Smarter Than Your Phone

"OK, now you've gone too far, Steve!"

As I embark on this "sacred topic," where I dare to suggest that we practice turning off our smartphones, even leaving them at home, I know all too well that some responses might include, "No!" "Never!" and "For a guy who wrote a book on change, you need to embrace technology!"

However, in the interest of bringing more peace and harmony into our stressed-out world, here are eight reasons to outsmart your smartphone and shut it down or to leave it at home. This is all based on research, but, more importantly, it is based on common sense.
  1. Feel less depressed  
    For many people, smartphones are a source of continuous communication and messaging. The more the communication is reinforced, the more depressing it is when we feel as though people have forgotten us. In fact, far too many people feel a sense of not belonging when they are not constantly reinforced by texts and email. Many otherwise rational folks believe a virtual digital world can make us happy in the real world.
  2. More productive meetings  
    Not long ago, a friend told me of a rather bizarre meeting called by a manager in her company. The meeting was unnecessary and was on a Friday afternoon, no less. The manager is someone known to be addicted to her smartphone. The department assembled around the meeting room table, and the manager spent about 25 minutes of the 30-minute meeting on her phone snickering at her messages! Finally, another manager (very fed up) piped up and said: "Emily, you called this meeting for a reason, didn't you? Why are we here?" Emily put her phone down, asked a few questions, and the meeting was over in less than five minutes. Smartphones make for poor meeting companions.
  3. Reduce anxiety in your life  
    Research has shown that constant smartphone usage actually raises anxiety rather than lowering it, and for students, like it or not, constant smartphone use among high school and college lowers GPAs. Turn off your smartphone for two hours and focus on the task at hand.
  4. Celebrate your relationships!  
    Smartphones are "fueled" by continuous content. There is no end to what we can see, do and react to. Unfortunately, while the digital world is infinite, our lives are finite. When we get together with dear friends, we should understand those moments are precious and irreplaceable. We won't remember that we shared a viral video of a cat and her duckling kittens; we will remember a conversation with a dear friend. We have all seen couples during dinner stare aimlessly at their smartphones instead of talking to each other.

  5. Decide what's important  
    This is not a new thought, but it's essential to keep focused on your priorities and responsibilities. Gathering resources for a critical project may take a back seat to the fact that your favorite sports team is about to trade for a player you don't like. When we lose our sense of priorities, we lose a sense of what is important in our careers, households, schools and even religious observances.

  6. Sleep soundly  
    More and more of us, not just Millennials (as is commonly thought), are sleeping within a foot or two of our smartphones. Instead of our brains calming down and resting, many of us are checking for text messages and emails in the middle of the night. Psychologists and physicians have substantiated that this is quite harmful. We need mental and physical down time. Parents, it is your responsibility to control such habits in young children. Consequently, lead by example!
  7. Correctly multi-task  
    Research is proving something that is often misunderstood. We don't multi-task very well. The brain can switch rapidly from one thing to another; however, the tendency is to be preoccupied and distracted. It is why texting and driving is so dangerous and why jobs with a high level of risk do not permit cell phone usage.

  8. Be considerate  
    The trend of smartphone intrusiveness is affecting movie theater attendance, fine dining, church services and, amazingly, funeral services. There is no reason to use a smartphone at a funeral unless you're addicted. It's OK to leave it at home. In fact, it's appreciated.
Am I anti-smartphone? Absolutely not! However, I well understand that what is real and treasured is far more important than what is digital and fleeting. The greatest moments in my life have been the moments of being with those I love, in real-time and with real emotion. Those moments are irreplaceable. When you finally have the courage to limit your smartphone usage, your family and friends will soon realize that you are not connected to your phone as much and will begin to contact you only when a response is necessary. Even then they will begin to realize the manner in which you "roll" and find other ways to communicate. How do I know? Just ask my family and friends. When it comes to technology, I value its importance for what it helps me accomplish professionally. However, the greatest joy in my life is when I turn off my phone to recharge myself. Life is short. Enjoy The Ride!


Steve's October 2017 Schedule


Sioux Falls, SD
Beaver Creek, CO
Richmond, VA
Deadwood, SD
Deadwood, SD
St. Petersburg Beach, FL
Pittsburgh, PA
Atlantic City, NJ
Ahoskie, NC
Wichita, KS
San Antonio, TX
Redding, CA
Wilmington, DE
Orlando, FL