I gave up my iPhone for two days just to tell you about how it felt. and let’s face it: Being without your smartphone for a couple of days isn’t a big deal. It’s just an electronic device.
Here’s how it all went down.
I woke up on the first day of this experiment and had a baseball game to go to, and the skies didn’t look promising. “Let’s just jump on the phone and open the weather app and…oh, crap!”
So I asked, “Hey, Coop. What’s the weather going to be today?”
My youngest son is eleven, and he has an iPhone. Problem solved.
Like anything else in life, when you need information, you go and find it. So the next two days of being unplugged were pretty boring and a little tedious. It was me, taking longer than necessary to get and gather basic information, but gathering it nevertheless.
I also found myself constantly feeling for my phone that wasn’t there. For those who wear a watch or a wedding ring that you forget to put on in the morning — or at an HR conference — all day you feel it not there.
All day I felt my smartphone not “being” there.
My wife and I had a date night. We made a quick stop at Pottery Barn. Normally, I can go and find a nice, comfortable chair while she shops. I can catch up on a baseball game.
But with no smartphone? Okay, fine, I’ll just sit here in this nice, comfortable chair and “people watch.” So this is what being super old feels like?
We checked out at Pottery Barn, and my wife had a 20 percent off coupon on her phone. Yes, we are as boring as it gets on a date night. My wife had unplugged for our date in solidarity with me, so we left the store without the purchase.
(She said that she can buy her purchase online from the desktop site at home. Oh great, now it’s like we’re Amish! )
Dinner was unusual in that I didn’t Swarmapp, Tweet or Facebook my location. Isn’t it weird when two people go out and let everyone know that they’re having dinner and eating Chang’s Spicy Chicken? Is that love? It begs the question: if you go out on a date night and you don’t check in or post a pic, did you indeed go on a date night?
Without our phones to distract us, my wife and I had to talk on our date. (Here is where the real sacrifice begins, CareerBuilder. Just kidding.) We mostly laughed at how our three sons couldn’t text or call us to ask us questions that they could probably answer on their own. We tried to teach them how to access their brains. Sometimes we fear that the smartphones have won.
We had a great dinner, however, and thought more people should try date night without smartphones.
What Did I Learn?
In the end, I survived my weekend without my mobile devices. It wasn’t hard, but it was a bit unnerving. When you are accustomed to having instant access to information, there is no turning back.
I think “unplugging” comes down to want versus need. Technology starts out as a luxury, but at some point, it becomes a requirement. As a talent advisor, I might be at a competitive disadvantage without my smartphone. Could I recruit without it? Probably, but the extra work needed to be successful would be crazy.
The technology we have available to us should make our lives easier, personally and professionally. If it doesn’t, and if you are burdened by your phone, you have the wrong technology.
Throughout the month of July, our resident talent advisors are discussing issues around work-life balance. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions around unlimited PTO, modeling good work-life behaviors as an employer, working from home, gender differences and PTO, maternity and paternity leave, and much more.