I can remember 10 years ago if I left home and realized I forget my wallet, I would be high-tailing it back home to grab it. My wallet contains my driver’s license, my money (when I have some), my debit card, insurance cards, social security card, family photos and a host of other vital pieces I typically need.
Today, if I leave home without my wallet, I won’t think twice. I just keep rolling. But, if I realize that I forgot my phone, I will probably still go back, even if I am close to my destination. Mobile phones have become the most valuable thing to carry, or at least we make it the most valuable thing.
The best and worst thing you can have
Mobile phones add so much value to our lives. For me, I have copies of all the things which belong in my wallet. With my phone, I have access to every work document or file I need, my family photos and just about anything you can think of, too. I can honestly say that I am borderline addicted to my phone and it has become a problem.
My wife, graciously pointed out, via text of course, that I am not as patient with our kids when I have my phone with me. Without her saying so, I am sure I am not as patient with her, either. A while back I recognized this and decided to dock my phone when I come home, but I have gotten back into the habit of keeping it in my hand, in my pocket or on the nearest table to me. Now, it looks like I need to take another look at my mobile phone usage and its impact on my relationships.
A funny, but serious issue
I know I am not the only one. Maybe I am one of the few who realizes it, thanks to my wife, and publicly admits it. But, mobile phones, as valuable as they have become, could be the one thing that is destroying your relationships.
Take a look at this video below, which pokes fun at this serious issue and see if you can relate. Below the video, I have listed 7 practical things you can do to keep your mobile phone from damaging your relationships.
- Dock your phone at home. I am sure if you have been using your phone all day, it could use a charge. Make a practice of docking your cell phone when you get home each day.
- Don’t sleep with your phone in arms reach. I know, I know. Your cell phone is probably your alarm. You don’t have to buy a new alarm, but instead of having your phone next to you, place it across the room so you have to get up to answer it, check Facebook, check emails, or press snooze.
- Have a mobile phone fast regularly. Once per week or once per month, take a break from your phone. Find a day and block it out in your calendar to not use your cell phone. In addition to that, do something to fill the time you would normally be tapping away on your phone. Spend some time with real people. Parents, go outside and play with your kids or play board games, instead. If you are married, do something with just your spouse and leave the phones docked.
- Don’t be so concerned with real-time. One of my biggest problems in the past with my phone and social media is I wanted to share everything in real-time and be in virtual conversations while things were happening. In doing so, I found myself trying to capture and comment on the moment so much, that I missed the moment. Now, my rule is take a couple pics, put the phone up, and share later. Everybody doesn’t have to know what you are doing right now.
- Ask others to join you. If you are the only one in the group or house not on your phone, then you may feel isolated or tempted to join the crew. Instead speak with your wife, your kids, your family/friends and even your co-workers. Ask them to agree to not bring out the phones. Have a phone basket that guests can place their phones in when they visit. Or place them face-down in the center of the table when out to dinner or any other gathering.
- Make people a priority (real people not virtual people). The person you are in front of at that particular moment is the most important person to you at the time. Treat them like so by being present and engaged with them. Not engaged with a device, a screen, or a person on the other end of that screen. Be engaged with the real, live person right in front of you.
- Downgrade your data. During a very tough financial period for our family we were without mobile phone service. We had old smart phones which could connect to Wifi hotspots, but no data. So we were limited in phone usage. It was the best thing that happened to us. My wife and I had both become addicted to our phones and our unlimited data. After months of no mobile phone or data service, we became less addicted. I used to text and drive, but could not do that without mobile service. Once we got service again, we reduced our data to the lowest amount possible. Now it is no longer a problem, along with many other things. We have saved money and perhaps some damage to our relationship.
What tips do you have to keep mobile phones from damaging your relationships?