Since my February 17 blog on breaking bad phone habits, my eyes have popped wide open to my unhelpful routines, one in particular: I have just not been able to put the phone down at my cut off time at night–9.30 pm. For the past couple of nights, I have been sucked in to reading something or even listening to something at about 9.15. And though I know it is a risk, I’ve indulged myself and the result has been the same, a sleepless night.
Why? I’ve not yet embodied the experience of how it really makes me feel to engage with one of my devices fifteen minutes before I am supposed to be winding down. Frustrated and sleep deprived this morning, I am going to spend some time today dropping into the experience, reflecting on it, feeling it repeatedly. Looking forward to the the light bulb turning on and understanding that this bad habit no longer serves me, if it ever did.
For more tips on breaking your own bad phone habits, check out my latest vlog.
And do see how ready you are to tackle the problem with our short quiz on the subject. Click launch button to play.
See you next time. Take care of you inside out and remember it is you I owe.
Where would we be without our phones—the smart one that is? So many people have abandoned landlines and can’t imagine life without a smartphone. Not only is it a phone, but it’s also just about everything else you want it to be—a camera, an internet provider, an entertainment center and all the rest.
Honestly, I am as excited as the next person, though the thought of ditching my landline is a step too far. It’s my reliable device when all else fails. But I, too, am hooked on my smartphone and can’t leave home with it.
In my obsession with it, I have picked up a few bad habits along the way that are more trouble than they’re worth and can be quite relationship and health undermining, as well. You, too? I’m not surprised, so have dedicated this blog and a vlog (coming next week) to breaking bad phone habits such as:
Looking at your phone while in the company of another person Using your phone during a meal or just having it on the table Playing with your phone during class, a meeting, or a club Sleeping with your phone or at least with it nearby so it is the first thing you see in morning and the last thing at night and sometimes in the middle of the night
What’s the problem, you might ask? These are norms nowadays! Everybody knows that. Well, I have to tell you, these habitual norms are not only rude, isolating, distracting and dismissive of others, they are also irritating, aggravating and sleep depriving. They have to go for the sake of effective communications, good emotional and mental wellbeing, and healthy relationships.
So how do we break these bad phone habits? I’ll come to that, but first let me tell you what doesn’t work permanently– exerting will power, analysing or guilting your way out the habits.
According to neuroscientists, habits are well, habitual, so you can’t will yourself out of them, think your way out, but it is possible to feel your way out of them through awareness. But first you have to notice the habit, experience it with awareness repeatedly, assess whether it serves you, is it still rewarding? Has it ever been? And finally when you and your brain experience the habit as unrewarding, you can break it.
Very straight forward isn’t it, but it takes focus and consistency to undo any habit that the brain has set to auto pilot. For example, I was an addictive cola drinker, especially in my 20s in New York City. Every morning, I had a certain cola and a cinnamon and raisin bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. I know. Yuck! No amount of telling me how unhealthy this was mattered. I knew it was a caffeine and sugar trap and all the rest and I could not stop until I experienced its undermining of my health repeatedly.
After years of doing this on auto pilot, I began to notice that every time I had a cola, I had palpitations. And the more aware I became, the more I saw that my habit was not rewarding. Pretty soon, I dropped all colas like they were hot coals and do not like them to this day.
Now about that smartphone, is it serving you or are you serving it at the expense of your sleep, emotional wellbeing, relationships and so on? How do you feel when someone else uses their phone in your company? How do you feel when you play with your phone on the down low? Is there a widening a gap between you and friends and family when the phone is all you can pay attention to? Are you losing sleep, feeling isolated, disconnected and all the rest?
In any case, turn the spotlight on the real time experience and feel the results of your behaviour in real time. You just might become fed up. I am getting there and wishing you Godspeed as you go forth to nail your bad smartphone habits.
For more hot tips on phone etiquette, check out Your Online Wellbeing Inside Out with Nicola Morgan and keep watching this space for my vlog next on the same subject.
Oh and yes, check out our short quiz on bad phone habits. Launch from the button below.
In the meantime, take care of you inside out and remember it is you I owe.
Your online reputation matters, like it or not, in the same way that your offline reputation counts.
No wonder I don’t have a big online personal presence, though it wouldn’t hurt to enhance it, as my personal brand is linked to UIO, which does have a pretty good online reputation, thanks to our social media manager.
But here is the thing to remember, the thing that terrifies me—everything you say and do online becomes a part of your online record. Yeah, you have an online record and all it takes is a quick search to pull it up.
Of course, there are privacy matters but make no mistake about it, privacy can become a little murky when posting comments, photos, etc… Whatever you post, well there is a trail, forever!
Gosh, forever is a long time and can and will follow you around from your teens, to university, to new relationships, to potential jobs and so on. So, as long as your posts represent you, your personal brand, and you can stand by them and not behind them in shame or in front of them to conceal them, you are good to go.
What a heavy burden to bear, living in front of a lens, that is, all the time. Sure, we all like to reflect on memories but there are few things we’d like to forget about, too.
Like the time that I sat humiliated in the stands during a basketball game and my boyfriend, who knew nothing about me intimately, nothing, decided to plant his hands upon my coated chest (I had on a puffer coat). And even if he had known me intimately, how disrespectful was that? Whatever happened to r-e-s-p-e-c-t? Obviously, this has left a scar on my psyche, but I do remember squirming my way out of it somehow and getting another boyfriend.
Imagine me finding a photo of the scene online the next day, the next month, the next year, the next decade. I’d be traumatised today. Thank goodness this was pre-online dominance for socialising. Thus, I was able to restore my reputation without too much of a fuss. For starters, I had much less of an audience to deal with.
Make no mistake about it, the thought of not having an online presence is unreasonable to ask nowadays, considering all the goodness that comes from social media such as broadening your horizons and communicating with people throughout the world. Without it, sharing my expat experiences or promoting UIO podcast would be incredibly challenging or downright impossible.
So, what can you do to protect your online reputation?
Don’t post inappropriate visual or written content!
And don’t be tempted to comment on inappropriate content, either. It might seem harmless and fun, but it could easily come back to haunt you.
Be mindful of others, only posting comments and photos of them with their permission.
Stick to the offline rule of refraining from heated discussions about religion, sex and politics, particularly with strangers, unless of course, you have a platform that warrants you to do so.
And finally, check out Online Safety with Charlotte Aynsley from series 3 of UIO podcast for more hot tips on staying safe online and protecting your reputation. It’s all about you inside out!