When did we start becoming seriously attached to our phones?

When did it become okay for us to go to dinner with a friend who we haven’t seen in months and slap our phone down right in the middle of the table as though it were deserving of its own seat? (Does it deserve a bite of our food, too?!)

When did phones become more important than people?

When did it become socially acceptable for someone to look down at their phone and answer a text or an email right in the middle of your sentence?!

It’s not only you

Creating space between yourself and your phone sounds like an easy enough task, right? Except that it’s not. And the fact that it’s not, isn’t even entirely your fault.

A “phone” is so much more than a phone these days. It’s a work outlet, a social outlet, a news outlet, a weather outlet, an exercising outlet, a camera (oh my goodness, I could go on forever) – and let’s not forget, still a phone!

What all of that translates into is an enormous heap of endless distractions that keep pulling you further and further away from whatever else it is that you’re doing – cooking dinner, writing, reading, working, having a coffee with your mom, eating dinner with a friend, chatting with a neighbour outside, playing at the park with your kids, spending time with your partner…

From the constant notifications, to the breaking news and amber alerts, to knowing you having the answer to every single question that comes to your mind right at your fingertips – there are an endless number of reasons to break your task or moment with someone else, pick up your device and start running your fingers rampant.

Think about what it’s doing

Have you seen The Social Dilemma? If not, I highly recommend it. Disclaimer, though: you will be disturbed.

While this documentary focuses on social media, the principles still apply to our smartphones.

Takeaway message: the computer that is your phone is designed to “alert” you and “pull” you back to keep you constantly and endlessly engaged.

Once you realize this and acknowledge it, you can do a lot to control it – and yourself. Whether that means purposely not bringing it out somewhere with you, or turning off your notifications from your most distracting apps, get back in the driver’s seat.

Take a second to remember a time when someone you know completely checked out of the conversation to be on their phone instead. Take another second to consider how you might have come across to someone else when you picked up your phone at a less than desirable time.

Then ask yourself: Is this really how I want to act?

Put it down

Back to this.

I know it’s hard. I know it can feel weird to do this. It may, however, very well be for the betterment of your relationships, productivity, focus and overall wellbeing.

Try it out. See what happens.

You may just feel…

Totally empowered.

Like putting down the very last cigarette you’ll ever smoke, knowing you’ve quit for good.

Except this doesn’t even require a cold-turkey gesture – just a little discipline.