Why I Bury My Cellphone in a Drawer at Night

Don't get me wrong: I don't hate technology. Quite the opposite, I've adopted and advocate the latest and greatest like most people, but I came to a realization recently that I had to detox. And I put together a list of reasons why.
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With the latest announcements of the new iPhone, and the Apple Watch, Apple has made history again. And we're all swooning -- for good reason. No doubt it's going to be amazing and blow our minds. We'll be even more connected to our things, and the technology ecosystem is destined to become a more real part of our (increasingly efficient) lives.

Could there possibly be a downside? Yes. So many people are already so hooked to their devices, they're losing out on the key moments of life. I can't count the times in conversations I've had to compete with a text, an email, or a random Facebook update, and lost. It gets old, it gets tiring, but worst of all it means we're missing key moments that matter most: connecting with people.

Sometimes we wonder why over 70 percent of people claim to be disengaged in their work (according to Gallup). The reality is we've been talking to technology so much more than connecting with other people. And the technology hasn't been loving us back.

Don't get me wrong: I don't hate technology. Quite the opposite, I've adopted and advocate the latest and greatest like most people, but I came to a realization recently that I had to detox. And I put together a list of reasons why:

It's stealing your sleep

Instead of dozing off at night you've found yourself checking that one last update -- and then in a daze hours later having robbed yourself of sleep.

It's making you unsafe

During the day, you're driving only to be tempted by the buzzing, as if someone's texts and emails were more important than preserving your life and those of everyone around you.

It's messing up your meetings

In meetings, you put it on the table, only to check it whenever you get bored, or when it buzzes even in the slightest -- while people on the other side may be seeing you as someone who doesn't care much for their presentation.

Bury It

Here's my strategy: Bury it. I started burying my cell phone in my dresser drawer at night instead of leaving it within arm's reach. I could still hear the buzzing alarm in the morning, but I would no longer be tempted by its alluring light flickers and relentless updates. And it worked.

Then I instituted a strategy that would keep me from checking it while I was driving, and thus prevent unnecessary near-death experiences. Getting in my car, I'd stick it in my glove box, or stuff it in my pocket. One day, I left it in my glove box, went inside my house, and forgot about it for four hours. After spending time with my family, I realized I didn't have my cell phone, but it was such a liberating moment to be completely unplugged for that window of time.

In meetings, I started burying it under folders or in my pocket so I could give complete attention to the people around me. And it has made all the difference.

I didn't feel as enslaved or obligated to check, check, check all the time. I had tasted true freedom and it made life way more real. I was more connected to the moments that matter most, to my wife and children, and to friends and co-workers.

The Technology Detox

Let's get back to the moments that matter most: with people, not technology. It's a big shift, since our brains have already adapted. Now it's about you and I shifting to giving people instead of products the prioritized attention they deserve. I'm sure none of us at the end of our lives is going to wish we spent more time with our gadgets, but we will definitely regret moments we missed with people, especially our loved ones.

Nothing can replace genuine listening, authentic sharing, and inspired collaboration. So, why should we let the newest sparkly device woo us away from what we know we need and others need most? Put people first.

Take the technology detox challenge for the next 7 days and bury it so you can become more engaged, more connected, and more energized in your relationships with others. Put it away at night, keep it in your pocket or purse or glove box when you're driving, and bury it under folders or in your bag during meetings.

Don't let it rob you of sleep, of your life or that of others, or of the moments that matter most with your family, friends, and co-workers. Put it in its place and bury it whenever you get the chance. Live in the moment. You won't regret it.

(Check out this video about the power of unplugging from technology)

(photo credit: Valerian Gaudeau)

Cross-posted on Linkedin

Follow Chris on Twitter @CDeaver7