While on holiday recently, my phone battery was running low, and I asked my husband if he could please pass me my charger. He laughed and said "Babe, all you do on holidays is search for WiFi and charge your phone". I laughed in response, rolling my eyes in my head and thinking "But I've barely been with phone or WiFi for the past two days. And I haven't even posted on Instagram *straight face*."
It reminded me of this draft post that had been in notes for a few months but I never completed. At the time when I had written the first words, the inspiration had again come from my husband! Let me share what happened.
On a very fine Sunday, a few minutes after waking up and indulging in a little bit of turning, stretching and yawning, I finally whipped out my phone to check out what my daily devotional had to say. Interestingly, in relation to a brief note about the presence of God, it went on to give a task of the day in these words "Each time you pick up your phone today, let that remind you of the presence of God". It wasn't something new and you'll recall I spoke about something similar in this post on prayer.
And it's something I'd tried to practice sometimes.
So, I was therefore surprised when I heard an overly familiar laughter behind me, and then he went on to say "Hahahaha, that means you'll be aware of the presence of God the whole day". I didn't even know my husband was awake, talk less of peeking over my shoulder and reading my devotional.
But that's okay. That wasn't what made me roll my eyes. Rather it was the slight shade that I was almost always on my phone! I countered him by saying "yes, I'll be aware of God all day, but not because I'll be on my phone. I'm not always on my phone babe."
Can we see the trend here? Someone obviously thinks I spend a bit of time on my phone. And you know what they say about you not seeing the speck in your own eye but the log in others. Many times only people can point out your bad habits. Since then, I've tried to consciously be aware of my bad phone habits and seek to improve. Although I console myself nonetheless and believe that even if I do spend a bit of time on my phone, it's because I'm constantly writing down blog posts and inspiration!
Truth is, it's hard to be without a smart phone these days. And we can't throw out the baby with the bath water. So let's see what some of these bad habits are, and how we all can improve. While some are really terrible, others are much lighter.
1. Reaching for our phones first thing in the morning
Why on earth do we even do this? I don't remember grabbing my phone first thing in the morning when I used one of those non-smart phones that could only send text messages. Do we really think that in the eight hours or less that we've slept, the world has changed that we need to catch up as quickly as we can?
Or we simply want to see what we've missed on Instagram & Twitter. I (and experts) really do believe this bad habit hinders your day. Many times we spend a good amount of time, simply being on the phone. It saps away all of the energy & drive we should have woken up with! Try keeping the phone away from your bed before you sleep off, and resolving to do a bit of work before you check your phones. This could be praying, reading a book, working out or anything else that's way more productive!
2. Constantly refreshing social media icons (i.e. Addiction to social media!)
This probably deserves a post on its own and I've recently come across a number of articles where people have addressed their addiction to social media and the need to constantly check their notifications (even when there's no outstanding notification!).
Some have suggested simply going cold turkey and deleting the apps, others turn of the notification alerts, while others download apps that show them just how much time they spend on these platforms. This realisation often leads to the desire to cut down. Whatever way we choose to approach it, it's important that we consciously curb this addiction and rather try to engage in other meaningful activities.
3. Using Phones while Driving! (Or walking)
Don't. Simply don't. It really takes less than a split second for disaster to happen. I have a scar on my forehead from a bike accident I had about seven years ago, which could have been averted if I wasn't walking and texting. But that's a story for another day.
4. Taking pictures or videos of everything!
I know. I get it. We want to capture the moment. And nothing's wrong with that. But it gets rather counter productive when in trying to capture the moment, we don't actually live in the moment. Some people whip out their phone at e-v-e-r-y opportunity. Trying to get the perfect photo or video for the 'gram or for the snap! I think we should consciously try to live in the moment and pictures/videos should be tiny reminders of how great that moment was and not reminders of how we really failed to live in that moment.
5. Replacing verbal communications with texting.
Texting is great. Whatsapp is probably even better. I mean, we love to include emojis in every sentence. And send LOLs and LMAOs even when our faces remain straight. But, are we now guilty of replacing verbal communication with texts?
I was speaking to a friend recently and she mentioned how she was looking forward to a first date with someone she had been 'speaking' to. "I wonder what he's really like and how the conversation will be", she said. "Oh surely there shouldn't be much surprises", I replied. "You both have been speaking for over 6 months". And then she said "we've only been texting. Never actually spoke on the phone!". In my mind, I'm thinking "so you don't actually know what his voice sounds like...he could creep up behind us right now speaking so loudly and you wouldn't have a clue!". I think texting can't take the place of speaking and we shouldn't want it to.
Pick up the phones and call. There's something warming about hearing the voice of family and friends on the phone.
6. Using the phones on the meal tables
This really isn't the best etiquette. It's slightly permissible to check occasionally, but being with our phones for the most part of the meal comes off as anti-social! And I've been previously accused of this before by my colleagues at work, as I often try to maximise my lunch time and write blog posts or reply and send emails. But then the rest of the table may think I'm not interested in the conversation. So now, I make a conscious effort to be fully present during meals. And you should too.
7. Not Charging our phones
I might be the only one guilty of this, so maybe I'm including it for my own sake. The essence of having a phone, is so that you're reachable. But if it's never charged, you might as well be without one! It's the reason why I'm often asking for chargers at work and when I'm out. Investing in a power bank or two is also helpful for occasions when you may not have access to direct power supply.
8. Not saving peoples' contact details
You know that awkwardness when someone calls you and for the life of you, you cannot remember who it is - but they speak to you in such a familiar way. You try to carry on the conversation, hoping you'd suddenly remember who they are. Well, that happened to me a lot!
And that's because I hardly saved people's phone number. For the longest time I didn't even have Tee's number on my phone. I mean, I knew it off hand so? But it's really good practice to save numbers. And to save them well. With full (or recognisable) names. It avoids that awkwardness. It prevents you scrolling through your entire chain of text messages trying to figure out the one message they sent to you. And much more importantly, it can be useful in an emergency. If you have a home number or alternate phone number, these should be saved as well.
9. Shouting while speaking on the phone
No, you're not allowed to. Except you're a 100% sure you're alone, and no one is likely to bump into that space. Or except the person you're speaking to at the other end, has some form of hearing difficulty. If not, the entire world need not know who you're speaking to and what your conversation is about!
10. Not responding to (social media) messages
It's interesting how surprised people seem when I reply my direct messages on Twitter & Instagram. In my mind, I'm thinking "why wouldn't I? I'm not famous now". But apparently some people simply ignore their messages.
It's understandable if you get hundreds of messages as that can be an administrative nightmare. Or if you get messages with no substance! But if you get the trickles here and there with people genuinely reaching out to you for information or guidance, don't ignore these. You wouldn't want your own DM ignored would you?
11. Using phones in Church & not having them on silent
I generally do not use my phone in church. Although sometimes towards the tail end and during the (long) announcements, it gets tempting to while away time by being on the phone. But I try to restrain myself until everything is over. What could be that important?
But some people are very active users of their phone in church. While some claim to use it to read an e-bible or record the sermon, others simply check messages, receive phone calls and use social media as normal. If you attend church with the intention of spending time with God, personally I think using phones (especially as the latter set of people) is a no. Let's ensure our phones are also on silent at such times, so as not to disturb other persons.
There might be a few others way down the scale, like excessive use of emojis, responding to long messages with just 'k' (this is really annoying!) using short form abbreviations 'dat hut d eyez' or sending unlimited broadcast messages!
But let me hear from you. What phone bad habits are you guilty of (and how are you trying to quit!). What do others do that drive you absolutely nuts.... (you should send this post to them!). Share share!