I can’t control my fingers, I can’t control my toes…

I can’t control my fingers, I can’t control my toes…

“I have a great idea,” my husband Marc announced, as we were designing our new storage space downstairs.  “Why don’t we set up our cell phones in the closet?  That way, if they aren’t out in the open, we won’t feel the need to constantly check them every time we walk by them.”

 

“Oh, my God,” I exclaimed.  “I love that idea.” 

 

Marc and I are like so many people these days.  We both are totally and completely addicted to our phones.  Between texts and emails, personal and professional, we are constantly picking up our devices, checking them and replying to messages.  What we once felt was a time saver, has become a time drain. But worse, our constant connectivity prevents us from truly enjoying our down time. How can we take pleasure in the now, if we are always letting the outside world in to distract us?

 

Hiding the phones, I thought was the perfect solution. Unfortunately, it ended up not being an option, because of the Bluetooth settings on our home phone system.  When Marc explained the technological glitch to me, I was devastated.

 

“I know that it would have been a great idea,” he explained, but it isn’t going to work.”

 

“But, now we will never stop checking our phones,” I whined.

 

“No one is forcing you to look at messages,” Marc retorted.  “Is there?”

 

“I guess not, but,” I continued.

 

“But, nothing…  If we don’t want to continually view our messages, we don’t have to.  We can utilize self control.  After all, it isn’t like we are three!”

 

He had a point.  No one forces us to always stay connected, although at times it does feel like we have to be.  No one is making us reply to emails all hours of the day or night, but us.  And until we all stop being on constantly, everyone will expect us to be. It is a vicious cycle.

 

I have been trying to be less compulsive with my phone, especially on nights, weekends, and vacations, but it is hard at times.  Although, I do find when I manage to abandon my phone, and remain in the moment, without allowing electronic distractions interfere, I am a happier girl.  There is a time and place for everything.  You just have to find the happy medium.

 

Are you addicted to your phone?  Do you have any restrictions as to when you won’t check it? 

 

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Hilary Grossman

Hilary Grossman is the author of Plan Bea and Dangled Carat. By day, she works in the booze biz. By night she hangs out with her "characters." She has an unhealthy addiction to denim and high heel shoes. She's been known to walk into walls and fall up stairs. She only eats spicy foods and is obsessed with her cat, Lucy. She loves to find humor in everyday life. She likens life to a game of dodge ball - she tries to keep many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. She lives on the beach in Long Island. To find out more of what Hilary is up to check out her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HilaryGrossmanAuthor

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56 thoughts on “I can’t control my fingers, I can’t control my toes…

  1. I am addicted, I admit it. I heard on the news about a restaurant that keeps your phone for you while you are dinning. You even get a 5% discount off your meal for doing it.

    1. Tami – really? i like that restaurant… It drives me crazy to go out to dinner and look around the restaurant and see people more focused on what is happening on their phone instead of what is happening with their diner companion….

  2. My cell phone has become my constant companion especially since my daughter moved out. What happened to the good old days when a parent only got a call from their child on the weekends because long distance was soooo expensive?Yeah, I’m telling my age.
    (Not that I’m complaining about getting texts from my daughter.)

    What I’m really addicted to is email. I’m always checking my inbox, afraid I’ve “missed” something. That last sentence looks so ridiculous when I read it. Like the email is going to disappear! Well, sometimes they do, don’t they? I better go check my email.

    1. denise – did you check your email? What about now? or now? I am the same way. I don’t text much but I have three email accounts on my phone – work, personal and my blog… I always feel the need to stay connected…. And i also long for the good old days…. life was so much easier!

  3. I am one of two people in this universe who does not own a mobile phone! LOL!! But I am addicted to blogging so try very hard to turn off the internet for as long as possible – very very difficult!

    Take care
    x

    1. Old kitty – I envy you… i wish I was the third person in the world who didn’t have a phone (well, sometimes). I think the problem with the smart phones is that you are always connected to the internet.. I have 3 email accounts on mine, facebook, twitter, blog reader, I could go on and on… I could spend a week occupied with my phone…

  4. Our cell phone is getting more use now than it ever did however I am not a texter and do not have voice mail. My husband only uses his when we have to be in 2 different places at the same time.

    1. Judy – I am not a huge texter either, but it does come in very handy…. Not having voicemail would drive me crazy 🙂

  5. I am totally addicted to my phone and so is hubby. He’s worse than me though, he’s constantly texting. Sometimes I get annoyed and then I start revenge phoning. However, I know I certainly do pull it out at times when I shouldn’t. But we kind of have an unspoken agreement that it’s ok to be connected.

