I have never been a really big cell phone user. But recently I noticed that I was using it a bit more than I really wanted to or was healthy.
Instead of using it with a set purpose or intention I had, on occasions, started to use it in a way that damaged my personal effectiveness and didn’t best serve my life, business and relationships.
So me, my husband and son sat down to have a family meeting on the subject.
We discussed what purpose we wanted cell phones to have in our lives, what would add value and what is unhealthy for us as individuals and as a family. We decided to set a family “contract” with the boundaries we had mutually agreed.
Here are some of those boundaries:
- No phones in bedrooms
- Phones off during family time – e.g. mealtimes, family outings, playing games etc
- Phones not to be carried around all the time – stored in a drawer when at home. Stored in car or a bag during trips out and switched off.
- Phones purely used as phones. Not for internet surfing.
- Not used for business
Being intentional about the role cell phones play in our lives has a massive impact not just on our personal effectiveness but also on the quality of our life, business and relationships. We only have to look around (and look in the mirror!) to see how much we let these devices detract from what is most important. For example:
- The negative impact chatting on the phone, texting or surfing the internet when out to spend quality time with family, friends and business contacts has on the quality of relationships.
- Parents who gush how their kids are the most important thing to them yet they spend their time at their kids clubs, sports events, concerts etc focussing on their phone instead of focussing on their kids.
- People damaging their business relationships by answering texts or the phone during a discussion.
- What about the damage being permanently connected does to things like health, stress, quality of life, wellbeing, relationships, productivity, personal effectiveness etc?
I wonder, is what is happening on peoples cell phones really more important to them than the activity they are supposed to be engaged in at that time?
To stop cell phones from negatively impacting our personal effectiveness requires two key things:
Having a clearly defined purpose and rules for their use and setting strong boundaries to enforce that.
This will help to ensure that these gadgets actually serve and add value to our effectiveness, rather than detract from it.
With that in mind, I would like to throw out these ideas to experiment with:
- Clearly define what purpose you have a cell phone for.
- Set clear, strong boundaries that will reflect that.
- Set up some sort of accountability arrangement with a friend, family member or colleague to help you set yourself up to succeed and make your new boundaries become habit.
- What action will you take to implement those boundaries? When?
The cost to your personal effectiveness of not having a clear purpose and strong boundaries around your cell phone affects all areas of your life, business and relationships.
Do you need to take more control of your usage to improve your personal effectiveness?
Have fun challenging yourself with this.
Please share your boundaries, experiences and opinions on this subject in the comments below.