- You carry your mobile phone with you everywhere you go – even to nip down to the shops.
- You panic when you realise you've left your phone at home / forgotten to charge it / run out of credit.
- You answer the phone when you are driving even though you know it’s against the law.
- You excuse yourself in the middle of a face-to-face conversation to answer a call.
- You get out of the shower and run dripping to answer the phone.
- You’re on your way out the front door, the phone rings and you race back inside to answer it or you’re just arriving home and hear the phone ringing inside so you panic and fumble for the keys to get inside and answer it before it stops.
- You answer a knock at the door even when you’re home sick from work and wearing your daggiest pyjamas.
- You check your home emails and social networking sites more than once a day.
- You feel you have to read and respond to your emails and posts immediately.
- You feel guilty if you don’t forward those cute emails that say ‘Forward to X amount of friends including the sender.’
Hmmm… don’t worry – you’re not alone. It seems that we have become victims of the instant communication epidemic. Why do we feel this need to be plugged in and switched on 24/7? While it’s an advantage to know that you can contact others or be contacted in an emergency, who really wants to be that available to everyone all the time?
Think back (if you’re over thirty or so) to a simpler time when there was no internet – that meant no social networking, no email and no blogging. The only phone you had was plugged into the wall at home and if it rang when you weren't home – well, that was just too bad. No one ever complained if you weren't there to answer it. It took two days for mail to reach your letterbox and another two days for them to receive your reply.
……and yet we managed fine.
But somehow I think the convenience of instant communication has made us all a little bit paranoid – and a lot more stressed. I've actually been scolded for not answering my phone for a whole day! Crazy!
So let me break the news to you…….you don’t have to be contactable 24/7. You don’t have to answer your phone just because it rings, and you don’t have to apologise to anyone for it.
We are entitled to our down time. We should occasionally – for our health, well-being and sanity – switch off, tune out, unplug.
That person knocking on the door can leave a note. The caller can leave a message and you can block anyone you don’t want to hear from. You can assign separate ringtones for each person in your contact list, so you don't have to fumble for your phone to know who is calling.
You can apply for an unlisted number for your land-line. You can ask friends and family to red flag any emails that are particularly urgent and create a ‘read later’ file for those that aren’t. If you are bombarded with those cute or funny emails (you know the ones) at work you can forward them to your home email to read at your leisure.
You may even experience withdrawal symptoms as you implement some of these changes, but you know it’s for your own good - and trust me - it gets easier.