Device Addiction – Sleeping with the Blackberry

By , January 30, 2013 10:26 pm

“The world is entering a new time zone, and one of the most difficult adjustments people make is in their fundamental concepts and beliefs about the management of time.”

Dan Sullivan, The Strategic Coach

Last year I coached a client who was working through relationship challenges with her husband.  The cause was her addiction to work fuelled by an obsession with her BlackBerry. She was struggling to manage her workloads because she hadn’t set any boundaries. Work time often leaked over into her personal time (evenings and weekends). She would regularly sleep with her BlackBerry under the pillow and she’d conditioned herself to wake up during the night to check emails. This obsession put an extra strain on the marriage because her husband would wake up blinded by the light, as she

Today’s technology is amazing and really valuable:  it’s portable, flexible and easy to use and…everyone is connected!

The DANGER is that everyone is connected ALL the time!

There are many devices to help us maintain our connect-ability while going about our ‘business’: Mobile/Cell phones, laptops, BlackBerries, iPhones – to name a few!

The challenge with 24/7 connect-ability is that we can unconsciously take it literally. Some people find that their personal time is sacrificed because they feel they have to keep an eye on their inbox when they’re not working.

How do you know if you’re suffering from Device Addiction

Here are some symptoms from my own experiences and those of my clients:

  • Checking emails or texting while talking to someone.
  • Answering EVERY phone call – even if it isn’t important.
  • Constantly checking emails and texting while:
    • watching television
    • having dinner in a restaurant
    • out with friends
    • having a bath
    • playing with the kids
    • spending time with your partner
  • 98% of what you’re checking is unimportant ‘stuff’ and could wait.
  • When you hear the message alert you just have to check it!
  • When you sit down the device is always placed in front of you.
  • In meetings or workshops you use a variety of techniques to hide your device so you can check it believing that the facilitator can’t see you (…they can, you know!).
  • The thought of not having access to your device you makes you feel very uncomfortable.
  • Friends or family pass snarky comments about your relationship with your device!
  • You check your emails every time you pee!
  • You check your emails while driving.
  • Your device is usually the last thing you look at before you go to sleep.
  • If you wake up in the middle of the night you always check your device.
  • You lose all concept of time when checking your device. Checking emails for 10 minutes often haemorrhages into hours!
  • You check and answer your emails while working out at the gym.

Do you recognise any of these symptoms in your life?

One or two of these are okay. If you find that most of these are true, then you are suffering from Device Addition…

5 Ways to Kick the Habit:

1. Admit it – Recognition that you’re hooked is the first place to start. Remember that technology is our friend providing that you use it wisely and not obsessively. Knowing this can help you step back.

2. Set Boundaries – Sometimes we’re lost in the chaos of overwhelming workloads. Work leaks into our leisure time and ultimately affects our relationships and health. Schedule a start and finish time for your working day. Create and maintain your boundaries. Teach people how to treat you. If you let people know you’re available, they will contact you! Power down devices during meetings. Don’t take your laptop if you don’t need it. Get in the habit of turning it off.

3. Get an alarm clock – Use an alarm clock to wake up instead of having the device by your bed. Some of my clients have banned their BlackBerries in the bedroom. They love it!

4. Have a Device-Free Day – Allow yourself a day where you are totally free of technology. Life outside the inbox! Walk in the woods, read a book or renew your interest in a hobby. Leave the phone at work if you’re not ‘on call’.

5. Be 100% Present – Put a high value on your important relationships. One of the greatest gifts you can bestow on someone is the gift of being fully present. Fully engage with the important people in your life. Interact with them and enjoy the present moment. Seriously…Emails can wait!

What are YOU addicted to?


2 Responses to “Device Addiction – Sleeping with the Blackberry”

  1. I recognise this so much 🙂 When I had a Blackberry I got RSI in my thumb! I was in the habit of checking emails the whole evening and over the weekend, though I never got as far as doing it in the bath or waking up to check in the middle of the night! To be fair I was running a 24×7 system so was effectively permanently on call. It did have an impact on my other relationships so I’m happy to have overcome that now that I work somewhere else. Now I just have to keep the i-phone internet surfing under control 😉

  2. ElaineBailey says:

    Hi David – it’s so easy to get into this habit/obsession! Glad you’re cured and in control! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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