Turn Off Your Smartphone...Now!

Today I stumbled upon this Motorla add eaturing Ashton Kutcher about an experiment on how long you can go without touching your smartphone. It's quite funny, have a look: 


I know, that as humans we sometimes have a black spot in our perception about ourselves. So take a look at yourself and really reflect on how long, often or at what places you are using your phone - the bed being one of the more conservative spots...

The thing is, I observe a lot of social situations nowadays, where people are listening  to music with one ear pod, writing a text or checking emails whilst talking to another human being (sometimes all of them togehter). 

I'am definitely not guilt free sometimes but last saturday I forgot my phone when I was out shopping with friends for the day. Here is what I learned about my own addiction and what I advise to look for in your own habbits:

Being on time - Punctuality

I hate being late. Since I commute to work - not everything goes to plan everyday. When I see that I'll be late or the bus is not coming, I write a short mail to my colleagues and say it'll take a while longer. I just feel bad, fortunately I have my phone for writing this email and in the mean time checking work related mails, so in the end it's not that bad. 

So far so good, but have you tried to organize a private arragement with friends lately? Not only is it hard to meet with people who are busy all the time (due to their phone?) but timing is another factor. Because everyone will write to you they are going to be late - but not always because they simply have to wait for the bus - they are just late. They forget the time and think "ah, no problem, I'll just write my friends and it will be alright". This leads to an extensive amount of wasted time waiting for the other parties. 

The worst thing for me was not being able to look into my phone - where is everybody? The probabilities of changed time and place are vastly higher due to the phone-syndrome. 

Have you noticed this behaviour? Let me know in the comments.

Having mutliple conversations simultaneously

Consider the following scenario: You are talking with someone about a normal topic and suddenly without an obvious reason your dialog partner starts bursting out in laughter? You reflect on what you said, but nothing comes to mind as being funny about it - you ask "What is it?" and then you get their phone in your face with some funny gif about a cat rolling on the floor. Of course it looks cute and funny, but you cannot help to feel ignored...

The thing is, we value our time and when you talk to someone, you expect them to listen and respond that is the social contract. Since SMS was a thing, people are easily distracted and talk with multiple people simultanenously on their phones. Did you every read something like. "Sorry, wc" ? "Wc" standing for "wrong chat". So you're just another number on their phone... it's simply rude.

I noticed this immensely when I wasn't in posession of my phone. There is no distraction for you, so you notice every little gesture or mimic that is not part of your conversation. 

When you are with people, especially while in a conversation at the dinner table, put your phone away and mute it. There is a reason why it's called "quality time".

Becoming more and more indecisive

Should I buy this dress? Is this TV the right size? Can I afford this? When you are out for the shopping hunt sometimes these questions emerge. When you are with a friend or two, they can help you, but why should you stop there? Embrace the internet and ask anybody! Well... or don't!

The problem with the smartphone is, you got the whole world in your hand, so why not ask if this jeans fits just right with your whole social graph? Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other devious platforms. 

Waiting for others in a store, when you are already finished is still very annoying. Having your own smartphones helps to pass the time, but when you forgot it and stand there with out it... well, what are you going to do?

But this is not just a private problem, since it is super easy to contact people directly, some tend to crowdsource every little decision. Don'T get me wrong, team work is essential, but when you outsource simply and easy questions from your field of profession. As we marketers say, keep it simple and stupid - if you like a certain item of clothing, buy it - don't hesitate. You will feel better and people will celebrate you for your decisiveness.

Have you seen such behaviour in your social graph, are you regularly exchanging texts with more than one person? If you have, please leave a like and write a comment on what you think about this topic!

BONUS: What I missed the most without my smartphone

Taking pictures of interesting things. The single most valuable function I cherish in my smartphone. I can take photos of things I find interesting, be it clothing, books or other stuff that I find radnomly interesting and categorize them, put them in my calendar or simply upload them to my Pinterest. It's amazing. So on this particular day without my phone I constantly asked - "Could you please take a picture of this and send it to me?".

Sometimes you only realize the value of something when its gone. Make sure to not forget this and just put your phone on mute when you are with someone and just enjoy the time without being disturbed.

Thanks for reading!

Sebastian