    1. Karen – we have that same “it’s okay to be connected rule” especially when we both work on weekend mornings or on vacation. It is the other times that I wish we would cool it a bit. And I am worse than Marc. I will pick up my phone at a random time at night or a weekend to check a “blog email” and see something from work that upsets / stresses me. My mood is totally changed, and I really can’t do anything about it at that moment. Those are the times I feel bad…

  6. Sometimes I can’t even find my phone! BUT I don’t work. My husband, who owns his own business is a little more on the phone than me but he just puts in the bedroom and walks away. You know,many,many years ago people survived just fine without constant contact, even if they had an emergency. My kids know we will eventually check our phone and we will call when we see a missed call from them immediately and there is never a business call that is life altering, well, not for us!

    Good Luck with balancing out your phone usage!

    1. Lucy – It is amazing how we did survive with out constant contact and constant information being thrown at us every moment of every day…. I long for those days. I once left my phone at work, and I seriously felt like I was in withdrawal… You are so right… for most of us, no email – even from work – is life altering – however we (I) feel the need to stay on top of it. But really, why? Does it make any difference if I answer it at 10 PM or 9 AM the next day? I am not a doctor… no one would die… but yet, I am driven to reply…I think because everyone else does….

  7. How about getting a box of some sort that you can either put them in or under?? Yes, self control is important, but so is removing temptation when you know you have an issue. That is one reason your kitchen isn’t filled up with stuff you really want to eat but you know you shouldn’t.

    1. Connie – you are so right… Removing temptation is key… can you please tell that to Marc – he just stocked up on ice cream because Bryers was on sale!

  8. I usually have my phone close by, but it’s not a smart phone so aside from phone calls and text messages which I don’t get/receive too often there’s no point in constantly checking my phone.

    S.D. on the other hand is so obsessed with having his cellphone that I’ve actually considered confiscating it when he walks into the door…or at the very least, at dinner time. Its very annoying trying to have a nice dinner time conversation with someone who’s too busy on his phone to pay attention.

    1. Silver – While Marc and I are obsessed with our phone, one thing we don’t do is use it during dinner… That is a big pet peeve of mine. I think confiscating SD’s phone during dinner is a good idea….

  9. I am not addicted to my phone but I AM addicted to my laptop.
    My husband IS addicted to his phone, he would literally break out in a rash if he were not able to find it (kidding but you get the idea!!!)
    I am guilty of totally ignoring my phone. I won’t answer it if it displays a number I am unfamiliar with, even if someone leaves a message and I DO know who it is I will often wait HOURS to check it.

    The computer? That’s another story. It is on and signed on from when I wake up and often til later in the evening or the wee hours of the morning.

    I “work” from home and the computer is my lifeline.

    I have started a new “thing” where if I am watching my favorite shows I will sign off and stay off until the next morning. I do this a few evenings a week.

    1. Caren – if you weren’t on your computer all day, you would be addicted too! THe only times I am not addicted are the times I am logged in to a computer 🙂 I can so understand how your hubby breaks into a rash… I left my phone on my desk not too long ago and wow… I was crazed… I only am selective about not answering my phone if I don’t know the number if it is a night or a weekend. During work hours I answer it regardless because it is a work phone and so many clients have my cell number…. Many times I sit at my desk and talk to a client on my cell. it is very strange… I think it is good to disconnect, and I am glad you are making some rules. I need to make some too!

  10. I only check my phone when I’m not on my computer. However I am always on my computer. When I didn’t have a connection on my trip to Mammoth Lakes it was actually a blessing in disguise. I am working hard at trying to be less connected. We had to tell the woman in front of us to turn off her phone in the show last night. Every 10 minutes she was checking to see if she has messages. My phone is off in the show! I love having the connections but life needs to be lived and really can’t be if we are always attached to it.

    1. Deborah – that woman would have driven me crazy. While I am adicted, I know the time and place to cool it (or at least that is what I tell myself). I think having a forced technology break is a blessing.. we all need to disconnect, but it is so hard to do it…

  11. It’s amazing how tangled up with electronics we’ve allowed ourselves to become! Wouldn’t it be great if someone invented a piece of equipment that would check our phones for us, maybe give a report once an hour? lol

    1. Kim T – that would be great… but then after a while, it wouldn’t be fast enough for us. It would have to be checked every 1/2 hour, then ever 15 minutes, then every 5 minutes, finally we wouldn’t be satisfied until we got updates every second… We are just too demanding! and I blame technology 🙂

  12. Yes! It’s like an extension of my fingers. I love it and hate it. It does take self control…but so does many things I’m trying to work on, so I’m picking my technology addiction to push to the back burner while I work on some other things about me that need fixing! 🙂

    1. Melissa – “extension of my fingers” – that is so true…. where ever you go how many people do you see with the phone’s attached to them – walking, waiting in line, for an elevator, at a dinner table, driving… it is too much!

