How Would You Feel If You Lost Your Phone? Take This Challenge!

Work-Life Balance on 11.15.12
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Photo: Laura St. John

Think you may be addicted to checking your phone? Do you know other friends or family members who may need a rude awakening about their unhealthy tech habits? Then you should all try this challenge together: Put your phone out of sight, like stuffed and locked in a drawer, for one solid day. And see if your world comes to an end.

It's a Love-Hate Thing

I admit: My relationship status with my smart phone is -- It's Complicated. I love that it's a powerful tool for communications, tapping into work so I don't have to be in the office at all times, and even a concealed weapon when you're walking around if you want to avoid talking to real-life people. But I hate it when it takes about 3 shouts of my name to snap me out of my phone-life and back into the real world.

Phone Detox: It Sorta Feels Like You Can't Find Your Child

This will be the easiest, hardest thing you've done in a long time. There's no prep or hassle: All you have to do is put your phone in a drawer somewhere, powered off. Start it one evening before bed. Your first test will be during the night, if you ever check your phone, or in the morning, when you check all the messages, like the Toys R Us holiday specials, that were hoping to reach you as soon as you woke up. Leave it in the drawer all day, as if your phone broke or you lost it.

I'm warning you -- it will be painful. You may experience that terrible mom gut feeling of, "Oh no, where'd he go?" like when you temporarily lose your kid for 2 seconds in the grocery store. I guess in some strange way, my phone has become my 4th kid. Throughout the day you will get that feeling a bunch of times, then gasp, then be relieved that the withdrawal you're going through is just part of the "phone detox" process.

Feedback From a Mom Who Completed This Challenge

Last Thursday, my good friend Stacey left her cell phone at a home party we went to. She was thrown into this challenge, unprepared! (The horror!) She messaged me on Facebook about her phone withdrawal. Suddenly, I felt like a drug dealer and she couldn't wait to get to the goods. Even her husband messaged me on Facebook to confirm I'd get her phone to her. I messaged them back, "I've got it. Meet me at my house tonight and if my light is off, I'll leave it on my front porch." The next morning, Stacey said to me, "I felt a little lost without it! It made me realize how much I check it absent-mindedly. It was really sick, actually. I was laughing to myself, thinking, wow -- I have a problem." It had such an impact on her, she suggested I write about it.

Stacey went on to explain how she read many of my previous articles about modeling unhealthy tech habits, but this 1-day detox really hit it home for her. And guess what? Her world did not come to an end -- of course thanks to her computer and Facebook. But I guess that's another story.

Laura St. John is co-creator of Discovery Kids Puterbugs, a technology program that teaches kids 8 and younger healthy ways to use technology as a tool, not just a toy. Classes are offered in locations throughout the US, as well as an anywhere-anytime online format. Learn more about entrepreneur licensing opportunities to bring the program to your area.

Laura's Related Articles:
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Do You Model Unhealthy Tech Habits?