They are everywhere

Where is your phone? In your pocket? A handbag? On a table in front of you? Or in your hand reading this article? Another question: How many phones do you have?

A lot of Nigerians have more than one phone. The logic seems to be use your smartphone for social media and have a dumb phone for use as a backup. Wherever you go today, you are likely to see someone happily pressing away at their phone’s screen. It’s no longer uncommon to see two people on a “date” busy typing away at their phones, completely ignoring each other.

A sea of phones
You can have too much of the good thing

Phones are here to stay. Manufacturers keep getting smarter about how your phones demand your attention. They fit into a pocket so you can carry them everywhere. They make loud noises so you can hear them even in an overcrowded bus. They have flashing lights that let you know you have a message. It could be a message from your friend, email from work, an emergency, an advertisement or even a credit alert from your bank. The only way to find out is to check.

The problem with modern day phones is they demand too much attention. People eagerly wake up, reach out for their phones and start reading messages they received overnight. They also reply messages under the table while they are supposed to be in a meeting or attending an event. Yet many will agree their phones might be taking too much of their time and attention. How many times have you taken your phone with you to the bathroom?

A smartphone screen showing social media icons
Each one is a potential source of incoming messages

The only people who get paid to handle phone calls are receptionists, front desk officers and customer service representatives. If you are not one of these people, then you need to start sorting your activities into those that require a phone and those which do not. Writing a report probably doesn’t need a phone. Turn off mobile data, put your phone on silent, throw it into a drawer and get to work on that report. You will finish it faster and can get back to reading all those group messages.

As I wrote this article, my phone was on silent in my pocket. After the last fullstop, I will check to see if anyone called me. Chances are pretty good no one did. Even if they did, it’s highly unlikely to be an emergency.

2 thoughts on “They are everywhere

    1. It’s good to keep in mind smartphones are tools and decide how best to deploy them. It starts with a conscious choice to not let them become a distraction from the things that matter.

      Like

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