I was in a business meeting a couple weeks ago with several bankers. We all have company Blackberries, but we all know (or should know) how rude it is to check messages/emails/missed calls when you should be listening to a presenter. Personally, I find it very rude to play with a smart phone when someone is expecting or asking for your undivided attention, however, when a meeting is completely BORING, I do get the urge to check on what else I could be doing.
In this particular meeting, though, I resisted checking my Blackberry during “meeting time.” However, I expected short breaks throughout the meeting (the meeting was scheduled to last for four hours) to grab some water, take a trip to the restroom, and of course, check my messages.
The first break came right on time-about an hour and a half into the meeting. The participants (including myself) were able to stretch our legs, run to the potty, grab a drink, and of course, check messages. When the meeting resumed, the second break didn’t come for another two and a half hours, and I thought I was going to die! Not because I needed another restroom break, and not even because I was hungry (which I was, but I could deal with it). It was because I couldn’t check my messages!
All morning, I had been tortured-listening to the vibration of my cell phone in my purse, wondering who was calling, who was leaving a voice message. I wondered how many emails I had in my inbox for the day. When the second break (for lunch) came around, I realized that I had a serious problem. I “needed” to check my messages at least 30 minutes prior to the break time. I realized at that point that about two hours is the maximum amount of time I can go without checking my smart phone.
No one should be that addicted to their smart phone. Providing an immediate response to calls, emails, and other instant messaging is unnecessary.
It is true the technological advances we enjoy today are very helpful. However, just because we have the ability to instantly receive information and communication doesn’t mean that we should. Waiting a few hours before responding to an email or other type of message is sometimes necessary. As a matter of fact, it is sometimes better to wait than to respond immediately. Waiting allows you to better gather your thoughts, and provide a more thoughtful response-a better response than just a knee-jerk reaction.
I realize my smart phone addiction-my need to check the phone at every possible interval that I can, the need to intentionally pull it out of my purse for review right before I go to bed. This is not healthy for me, nor is it necessary. Many professionals are starting to realize this now, and are choosing to put down their phones (at least some of the time). I am now aware of my addiction and will join that movement.
How bad is your smart phone addiction?