Rachael Fish is a senior recruitment consultant at Badenoch & Clark.
A fully paid up member of the smartphone generation, BusinessCloud challenged Rachael to keep a diary of her handset usage for a few days and then live without her phone for a week.
The results may astound you.
Starting to get a niggling twinge at the bottom of my tummy, something like when I knew I was going to try and stop smoking the next day. Why am I worried about not using my smartphone?
I spend a little time trying to talk myself down from a ledge and get off to sleep.
Open my eyes and quickly remind myself not to check Facebook, BBC News, LinkedIn, Barclays or my emails. Instead, I put some music on, get Tom some orange juice, get ready and jump in the car. I giggle at the mornings events on the radio.
Start the walk from the car park to work, which is when I normally play on my phone to keep me occupied.
Start to notice the buildings around me taking shape. Realise I haven’t even noticed that the Lawn Club has gone, or the size of the new Number 1 Spinningfields. It’s massive!
Get to work and even before my coffee, I’m in a pretty upbeat mood. Lunch time comes and I’ve been that busy and motivated, I’ve not even noticed that I’m without my social media fix.
At home, Tom makes tea and I sit on the kitchen counter and we talk about our day. I’ve done a lot of smiling today… hmmmm.
Almost forget that I’m abstaining from my smartphone addition but realise just as I’m about to break my promise.
Jump in the car and I’m on the road most of the day. Hit traffic and curse the fact that I can’t use the traffic app Waze. Contemplate giving in, then decide to call my mum for directions as she knows this area better than most.
On the way back, I come the same way and realise I know it from memory… this hasn’t happened for a while.
Get home and can’t wait to get on my laptop and check my Facebook and emails. Log on and realise I’ve got 17 personal emails, 34 work related and over a hundred junk. Finish reading the emails and put my laptop down.
Realise I’ve been sleeping better the last few nights, feel quite refreshed this morning.
The majority of my day is spent in client meetings or on the phone to candidates and I’m loving the interaction. I definitely appreciate the benefits of social media, but nothing can replace personal interaction, eye contact and body language.
At home, Tom and I have decided already that not spending as much time on our phones has improved our quality time in the evenings and agree to put a ban on phones altogether on Friday nights.
Get up and I’m already realising that I’m not reaching straight for my phone when I wake up.
Without doubt, I’m in a better mood when I get to work. I’m not poring over the bad news in the press before my brain is fully awake, worrying about money in the bank or my second cousin’s bad week… it’s just me and I’m organising my work day, coming up with some creative ideas and even planning surprise getaways for me and Tom.
OK, so I’m not saying that this week was easy, but it’s taught me a lot. Firstly, I will never go straight for my phone in the morning, I like to wake up and organise my own thoughts.
Secondly, the less we sit on our phones, the better the relationships around us become. I listen to people and hear the entire conversation instead of only half of it. My mum was the first to comment on the benefits of this!
Tom and I noticed at dinner, that every single table for two had a couple sat playing with their phones for a large portion of the evening, not even interacting with each other, just grunting the odd few words and eating their food.
That was once us, but not anymore. I am resolved to ban phones in my life, not just on Friday nights, but at any meal or night out with clients, friends or family.
This week, I have slept better, had some amazing conversations and debates with Tom, made my mum proud and generally been a happier person.
Will I use my smartphone next week? Yes, of course, if only for Waze to get me through the traffic, but will it’s not glued to my hand every single minute of the day.
Rachael’s top tips:
1. Try not to use your phone for the first hour of the day;
2. Focus on the people you’re with at meals and leave the phone in your pocket;
3. Implement the Friday night ban on phones at home.