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Thursday / May 30.
HomemilastwordPut Your Phone Down

Put Your Phone Down

I hadn’t seen my brother for a while. We were bustin’ to catch up and had a lot to discuss, so we grabbed a coffee and kicked back.

The coffee was sensational and our conversation was flowing. We were getting to the core of what we wanted to chat about. And then, that noise… that horrible shriek that distracts us all and takes us away from the moment.

“Quick, Pick up! Pick up! It’s urgent! Someone wants you… No, they don’t just want you… they need you, and they need you now!!” But, hold on, weren’t we in the middle of a conversation?

Why do we feel that just because the phone rings we have to run to answer it, like it’s a dying man’s last wish. We rummage in our pocket or bag to grab it before it rings out. Whether we’re in the middle of a meal, walking across the road, at the shopping register… it rings and, like Pavlov’s dog, we reach to answer it.

Life is too short not to be present or living in the now, with the person right there in front of you

I’ve been in meetings – important business meetings – when one of the parties picked up their phone: “Um, yeah, good… Mum is coming down in two weeks… yep, I’ll get milk on the way home… Sorry guys, what
were we talking about?”

There aren’t many critically urgent situations that require our immediate attention and not many of us have jobs that require us ‘on call’ 24/7.

I’m not suggesting we go back to the black plastic wall phone (where we’d take sometimes a day to get back to someone), but we can take more control of our phone, and our life.

Let’s rule out emergencies and a handful of other situations like that call from the person you’ve been desperately trying to reach.

As to the myriad of other phone calls, what can we do to take back control? There are many options: Turn your phone on silent; turn it off; put it in your drawer until your break/the end of the day/you’re alone. (Are you feeling anxious yet?)

When you go out for dinner, get everyone to switch their phones to silent and place them in a pile in the middle of the table. The first person to pick up their phone has to pay the bill – it’s a very interesting social experiment.

We don’t need to be telephonically ‘on’ all the time. And, do we really need the ringtone on when we’re in the office?! I don’t know!

Life is too short not to be present or living in the now, with the person right there in front of you. We can take back control.

And I’m only talking about phone calls… as to apps, well that’s a subject for a couple of others columns. And don’t get me started on TV!

But, back to the story about my brother… So, I finished my coffee and we walked out of the café, my brother still on his phone… he called me later to finish our chat.