I had to add that last one in order to explain how a stay-at-home mom could have so many texts, updates, emails and the like)
On the drive home I kept replaying my conversation. 200 notifications in 36 hours. 5.5 notifications every hour. But, if you condense that into the usual reception hours of 6am-9pm, that’s 24 hours, which is a little over 8 notifications an hour. 8 times every hour I am interrupted. What’s even more interesting is that only 1 text notification was directed to me specifically ( I had emailed my closest friends and told them I was without a phone). Pretty pathetic that I was allowing people and their conversations with others to interrupt the flow of my day. A sneaky, horrible thought surfaced: was I being mastered in some way by a need to feel connected through a cell phone?
To test out this theory, once I got home and set up my phone, I decided to silence it while I was working in some way. From writing to cooking dinner to walking our dog and everything else on my to-do list each day I determined to keep my phone in the other room (I am going to create a special ring tone for my daughter’s number and her school’s number so I don’t have to wonder if that notification could be her…) or in silent mode. You know what has happened? I haven’t had to stop writing every few minutes in response to a beep. I haven’t lost track of what my son was trying to tell me about his latest adventure on his video game. I wasn’t constantly wondering where my phone was. And, I wasn’t trying to see what everyone else was doing in order to be sure I wasn’t missing out on an opportunity of some kind. I was free to focus on what was right in front of me, moving through my to-do list uninterrupted.
I learned to manage my cell phone instead of letting it manage me.
Now, when I write, check email, cook dinner, do laundry, listen to my son, sit in the car, watch TV, or do anything else that I want to focus on, I turn my phone off. I turn it on when I want to check what’s going on or make a phone call. Life is much more focused…
For my sweet sisters out there who are so very busy with the workings of their lives, could you be more focused, more peace-filled if you dropped your phone in the toilet too? Have you ever considered how your day could change for the better if you managed your cell phone instead of letting it manage you?
I am praying for you!
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