Since the invention of smartphones, more and more people are choosing technology as their preferred method of communication.
Adults spend less face-to-face time with friends, family and co-workers. Children spend more time sitting indoors on Snapchat than they do playing outside.
And not wanting to state the obvious, if you don't connect with those around you – your relationships will suffer. Ignore the people in your life and they will eventually leave.
Understanding what is driving you to be on your smartphone all the time is the first step. Then you can decide what you want to do about it. Here are the top reasons why you might be spending too much time on your phone:
What are you afraid will happen if you don’t answer your phone? Are you scared you’ll get fired? You’ll lose business? You’ll upset friends and family? You’ll miss out on something? That with no job you’ll end up living on the streets alone?!
Solution 1: Be realistic
Chances are nothing dramatic will happen if you don’t answer your mobile or reply to a message at all hours in the night. So where is the pressure really coming from? Is it really coming from out there – or is it all in your head?
If in reality you have a boss who will fire you if you don’t pick up your mobile late at night - maybe it’s time to start looking for a new job elsewhere. With an employer who appreciates you’re a human being and not a robot.
Solution 2: Set and communicate your boundaries – as early as possible
If you keep picking up your phone at 9pm, what are you teaching everyone around you? That you’re happy to answer your phone at 9pm! People are not mind readers. If you don’t want them to call you late at night – you have to tell them.
2) It makes you feel important / significant / needed
Here you have to be brutally honest with yourself. Does being in a job where you are expected to answer calls at all times of day, give you a sense of importance? Does being on your phone make you feel needed? Does telling your friends and family that you’re answering calls at all times of the night make you feel significant? Do you use it as a way of getting attention?
Solution: According to Tony Robbins’ “6 Human Needs” psychology, we all have a need for ‘Significance’. A need to feel important, recognized, unique, individual, powerful, different in some way. Sometimes, however, we try to meet this need in ways that ultimately don’t serve us.
As Tony says – do yourself a favor and get your need for significance met for doing something positive rather than for your problems.
3) It helps you feel connected
While quite sad, some people become addicted to their smartphone because it’s their only source of connection. We all have a need for feeling connected. Feeling like we belong in this crazy world.
Answering your phone, messages and email might be helping you to meet this need in more ways than you're conscious of. Maybe it’s time to ask yourself – am I lonely? And if you’re in a relationship and spend more time on your phone than you do connecting with your partner – this is a clear warning sign that something is wrong.
Solution: Looking for external connection could be driven by a lack of connection with self. Simply meaning you are comfortable enough in your own skin that you enjoy spending time on your own. This comes from self-love, self-acceptance and self-respect. So, if you’re missing that connection – start with doing some “self” work (or personal development).
A coach or therapist can help you with this. Then start to connect with the people around you. Reach out to friends and family. Explore clubs or societies in your area where you could meet like-minded people. Connect with the real world – not your mobile.
And if you’re in a relationship, it might be time to address ‘why’ you’re on your phone and not connecting with your partner. Honesty (with yourself) and communication with your partner will be fundamental in this process.
4) You’re bored
If life isn’t exciting, then your smartphone is simply a distraction from the boredom.
Solution: It’s time to build an exciting life! Get clear on what you enjoy and fill your life with it. Explore different hobbies or careers that will get you jumping out of bed every day. Try them out and see what happens!