Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Cleanse Part II: 5 Rules For Cell Phone Addicts

Have you ever done a juice cleanse? Well, I have, and it is no fun - I kept wanting to chew something desperately, wondering why did I do this to myself and if juice cleanse even good for me.

So here I was, phone less. It was 5AM and I was already feeling the separation. Apparently, as soon as I wake up from the phone alarm, I open NY Times app and check out the headlines. Then I check emails and texts I may have missed while sleeping. But today, since I don't have my phone, I have an extra 15 minutes to sleep... if I only could! What if I missed an important e-mail?! So I laid down for 15 minutes thinking - but then, why can't emails wait till I get to work? Is it really necessary to start sweating business at 5AM? Ok, I get the idea.  

Rule #1: No checking email and texts between 8PM and 7AM. 

At 6AM I am in my car driving to Downtown LA. Usually, this is the time when my sister and I catch up (luckily, she drives to work at the same time!) We talk about our day, we share thoughts and opinions, we argue if we get too stubborn, then we make up and talk some more... So what do I do now? Oh, I know! I can use bluetooth in my car to call her without even touching my phone! Bingo!.. That does not mean I failed the cleanse, does it? Bluetooth is safe and not nearly as stressful as having phone by my side tempting me to check it every time it beeps and, even worse, felling compelled to respond. No more!

Rule #2: When in the car, deliberately keep the phone away from the hands reach. Use blue tooth only. That's the law, anyways.

Rule #3: To avoid the temptation to check emails as they come, turn off the sound on email, text, Facebook, and twitter notifications. Check as needed only, and never do so while driving!

7:45AM - I was sitting in the crowded courtroom, waiting for my turn... for 45 minutes! Oh! I bravely fought the temptation to take my phone out and play Candy Crush, or Sudoku, or check Facebook updates. I do that all the time to kill time. Do you? So I dipped my hand into my magic Tory Burch hobo bag and fished out my... nook. What did you think I was going to get? 

Rule #4: Aways keep a newspaper, or a magazine, or nook to keep you company when have time to kill. 

Please understand that I am NOT becoming a technology hater. I cannot live without technology, and I should not! This is the way of our life.  I guess the point is to use technology for our advantageefficiencynecessity, but not to fill every possible minute with cellular ray stimulation. So instead of spending an hour driving to the bank to make a deposit, I can do it on my smart phone in a minute. Great use of my phone! Then, I have 59 minutes to do other things, like write a blog, or spend more time to cook dinner from scratch, or play a board game with the kids. 

But what about expectations? When I send a text message to someone, I expect an almost immediate response, and I feel that others expect from me the same. Am I right? Am I wrong? Am I supposed to check or answer a text while having lunch with a friend? I think we all know the answer to that. In fact, I should not even have my phone on the table as I always do. Having it on the table makes me pay less attention to a friend and forces my brain to multitask - just the presence of the phone in view subconsciously makes me think about emails or calls that may or may not come in. What for? If the phone is in my bag, I forget about it. 

Rule #5: Do not keep my phone in my hand unless I am using it, i.e. no walking to the parking lot with the phone in my hand, no sitting in front of a judge with the phone on my lap, no having dinner with family and friends with the phone on the table.

Wow! It was only 8AM and I already made so much progress!  I am that efficient!

From that point on, my day developed a full speed - I can only plan for a slow day, not that it ever happens! The idea of not using my phone became impossible - it is just the way of life in my universe. However, using the 5 Rules turned out to be very helpful. I became more aware and paid more attention to the humans around me, and, at the end of the day, I was calmer and less stressed than usual. Now the challenge will be to stick to these rules...

xo Zuma

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