This article is intended to advise me as much as it to advise any my readers who are glued to their phone, and even sleep next to it. My original title for this article was “Phone in a Well Syndrome”, a modified version of the philosophy “a frog in the well that knows nothing of the ocean” which originated, depending on which Google search result you prescribe to- either from China or ancient Japan.
Technology has made it easier for us to get content. You may have read in about how mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, netbooks…) are becoming the device of choice for all of us to get content. Businesses are scrambling to get their content on mobile devices and in front of the countless millions who own smartphones.
Let me add context to the “Frog in the Well” metaphor earlier. If all that you see or experience is only through mobile devices, you may be missing out on some real life experiences, and your mobile device is the well. It is like me trying to find a wifi/cell signal from the top of Macchu Picchu.
This New Year is the time to stop, relax, and think about how much of our time we spend on these mobile devices even when we don’t have to. The Washington Post discussed how solo diners were using mobile devices to substitute for the absence of a dining companion. As many folks are even using phones while driving, the National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended that all 50 states ban mobile phone use in cars and trucks to avoid distracted driving.
To business folks, my appeal is to resolve in 2012 that you will run technology and not let technology run you. During the holiday season you may have purchased or been gifted with a Macbook Air, a Sony Tablet S, a Blackberry phone, a Nook, or an Amazon Kindle Fire. Here are 10 things for you to think about in 2012:
- Do not interact with your mobile device while driving. Use the time while driving as “Me” time and think. I sometimes even switch off the radio and get to the office fresh with new ideas from the quiet thinking during the drive. Some phones will also remain silent, so you are not tempted to check texts or emails when your phone pings you.
- If the world won’t stop if you don’t check your email, so set times to check your email on any device and you may even save the battery.
- If you are at a networking event put your phone away. A live human being next to you should get priority over a social status update.
- Use phones wisely for your business. The staff at a neighborhood Cava restaurant do – they use their phones to take orders from customers. Recently, Apple introduced a method for store visitors to place orders on their phones.
- Check sites like Foursquare and Yelp only with the objective of finding a place to eat or finding a deal, and if in a new place, tips left behind by previous reviewers. I think taking pictures of food is fine. My mouth waters when I look at the pictures from restaurants that I have taken.
- Don’t check email on your phone as the first task after waking in the morning. Take some time to collect your thoughts and form the day in your mind. If your phone is your alarm as well consider buying an old-fashioned alarm clock so that you stay away from the temptation of checking while hitting the snooze.
- Don’t be busy always taking pictures to share with your network. Stop and enjoy the event you are at as well. Use your phone’s camera or apps for tasks like taking pictures of your receipts so that you can make your expense reporting more efficient.
- Have a day without the device. Wake up, shovel snow, smell the roses, read a book, or cook a surprise meal for the family.
- Visit libraries. Look at actual books, and when you are on a flight, actual books needed not be switched off for landing. I have a few books on my phone’s e-reader, but have not read them yet.
- Watch TV, especially if you are a local business. Reporters cover local stories on the TV that they may be more in-depth than their mobile website.
Do you have any do’s and don’ts with smart phones? Do you agree with what I have listed here?