Admitting You Have a Problem Is The First Step

Each day at work, I spent nine to ten hours in front of a computer, looking at a screen, tip tapping away on my keyboard.

I go to lunch and while noshing I pull out my iPhone and I catch up on email, Twitter, Facebook and when that’s done, I read a couple chapters of a book on the Kindle app.

When I come home from work, I have my phone with me at all times and I check in on email, Twitter, Facebook and others. Sometimes I log into my iMac and do some writing work or I edit photos or just fiddle about. Occasionally in front of the television I’ll fire up my MacBook and I’ll do the two screen thing, telly and computer.

When I go to bed at night, I set the alarm on my phone and I do a last check of email, Twitter and Facebook and maybe read another chapter of a book on my phone.

Then I sleep. When the alarm goes off, the first thing I do is check the meetings on the day’s calendar on my phone. Then I check email, Twitter and Facebook.

Recently, I had to admit to myself that this is a problem. I spend way too much time with my head in a device.

Way, way too much.

I’ve been trying to wean off but I have to be honest, it’s hard. Those “likes” on Facebook are as addictive as pellets to a lever pushing rat. Payoff! Reward! You like me you really like me!!

While out and about with a friend a few weeks back, she commented, “You are on Facebook a lot” and my internal gears seized up. Am I really? That can’t be.

Only it is.

I was doing better (for a few days) and really making progress, but then baseball’s post-season started and it got worse. I wanted to watch the games and see what everyone was saying and see updated stats online and photos from the yard! At some points during the course of the post-season I was watching TV, Twittering on my MacBook and checking Facebook on my phone all at once.

Meaning, I slipped off the wagon and bounced a few times on the dirt road.

Last night I was thinking AGAIN about my need to back away from the shiny electronic devices. They are so alluring!

While waiting in the coffee line this morning at work, I idly browsed the local county newspaper (an actual paper copy) and came across this little ol article:

Can true solitude be found in a wired world?

I used to be that girl…I loved to sit in an airport waiting for a plane and instead of my nose in a device or even a book for that matter, I would sit, quietly, and observe the world. The sights the smells the sounds. I would hear my own thoughts. I would find a place of calm.

Not anymore. Now if I fly I make sure my iPad is loaded up with content, both books and movies to distract me the whole way and I hardly make note of anyone or anything around me. Hell, I can’t even sit quietly in my own home and listen to the squirrels fighting outside. Nope, gotta Tweet about it.

What is wrong with me? When did I get sucked in and how can I back away slowly?

I had a revelation one night last year while in the midst of twelve to fourteen hour workdays and I was losing my mind. My beloved Good Man took my phone out of my hand, went into Settings and turned off my work email.

It was like he opened my eyes for the first time. That I could really do that…I could ignore email for a few hours? Magic!

Perhaps it’s now time to turn the entire device OFF the moment I come in the front door. There is no emergency in APAC that can’t wait to the next morning. My coworkers in APAC are fairly used to this.

Or perhaps I set a time…say 8:00pm and after that the phone is off. That allows a window for emergencies from the Pacific Rim but a time of peace in my home (and mind).

I have a good friend who doesn’t work on email at night simply because his company turns off access to email every evening then turns it back on in the morning. How glorious and how sane. My employer would never do this.

To be honest, when I think about having an unwired vacation (as suggested in the article), it sounds both awesome and a little scary.

Which is a sure sign I need to implement this in my life right away.

Image from The Indian Fusion.

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  • Nadine in Nevada

    I feel the same way.

    I don’t work outside the home but I do volunteer all over the place. I have their emails attached to my iphone. I have a little netbook next to my place on the sofa so I can tweet/facebook/play games while I watch TV.

    I also always have either the TV or Pandora on as I don’t like too much peace and quiet. I really need to slow down and listen to the quiet. Maybe do a quiet Bible study with just me, God and a cup of tea…

    • Karen Fayeth

      Hi Nadine – Under the auspices of “practicing what I preach” last night I held myself to three checks of my phone. Once upon my return home, once about 8pm and once before bed.

      It was actually nice. I felt pretty peaceful and it felt like I had WAY more time in my evening. Way more time with The Good Man and it was really pleasant. I did keep jonesing to look at the device but held off.

      Small but good steps.

  • Mrsupole

    I am not sure when it happened but I think it happens to just about all of us. Heck I even have my DS in the bathroom in case I am going to take a bath and need to do something instead of just relaxing. I am learning to just ignore it and just close my eyes and let the Jacuzzi jets do their job and help me relax. But I too have to have my laptop on when I am watching TV. I do not even know how I can do them both but lately I am trying to just do one or the other. Plus now that the wee wittle ones are living here again I can only bring the laptop out when they are asleep. Not a lot of hours to use it. I do have to say that they rate higher than any device and are truly worth every minute of my time.

    I also truly cannot get that into FB or Twitter. My email is still mostly for shopping or jokes. Texting or actually calling each other is our main form of communication. FB seems to be what the teenagers in the family do and they seem to try to just out “do” each other. Still just don’t think tweeting is worth anymore than FB.

    But I love Pinterest. Not really any communicating but just a way to find info on the net and oh so many recipes. Just so much info and none of the “I did this or that today”. Plus, it is so easy to do. And you can skip days or weeks with not doing anything on the site. And it is for all age groups.

    Maybe they should just start calling all of our devices drugvices because they have definitely become our drug of choice. Seriously if someone tried to take my iPhone away then I would suffer withdrawal symptoms.

    I guess what I am saying is that I truly feel for you.

    I’m Mrsupole and I am an drugvicic!
    I am here because I need help, lots of help.
    I cannot stop using my drugvices.
    I even use my drugvices in my sleep.
    I use them every waking moment.
    I am sick, sick, sick.
    Truly a sick drugvicic user.
    Please help me.

    God bless.

    • Karen Fayeth

      Mrsupole – I’ll go with you to the meetings. I hear they have good coffee.

      We can be a support group! LOL!!

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