Purposeful Living

How to Claim Freedom from Your Cell Phone

by Kimberly on April 9, 2013

Nobody wants to be in bondage.

And yet, that’s what we are—bound, no that’s putting it too mildly—shacked to our cell phones.

Many of the hard working professionals I coach come clean about cell phone slavery, wince when I mention that there’s a way out, and sheepishly confess they haven’t a clue how to get free.

We have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others. Nobody can be at everyone’s beck and call. And yet we expect others to drop whatever they’re doing to attend to our call or text, and they expect the same from us, whether they’re our spouses, children, or colleagues.

Fine if you’re Superman or Superwoman.

But I’m betting you’re not.

So if you desire uninterrupted time to explore, think, create, innovate, dream, rest, and enjoy your loved ones, here are some simple strategies. I didn’t say easy, mind you. Simple. But if you’re determined to turn off so you can tune in to life, I’m confident you can discover what works for you.

Strategies:

  • Don’t get defensive. Take an honest, critical look at your phone usage. On a spreadsheet, log for one or two days how often you use your cell phone, or other technological gadget, and for what purposes. Even if you just take out your cell phone to glance at it, without actually “using it,” log it. I’m betting you’ll be surprised! Perhaps horrified. Oh, and did I mention honesty?
  • Phones and emails have been shown to light up the reward centers of our brains, so find other rewarding activities to replace technology, such as reading, working on a project, daydreaming, cooking, or conversing with other people.
  • Experiment with not using it. Try it for half a day, a whole day, or a weekend. I know I’m asking the impossible. But I promise, you will survive! You cannot understand what it’s costing you until you’ve ditched it. And I don’t mean forever. If it helps to think of it as an experiment, then call it that. Experiment and get an accurate sense of the benefits and consequences of intentionally ditching the phone.
  • Identify what your unique struggles are. For example, are you tempted by the chime, knowing that you’ve got a new email to check?
  • Come up with a plan. Set boundaries or rules for yourself. When and what kinds of calls will you accept? Which will you disregard until later? What hours will you keep the phone on? When will your phone be put away, so you’re not tempted to use it? What’s urgent/not urgent?
  • Respectfully share those boundaries with others. Let them know how to get a hold of you if there’s an emergency. One of my clients kindly let her new boss know the times she regularly checks her voicemails and emails. This way, she put a boundary in place, while at the same time assuring her boss that she will indeed do her job.
  • Ask for help from others, such as your spouse or kids. If I tell my kids to let me know when I’m one the phone or computer too much, they will do so, and gladly! They want their mommy time. Who can hold you accountable? And better question—are you willing to be held accountable?

I’ve love to hear from some of you how you’ve found freedom from your cell phone or other technology. Perhaps you’ll help one of our readers. Perhaps you’ll help me!

And by the way, if you’d like more articles on career, relationships, and purposeful living, be sure to subscribe to my blog, as well as my newsletter. You’ll even receive my newest ebook, 21 Days to Happier, Healthier, Balanced Living.

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Shut Off Your Phone, Tune Into Life

by Kimberly on April 2, 2013

hang up your phone and tune into lifeWhat nags at you, day in and day out, wailing its siren call, pestering you to pay attention, and for heaven’s sake, stop everything you’re doing right now?

No, I’m not talking about your kids, nor your boss. I’m talking about that cold piece of metal in your pocket. Your cell phone.

You spout, “Well, it’s just a piece of equipment.” Oh, no, it’s more than that. Much more. It’s a slave-driver in disguise, and it’s got your number. Literally.

When I go to my kids’ games, I can’t help but notice that a quarter to a third of all attendees are on their cell phones at any one time. Heh, aren’t cell phones suppose to work for us, not against us?

Research has finally confirmed what we’ve known all along, but were too afraid to admit—multitasking is not good. Distractions are not good. Interruptions are not good.

Where is presence? Where is focus? Where has the beauty of silence and stillness gone? To the sweet by and by?

I pray not. To always be on, to never taste the real freedom that comes from not being attached to this time and energy sucker, is draining.

Cell phones, more often than not, take time away from our family, from our important relationships, from the things that matter. They even distract us from the work at hand. And they take time away from the little we already have to decompress, daydream, and rest.

Being attached 24/7 causes stress. We’ve forgotten the value of being able to simply breathe and quiet down our busy minds for a while. Or to get work done.

Deep inside, I think we all do recognize just how enslaving cell phones have become (not to mention other technological gadgets). So if you’re ready to make changes, stay tuned for the next article where we will dive into strategies for shutting down and tuning into life.

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5 Reasons Why We Get Stuck

February 26, 2013

Stuck. It’s that dark swamp of icky-ness we sometimes fall into. It’s that sense of going nowhere, of not moving forward, of wasting our precious, precious time. Quicksand. Stuck, sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss of paralysis. There are several reasons why we get stuck: Because we’re afraid Because what we want doesn’t align […]

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13 Adventures in 2013

February 16, 2013

I don’t know about you, but I want each year to be bigger and better than the last. What would be your adventures? In your relationships? With your business? At work? For your personal life? C.S. Lewis said, “You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.” I’m […]

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23 Ideas to Increase Your Joy, Success, and Satisfaction in Work and Life

January 2, 2013

Well, it’s that time of year again when people begin to think about their future and what they want their year to look like. Regardless of whether or not someone makes New Year’s resolutions, everyone wants greater joy, success, and satisfaction in work and life. Here are 23 nifty ideas to inspire you. The key? […]

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Why Leaders Should Behave Like Dogs: 4 Doggy Lessons for Work and Life

December 26, 2012

Know a great leader whose feet smell like corn chips and is hairy to boot? I do. I work alongside her nearly every day. Actually, there are two of them. Right by my feet, where they lay silently, waiting for me to bless them with a glance their way, eager to thump their tails on […]

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13 More Easy Recognition Strategies for Home and Work

December 11, 2012

In my last post, I listed 10 easy recognition strategies for leaders and colleagues in the workplace, and promised you some more. However, I thought it would be relevant and fun to list those that can be used at home as well. Here are great ideas to spread the love around. Appreciation and Recognition at […]

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Off the Wall Christmas Contest for Work

December 4, 2012

In a previous post, I talked about giving out an award (even for zany reasons) as a means of recognizing and appreciating others. Here’s an off the wall Christmas contest, based on a game I played many years ago. It’s called “Guess the Christmas Carol.” Okay, so perhaps it’s not business-y enough to deserve a […]

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Gratitude and Appreciation: 10 Easy Employee Recognition Strategies

November 28, 2012

Winston Churchill said it best: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” This brings to mind employee recognition, though the topic is certainly relevant to anyone you encounter. Here are 10 easy, no or low cost ways to recognize others and demonstrate your appreciation: Take her […]

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Gratitude and Thanksgiving: Chipped Teeth, Crusty Dishes, and What’s That Smell?

November 19, 2012

With the approach of Thanksgiving, it’s only right that I express my gratitude. So here goes! I am thankful for The unique whiff I get when I slide under the sheets next to my sleeping husband, because at least he’s there. Crusty dishes in the sink, because there’s always plenty to eat. Leftover mashed potatoes. […]

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