So, we failed miserably at the challenge!!! Shockingly unsuccesfully embarrassingly so in the effort to extract ourselves from our phones for one measly week. Shameful behavior by two mature ladies who should no better. Especially after getting the reports re our outrageous screen time hours!!
We made the lame excuses, life happened, shopping happened,work, family etc……..we will do it next week….. But it never happened because we have both become totally entrapped by our phones. We are addicted to the net and all that it brings (shopping….. mostly shopping to be fair)
Our phones are part of our daily lives they have made themselves as invaluable to use as an extra limb. Our phones contain our contacts, our emails, our messages, photographs, videos of special moments, books we’ve downloaded, programmes and films we’ve promised ourselves we will watch. Apps for everything, calendars, voice notes, spreadsheets, banking, apps that tell us what to eat, what to wear, how many steps we have done, how much sleep we have had, how fat you are, what Dave at number 4 really does for a living (that is not an app just blatant nosiness)….. the list goes on. The phone and all its temptations is now sadly something we literally cannot live without.
On one hand we lurvve our phones, we can shop at any point during the day, set alarms so you don’t forget things (we forget our own name these days). We can take pics of things that inspire us, things we find beautiful etc. We have music to hand and can download new tunes in a second( Sharkeys is mostly Rap she thinks she’s Cardi B but shes more cardigan these days). I can research a new product in moments and can produce a quick mood board in the blink of an eye to help a client visualize an idea and its all on this one little device.
Just trying to distance ourselves from our phones made us anxious. What if we missed something …Yet apart from an urgent call what on earth cannot wait an hour or two. How on earth did we ever go away without a mobile? How fabulous it was to completely disappear apart from a couple of mins on a call box to say you were OK and you got there safe. The joy of totally immersing ourselves in the holiday, of totally relaxing, of having no contact with family, friends and especially work was often totally liberating. You came home glad to see people you had genuinely missed them, and you were ready to attack work again because you had time to rebuild, regroup, gather some steam, gain some inspiration and look at things with fresh eyes.
At no point in life are we now unobtainable, at no point can we go off grid and miss a call without seeming ignorant or rude when really, we just needed a little break!
The High Street
Have we got so used to this instantaneous online life, this life where we can see something order it and receive it the next day. Call up a product, find the cheapest price with the quickest delivery and voila, but at what cost? With a reported 14 shops closing everyday in the UK is this the price we are paying for convenience.
The cost to small businesses on the high street has got to be one, most are now moving to websites and online orders but where is the future of the beautiful boutique, the quirky retailer, the specialist shops. The ones who produce a whole shopping experience and go that extra mile with their face to face service. Building a rapport with a client who then returns again and again. The more we come to rely on online purchases will this then be the end of the high street as we know it. We are already seeing some of the bigger shopping empires begin to crumble and start to close branches, we are even sadly seeing the loss of the iconic Kendal’s in Manchester. A big part of my youth was spent wandering down its glamorous aisles, losing myself to the delicious and exotic smells, The sights of the immaculate painted faces on the cosmetic counters and the dazzling displays of beautiful luxury goods. There was nothing quite like a glimpse of the magical and stylish festive windows and a wander through Kendal’s halls to put you in the Christmas spirit, its demise is a great loss to all Mancunians and visitors alike.
Will Losing the retail shops also has a knock-on effect for the cafes cultures, the restaurants and bars those lovely little stops where you can take 5 in between a shopping spree. The ones where you have one to many and then head off to buy something totally inappropriate in a boozy haze. Will there be a detrimental effect on those businesses too if we see the disappearance of the high street and shopping as we know it?
The Insta fabulous
What we are seeing throughout these changes though is the arrival of new entrepreneurs, the creatives, the crafters and the ingenious. The rise of the Instagram shops. The click and buy experience but with the money going to hard-working little businesses who have jumped on our instant culture and are making hay whilst the sunshine’s. The fabulous and the entertaining individuals who use all sorts of fabulous marketing strategies to draw us in, to make us choose and purchase their goods.
What we need to think about is, is this instant buying much quicker or are we taking up more of our precious time? I used to go shopping a couple of times a month in my younger days I had favorite shops that I knew would always have something I liked. Now I can spend many hours in the evening looking through the millions of shops on the internet wasting precious time. Time that could be invested much more importantly elsewhere.
Wasting Precious Time
How may hours do you spend perusing the internet, shopping, watching videos, scrolling through social media, our screen time report was the whole reason we tried this challenge. Absolutely hideous the amount of time we spend looking at a screen for let’s be honest not always constructive things, not always things that will bring any richness to our lives. Precious time that could be spent walking or playing with our children or grandchildren, special times building relationships face to face times with friends. What is the actual cost to us as human beings, to our children as forming adults, to our society in general. We as the adults, as the parents, the caregivers, people that those children look up to, are we failing to set anything but a bad example?. Are we showing them that our screens are more interesting than them, that our phones are more important, more deserving of our time.
Anxiety and Mental Health
We covered the anxiety that comes with social media in a previous blog. What about the anxiety caused by the fact of being at one with your phone. How easy is it to quieten your child with your phone? Plugging them in for a while so you can have a little peace and adult conversation. But at what price to a young developing brain that learns from engaging with others? I Duff have stopped my son going on any games on an iPad or phone for more than very small periods. I can quickly see how his mood changes; how aggressive and hyper he can become in a very short space of time. I prefer him to be outdoors, to play climb run cycle his way through life. But then i also don’t want him to have no access to the gaming world, as he then becomes THAT kid! The one who has no idea what his classmates are talking about, he becomes the odd one out. So, a balance is required and as we all know balance is something that’s very hard to achieve.
How anxious does being contactable for work 24/7 make you, to be constantly bombarded with messages, phone calls and emails? Where is the downtime?
Promise for The New Year
Sharkey and I have made plans and a promise to ourselves, that when purchasing Christmas presents this year, we will try to shop on line only with small businesses or to shop locally on the high street. Every little helps peeps!
From the beginning of next year, I Duff am going back to a hand-written diary(Sharkey already does this. I will be disconnecting my emails from my phone and leaving them on my laptop that way my time on them will be limited to working hours. I will then be free from their intrusion at weekends and evenings. I will be deleting my personal social media accounts and just retaining my business ones. I endeavor to see more friends rather than watching them from a distance. I am going to invest in a small camera, so I can go to events without my phone stuck to me and still record some moments. I will buy books in paper back when possible and I will be leaving my phone downstairs at night. Hopefully I will recover some time again and let’s face it I’m getting on a bit I need all the time I can get!
To those who limit their screen time, to those who shop locally, avoid social media and manage to frequently go about your lives without their phones we salute you! In fact, we are in total awe of you.
If we don’t stick to our promises, we will have you lot to answer too as its here in black and white!!
If you too are going to make changes to your screen time let us know what changes and how you go on, we would really love to hear from you!!
Love Sharkey & Duff xxxx