  13. I admit that I used to ignore my phone, and I truly dislike talking on the phone. However, with Bill driving a truck over-the-road (for weeks at a time), I now check my phone constantly, all hours of the day and night. It is our connection, 24 hours, literally. He doesn’t have set hours, nor do I. Thus…cell phones now have more MEANING for us.

  14. I don’t have internet on my phone. I can only text and send/receive calls. I know it would be fun to tweet with 4square and instagram my every meal then upload it to Facebook, but I refuse to pay the extra costs. It’s nice turning my phone off at night. Anyone that tries to contact me after 9:30pm will have to wait til the morning.

    1. Irene – it is fun to have all the “stuff” on your phone, but I think that you are smart not to pay the extra cost for the internet services…. Not only is there a cost for the service, there is a mental cost you pay – feeling the need to stay connected. honestly, if I didn’t need my phone for work, I think I would drop the internet services in a second!

  15. I am definitely addicted to technology. The IT guy at work was experimenting and wanted to add the work e-mail to a BlackBerry (we’re a bit behind in the times there) so I told him to add it to mine. I soon regretted it but was hopelessly addicted to it, especially since I was doing some traveling for work. It really wasn’t a bad thing, only during the evenings and weekends when I desperately wanted to be disconnected from work. So I finally caved and got a cell phone for work last week. I had my work e-mail removed from my personal cell and it’s only going to the iPhone. My BlackBerry is free! I turned it off almost all weekend, so proud. I only turned it on to see if my boss had responded to a message I sent her Friday afternoon. It is so great not having that work connection when I don’t want to. And on the personal side, I’m a loner I guess because I hardly ever get texts or phone calls so I am not that glued to my cell for personal use. I tend to play games on my phone or iPod or check the news or weather more than I use it to communicate. The biggest downfall was the work e-mail and I’m SO glad it isn’t on there anymore. Behind able to completely exit work mode out of office hours is a blessing!

    1. Jennifer – being able to exit work is a blessing. I unfortunately can’t. But it is funny, I had a smart phone way early – before they were so popular and I LOVED being able to be connected to work. I found it such a benefit to be able to review emails off hours and get a jump start on the day. The only time I regretted it is when smart phones became the norm. Now everyone has them. We all send and receive emails all hours of the day and night, and we are expected to reply timely. Emails have gotten out of control. They used to be a time saver, now I find them a time drain. I could spend my entire work day answering emails and never touch real work… how is that productive?

  16. * Holding candle*. Hi, my name is Shawn and I’m addicted to the Internet

    Hi, Shawn!!

    Yep, I admit it, I’m addicted to FB, Blogging, Words with Friends, Email………..I need H*E* L*P

    1. Shawn – “hi shawn..” I have purposely not played words with friends because I can’t handle another addiction. Nor have I tried pintrest or instagram… i can’t handle more!

  17. I am hopefully addicted to my phone. It’s my only phone number, facebook connection, email (personal and business), entertainment (netflix/games), educator (kindle app)……and I know that I am missing out on so much when the work day is done because I am constantly checking to make sure that I’m not missing something! What a catch 22!

  18. I usually leave my phone plugged in the same spot and only check it first thing in the morning and before going to bed at night (since I use it as an alarm clock). But then again, since I’m on my computer a majority of the day, I don’t *need* to check it…heh! But I do leave it out of range (out of sight, out of mind) when spending time with my family either during meals or hanging out. That way I’m not distracted. 😉

    1. Stacy – I love how you abandon it when you spend time with your family… I often see parents walking the boardwalk, or by the park near my house, ignoring their kids while their nose is in their phones… it is so sad…

  19. I have to force myself to put my phone down at times. But we have some rules when it comes to them… for dinner they are not allowed at the table. It works great at home but when we are out I tend to check it more or let the kids play a game to keep them distracted. I remember when Sweetheart got his first blackberry and I hated that thing and thought I would never fall victim to the tech gods… Well, thanks in part to blogging I’m just as addicted as some other people!!! 🙂

    1. Susi – I think you summed up the problem… when they first came out, only a few of the real technical people got the phones (that is why I had mine so early, Marc – mr. techy -made me get one). Everyone else vowed never to fall victim… and now, a short time later, almost everyone has one and none of us can put it down!!!

  20. I have one rule that I try to stick by consistently. I never look at my phone on the way to take my kids to school or on the way home. They should have my undivided attention to start their day, and when I haven’t seen them for a few hours. I never text and drive, but that silly thing does call to me at traffic lights! How about you?

    1. Ali – I like your rules… I don’t text and drive either, but I agree, it does call me at lights (especially since my commute is over an hour long) and by the time I get off the parkway I am bored out of my mind…

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