May 29, 2013

My Phone. My Rules.

I don't like Mobile Phones. Mobile Phone might be single biggest annoying device for introverts like me, ever invented. Life was simpler when I didn't have a phone. But now it has become something that I can't avoid. 

BTW for those uninitiated, I have switched for X2-01 to MMX A89 !

I don't talk to a lot of people on phone during the course of my day. But still I end up attending at least a dozen phone calls from the time I wake up and till I go to bed (and sometimes even later). And this adds to the stress of working under pressure for long hours, travelling long distances daily, sleeping for less than 7 hours etc. No wonder I feel like a zombie on weekends!

I am not sure if I suffer from ADHD but I do have a short attention span. And having such an enticing device only worsens the condition. We all know how we get hooked to a social network and then become so addicted to it that we have to check it every now and then, mostly unconsciously. Phone is far more dangerous in that department. Sitting in your pocket it contains all the social networks that you "Love" so much, it has your songs, it has your audiobooks, the ebooks that you read, your news feed, your videos and what not. And on top of that, it is device which lets hundreds of people who know you (and sometimes don't even know you) connect to you at a moment's notice, unannounced, almost whenever they wish to be. I know this is exactly why phones were invented, but, in between all this just when do you have the time to do what you love, or spend time with yourself, pay attention to the people you are with?

I also have problem talking on phones. So, I don't call people for weeks, even after promising them, sometimes don't pick up the phone because 'I don't feel like talking', or reject a call thinking I would call them later, which mostly never happens. What's worse, this happens even when my good friends or family members call me. And this is of course, inconvenient for them many times, as they might need some urgent help from me which I won't be able to provide. 

So, today through this post, I state a few rules underpinning my usage of mobile device. It's written mostly for myself, but hopefully after reading it you might get inspired to set your own rules. I also make them public so that you can point it to me if/when I break any of these rules. Because, let's face it, phone is an untamed beast which will require some strict discipline to make it work to my advantage.

1. No checking messages/emails/tweets in the morning: A good morning can have a great effect on your day. And there can't be a better start of your morning than doing something for yourself. But when checking your phone is the first thing you do in the morning you are allowing dozens of other things enter your mind, most of them useless thus taking away the precious little mental energy to do something fruitful.

2. When I am focusing on something, my phone must be switched off: How many times it has happened with me that when I am programming, reading a book, an interesting blog, really enjoying my music or a movie, the damn phone starts ringing. I have a choice to reject the call, or silence the ringer but the whole experience gets ruined due to it. 

3. No phone after 11 pm: I am Not the person who can be reached 24x7. Sorry about that. But again, if phone rings after 11 pm, when I am trying to sleep or just relaxing in general, it is a huge put-off. I can't allow that to happen.

4. No phone on Sundays (except when I am working / travelling): Sundays don't feel like Sundays anymore. I don't really remember when was the last time I had a Sunday all by myself, doing nothing but relaxing. So, Sundays must be reclaimed.

5. No checking notifications/Internet at the workstation: Workstations are meant for working, seriously. You don't want anything distracting you.

6. Internet off when not in use: Always-on Internet not only sucks out the battery from my phone, it's also a great distraction through chat notifications.

7. If I get a call, and I don't want to talk right now, then
    a) I Must still pick up the phone, 
    b) Inform the person about my inability to talk right now,
    c) Give them a definite time to call back later
    d) Actually call them at that time
I don't do any of these parts right now.

8. If I have a choice between making a call and sending a message to a person, I must call them: Right now, I use messages because I am an awkward phone conversationist. But an important part of getting better at something is to start practicing it. Also, it's quite obvious text messages/chats, as an alternative form of communication are a huge time-wasters.

9. If I have an important call to make, I do it first thing before checking off anything else from my To-Do list of the day: I repeat, I dread phone calls. But what's gotta be done, gotta be done. Call the person, keep it short and be done with it.

10. I Must answer every phone call immediately if conditions #2, #3, #4 don't apply.

If you are reading this and happen to be my friend, this is an important piece for you as well. Please do not mind, if I am not reachable at a certain point of time.  You can drop me a message if I am not available to pick up my phone, and I promise to call you as soon as possible.  

I know emergencies come and phone calls at off times are inevitable but those should be exceptions rather than the norm. We all have a right to live our life in our own ways. I am just trying to live my life, my way.