Ever feel like your phone is literally an extension of your body?
Same girl, same.
I realized just how addicted I was to my phone last year when I didn’t have it for 24 hours after it took an unfortunate stumble. Funny how things always seem to work like that.
Yet as soon as I had coerced the Apple store sales rep to move my Genius Bar appointment a few hours earlier—there may have been tears involved—and ultimately fix my phone, I was back to my old ways. You know the drill, you’re sitting at dinner with your friends and you just have to press that home screen button to see if anyone texted you. Then, as you reach for it again to calculate the tip or look up only a fact Wikipedia holds the answer to, you have to do a quick scan of all social media to see what’s going on in the world at large and with the girl you went to high school with who now has two kids. Close social media applications to save battery power and repeat.
(Sidetone—the Apple store guys told my dad this weekend that closing applications on your phone when they aren’t in use actually kills more power than it saves. Do we have any thoughts on this?)
By the middle of this year, I had begun to realize just how pervasive my need to check social media on my phone at all hours of the day was in my daily life.
(Surprisingly, I’m rarely on social media when I’m on a laptop or desktop, probably because I am either at work or working on homework.)
Case-in-point, when I was in Fort Lauderdale earlier this year with my two cousins and future cousin-in-law. We were all at a waterfront dinner on the Intercoastal Waterway at sunset eating a delicious meal, yet we kept checking our phones. Why in the heck would we want to be anywhere but in that present moment? Why did I care what Time Hop memory my friends back home were sharing or who was paying who for bills on Venmo? So, we did the cliched phone stack challenge, and the loser bought a round of drinks.
A few months later, I found myself in a similar scenario in New Orleans at the legendary Pat O’Brien’s with some of my best gals. We’d all done the cursory Snapchats, gotten our ‘grams, and checked-in on Facebook. Everyone else we knew was literally at work. So we decided to ditch the phones for an hour, and we had one of the deepest conversations I’ve had in a while.
And this addiction wasn’t just on vacation. I’d wake up in the middle of the night to roll over and check Instagram. I’d be that girl who watched Snap stories as soon as they were posted, regardless of where I was or what I was doing. It was the first thing I’d do before my feet hit the ground in the morning, and the last thing I’d do before bed.
When August rolled around, I found myself in one of the busiest times at work in my three-and-a-half years at my job. While I used to be pretty good about keeping up with social media during the work day, I was leaving work with nine or 10 hours of activity to sort through. There were literally days when I barely had time to go to the bathroom, let alone keep up with the constant feed of activity on Snapchat, Instagram and its stories, Twitter, and Facebook. Once something I pursued as a relaxing break from work or out of boredom or in the dentist office waiting room, social media quickly turned into a chore on my to-do list that I felt was always left undone. Its mere existence was causing me a lot of anxiety—and surprisingly, it wasn’t induced by going down the rabbit hole on someone’s social media account.
(Who else could definitely work for the FBI because of their social media stalking skills?)
So I knew I needed a fix. Keeping up with social during the day was unrealistic, and I didn’t want to miss the reasons I started following all these people on social media in the first place—Liz Adams‘ snaps of her cute Chicago family, Hallie‘s Tinder Tuesdays, Julia‘s Q&As on Mondays, snaps of my friend’s daily lives.
So I set aside a dedicated time to scroll through all my social media feeds and get caught up with the chatter of the day. And it really has made a world of difference. For me, I like rewarding myself with all the fun snaps and stories at the end of the day, so I catch up on social media before I go to bed and then read my Kindle for half an hour or so to disconnect.
Instead of feeling like I have to constantly check my phone for the latest and greatest on social media, I know it’ll all be there waiting for me at the end of the day. It’s allowed me to be more present when I am with other people, and less concerned about my phone when I am doing things for me at home. Obviously, I’m human, so this is still a work-in-progress, but I’ll take any steps forward as a victory.
How do you handle the constant stream of noise from social media? I’d love to hear any tips and tricks you’ve developed over the years! x