Now that I have this list of things I want to write about, I’m feeling a little bit scattered as I approach the keyboard during today’s little slice of freedom (our awesome babysitter is here for a 2-hour stint!). Today I’ve been ruminating more about changing certain life-sucking habits, and in particular my rather lame iPhone addiction. The saddest part? I KNEW this would happen back in 2011 when I first acquired the thing, and I didn’t want it to. And yet . . .
I need a smartphone interventionApril 20, 2014
I hate that I stare at that screen before going to bed.
I hate that I feel compelled to answer texts as soon as they come in.
I hate that sometimes the thing somehow makes it to the dinner table.
I hate that I am distracted by it even when watching TV.
I hate that I pick it up while at the playground with A+C, or while doing other things with them. It IS great for catching photos/videos on the run, but it’s too easy to go from camera to email to facebook to godknowswhat.
I even hate that I scroll around on worthless sites while breastfeeding. It makes sense (since it really is hard to do much else during that time, and it’s a LOT of time), but sometimes feels unsavory.
The thing is: the damn thing is useful. I use it to check the weather, get directions, pick a restaurant, plan date nights, order our diapers, and even sometimes blog. I like checking in occasionally to facebook, to see pictures of my friends’ cute kids or live vicariously through my still-single-and-carefree crowd. I like keeping up with my favorite blogs via feedly. I love using it to listen to podcasts in the car, and even use it as a handy e-reader at times. And obviously, I need it for work (particularly when on call).
But despite all this, I recognize that my attachment to this rather amazing technology has gotten out of hand. First, I don’t want Annabel (or eventually, little C) to model this behavior, and there is no way I can expect her to develop self-control in this arena if I am not capable of practicing it myself. Second, I feel like all of this activity is just taking a toll on actually . . . LIVING. Time is too precious to waste on scanning rather worthless content and responding mindlessly to the the pavlovian bleep of the inbox or text.
ANYWAY. I really, truly feel the need to unplug and break free, but I’m not sure how. I’ve tried to set limits for myself, but the piece of !$*&@ is just incredibly addictive (I’m sure there are studies on this, or if not there will be soon!). I suppose that maybe — just like someone addicted to cigarettes or fast food — I just need to keep trying, and one day hope that I use the right combination of methods. The tough part is that absolute iPhone abstinence isn’t a reasonable or even desirable goal. I just want to use it in a way that feels right. And I feel like I’ll know what that is, if I can get there.
Potential strategies to employ:
* Accountability. Announce to family (and/or you all?) how I’m doing every day. As in: was I able to leave the thing plugged in except for discrete periods and/or when I actually needed it for something useful or purposefully enjoyable (ie, a podcast in the car)?
* Replacement activity. Come up with SOMETHING ELSE (read a really addictive book?) to do when the urges hit.
* Negative reinforcement. Use a website like StickK (I read about this on the Happiness Project blog) to create a financial disincentive (ie, $X goes to a designated family member or friend if I can’t meet goals)
?????? I’m at a loss here.
It’s so funny — I consider myself a pretty disciplined person, but this is one area where I continually struggle. Does anyone identify with this or have any tips? I’m all ears.
(But I’ll try not to check the comments to see your answers every 5 minutes.)
A few weekend highlights:
passover brunch @ bebe & poppy’s
(unpictured, because thankfully I at least spent a few minutes unplugged 🙂 )
date night @ a lebanese restaurant in bay harbor
(a. was a welcome photobomb)
((my hair is kind of a mess here and half wet/half dry.
i will attempt a better pic in the future.))
mr. c turned 2 months old!
faux swim class @ home (no real class due to the holidays)