If you’ve been out in a public place recently, you’ve probably seen them.
You know them. You sneer at them. Maybe make a snide remark at your friend or in your head as you walk by. They may be a group of teenagers or adults, all staring down at their screens. You tell yourself that it’s ridiculous. That you’re not like that.
Until, of course, you’re doing the exact same thing.
Look, I’m a natural fidgeter.
A few years ago I was sitting through a tedious work training. On the first day, to my surprise, I was given a fidget toy. The purpose was, as I was told at the time, to help people focus.
What an idea.
If you don’t live under a rock, you probably have heard of fidget spinners. These small, simple devices have been on the rage with kids, causing confusion and headaches in schools nationwide. That being said, many are touting fidget spinners unique ability to ease anxiety, depression or even symptoms of ADHD.
So this got me thinking. What else do I fidget with?
Uh, duh. My phone.
You’ve probably read about or heard about this new lifestyle hack:
“Delete your social media apps.”
Yes. I deleted my social media apps. The problem was that for weeks afterward I still took out my phone all the time. I’d sit there and swipe left and right for 20 minutes if I had to. All to fill just a little gap of time. This twitchy, unconscious desire to grab my cell phone and do something with it never seemed to end.
I realized my phone wasn’t a very good fidget spinner.
We walk a bit of a fine line with cell phones.
We want them to be with us “just in case,” but we also don’t want to be reaching for them all the time. So how do we strike a balance?
First, I learned to leave my phone behind. If I was just going to be bumming around the house all day, why would I need my phone with me in every single room? So I started leaving it under a pillow, on my mattress, or even tucked behind my computer.
I don’t grab my phone when it’s a chore.
The second issue was going out into public. Guys, more often than girls, have over-sized man pockets, leaving one’s cell phone easy to grab. To fight this, I did what a lot of my female friends did: I invested in a small messenger bag. You can pick one up that looks great regardless of gender and all the extra effort to grab my phone resulted in me using it less.
And this might seem obvious, but if you’re with a group of people, I assure you everyone has a cell phone on them. So you’re all set in emergencies.
This might not seem “realistic.”
But I do encourage everyone to think about what situations you actually need your phone for. Yes, someone might call you “just in case.” But back before they had cell phones nobody had this luxury and they still figured shit out.
Chances are you’re not going to be able to deal with an emergency on the fly, anyway. Tuck it in your glove compartment. Throw it in the trunk. Find a nice cozy spot for it in your locker.
Just don’t let it overheat, of course.
Ask yourself this question:
Do I need my phone right now or do I want it as a distraction?
I guarantee you that you will make excuses at first. Most of the time, we’re scroll-obsessed zombies looking to zone out for a little while. Nobody is saying we shouldn’t veg out from time to time. It’s just getting a little out of control.
It’s time to take our over-sensitized, fidgety lives back.
*Fidget spinner not included.