You’ve seen. I’ve seen it. Everyone’s seen it, and chances are very high that you’re guilty of doing it. In fact, I’m 100% guilty of doing it and my spouse and I even got caught by our daughter red handed! The funny thing is, a few minutes prior we were observing and commenting on the same cell phone bad behavior at the table next to ours! Yikes!
We’ve all observed a couple out at dinner and in between their deafening silence… starting into their cell phones. It’s a different kind of thumb twiddling. First dates, young parents with kids, groups of friends, or a couple in their 40th year of marriage – everyone does it. Cell phones and the constant flow of information and entertainment they provide are hurting our ability to hold conversations and engage in effective communication, and in turn, they’re hurting people’s personal lives.
Entrepreneurs are especially at risk of having their cell phones take over their lives. As an entrepreneur, you rely on tech for reaching clients, updating your company’s social media pages, and keeping up with what’s going on in the industry. Not to mention keeping up to date with friends, managing family life, and the occasional fun sprinkled in (I’m looking at you Candy Crush). As a result, a cell phone might start to feel like a natural extension of your being! Putting it away can be very difficult, but it’s important to do.
Of course, this does not mean you should ignore important client calls or neglect social media posts. Sometimes it will be inevitable that there are “afterhours” things you need to tend to (though, are there really regular hours if you’re an entrepreneur? That’s a topic for another time). But you need to be smart about it. Are you celebrating your anniversary? Your kid’s birthday? Just out for a walk with a friend or at a baseball game? Take a deep breath and put the phone away. Whatever the notification buzzing in your pocket is, it will still be there in an hour. The chances of you losing a client because you took one hour to reply to an email or call are very slim. For all they know, you’re in a meeting. They’ll appreciate it if you’re meeting with them and don’t pick up your phone, right? An interesting article from 10 years ago is stating the exact same issue and seems like an article written yesterday on this very topic.
When you are constantly on your phone, you lose touch with what is going on in front of you and disconnect from the present moment. This means you listen less to what your friends or family are saying, know more about what a company four states away said on Twitter than what your kid did at school today, or simply don’t have any life outside of your work at all. That’s just not healthy. Talk about an addiction!
You absolutely need to be attentive to your business. But what’s the point of a successful business if you have no personal life to enjoy with your success, nobody to celebrate with when you do well or to talk to if something goes wrong? Put the phone down and enjoy the little moments.
The next time you do pick up the phone, I’d love to hear from you!