My Blackberry Diet
According to the Wall Street Journal, some therapists are recommending a technology diet or cleanse, encouraging certain clients to turn off their cell phones, hide the video games, and log off the computer, disconnecting from technology as a way to re-engage with the family. I don't have kids to attend to or a husband to ignore, but I do find that some forms of technology are taking over my life.
Recognize the Symptoms
A friend of mine recently said: “You’re a fast responder. You always get back to me quickly; you always have your BlackBerry® on.”The comment stayed with me. I sounded like a person who didn’t have enough going on,hence the time for all those BlackBerry checks.
When you run your own business, people expect you to be reachable and available.And for the past few years, I admit, my BlackBerry has been a constant companion. It would wake me up in the morning and keep me company while my coffee percolated. It would waiting patiently for me on the bathroom counter while I showered and got read for work. It’s even been in the bath with me!
And then it would jostle along amiably in my purse, alongside my wallet, on all my outings, even when I walked the dog. (You never know when you might trip, break your leg and need to call for help!) My ‘Berry would then dutifully watch TV with me in the evening and then nestle back into its spot on the bedside table, ever present, ever watchful, in case I needed anything or anyone needed me.
Address Your Addiction
But recently, my trusty little companion has started to get on my bad side. I was overdue for a holiday this past Christmas and just wanted to tune out and really relax, but the little bugger wouldn’t shut up. It was constantly badgering me with questions and phone calls,clearly not comprehending the meaning of “vacation”. I was starting to resent a plastic rectangle.
Some months back I remember reading an interview with Keira Knightly who said that while filming one of the Pirates movies, she got so fed up with her BlackBerry, she chucked the thing into the Caribbean Ocean. Oh the temptation, the freedom! I haven’t done anything that drastic, but I have begun my own self-imposed BlackBerry diet.
Make a Diet Plan
Like any diet, it can be hard to stick to. With chocolate, I find if it’s not in the house, I don’t eat it. With my ‘Berry, if I don’t have it on me, I can’t check it, and soon, I simply forget about it.
I still use it as my alarm clock and to read emails while I wait for my coffee. But I now walk my dog solo. Ruby is just going to have to pull a Lassie and run for help if need be.I also log off at about 6:30 or 7 pm workday evenings. After that hour, most things can wait until morning. And if it’s an emergency, call me people! On weekends, I often don’t take my BlackBerry with me at all, unless I’m driving. Isn’t that why we got cell phones in the first place, to call for help if our cars break down?
Not everyone is happy with my ‘Berry cutbacks and I’ve experienced some backlash. I was recently questioned by a loved one about why I turn off my phone when I’m out for dinner. What if he wanted to reach me? Other people check their phones when they’re at meals. Why can’t I? And here I am, trying to resurrect common decency by focusing on my friends instead of my BlackBerry. Let’s just say that person’s no longer on my speed dial. (Kidding, honey!)
Restraint = Reward
To everyone else who’s miffed because I don’t get back to them within 5 minutes,please don’t take offense. I’m not ignoring you. Instead of exercising my thumbs, I’m exercising restraint. And so far, my diet is working. There are times, and even whole days, when I’m 132 grams lighter, and it feels great!
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On 01 18, 2011 at 02:44:54 PM, Davey K. said:
Fantastic and good for you! I went on the diet about a year ago after years of having that nasty little thing bugging me day and night. I actually relax in the evening now. I’m going to have my niece read your blog….she’s still in denial about her addiction!!
On 01 19, 2011 at 07:43:15 PM, Eugen B. said:
Being in the IT world makes me more cognizant of how addicted some folks are to these devices. It’s odd to watch people stay so connected all the time. I have no idea if they realize many times they are impeding their own joy or impacting the empowerment of others. I’ve been sad witness to some folks who micromanage with Blackberries. It’s sad to watch, especially for those afflicted with a micromanager. Personally, and for decades, I’ve long felt that an email should get the same response time as regular mail. Same with an IM — if it was important, wouldn’t you have called me? 😉 Anyway, enjoy the freedom. It’s worth it. Now if the younger generation, like my daughter, could only figure out being always on is not a good state to be in.
On 01 30, 2011 at 09:01:05 PM, Chris M. said:
Excellent article Kristina!! I wish more people would realize that the world doesn’t stop turning if you turn off the crackberry…
On 02 1, 2011 at 03:34:21 PM, Lia I. said:
Yayyy! Nice that you’re standing your ground; if you (the #1 person in your life!) aren’t going to stick up for you, then who is? You go girl!
On 03 1, 2011 at 06:52:26 AM, Christine T. said:
My providers contract expired, I cancelled it and the blackberry was shoved into a deep, dark drawer 3 months ago and I don’t miss it. Mind you, all of my work contacts are via email, not phone so that made it less of a problem. I had every intention of never getting another cell again… but…. now having an iPad, hum, the iPhone is starting to look good:)
On 04 19, 2011 at 02:30:27 PM, Kristina Matisic said:
This is still a challenge for me. I find that I can definitely turn it off evenings and weekends. But what I find difficult is refraining from checking it every two seconds during the “on” times. I now have set it so I have specific alerts when key people try to contact me. (Yes, you Anna!) Would love to get to the place where I only check it, and emails, a few times a day. What can I say, I’m a work in progress!