Everything in Moderation  —  Even Your Cell Phone

Is there anything more frustrating than having a conversation with someone only to realize he’s been staring at his phone the entire time you’ve been speaking? How can you convince him that it’s clearly Thin Mints that take the cake (or should I say cookie?) in the great Girl Scout Cookie debate if he’s spot-checking Snapchat during our entire conversation?

Many of us hear the same thing over and over, especially from our elders: “You’re always on your phone.” So why don’t we take a hint? Why does this make us mad rather than introspective?

Well, we have a tiny, hand-held, rectangular object that contains unrestricted and highly addictive access to all the information in the world, that’s why.

I personally find that in moments of quiet I immediately reach for my phone to fill the space. The first thing I do when a commercial comes on is scroll through social media. During a meal alone I often sit at the table armed with a fork in my right hand and my phone in my left. I even check my Instagram each morning while brushing my teeth until the toothbrush stops vibrating, reminding me that my two minutes of perfectly filtered social indulgence are over.

While I may suffer severe “phoments” (phone-moments) throughout the day, I’m much like Katy Perry — hot-and-cold/yes-and-no — with my cell phone usage. I go from being so honed in on my phone that I forget there is anyone else in the room to losing my phone entirely for hours at a time. Several friends of mine have called me out on my poor texting etiquette, sometimes taking several days to respond to a single conversation.

Not only can staring at your phone be bad for your health, it can also hurt your relationships — including your work relationships. Rosemary Haefner, Chief Human Resources Officer at CareerBuilder expresses her views on the effect of social media and connectivity in the workplace:

“While we need to be connected to devices for work, we’re also a click away from alluring distractions from our personal lives like social media and various other apps. The connectivity conundrum isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it needs to be managed”

Haefner recommends that managers keep an open dialogue with employees regarding technological distractions rather than ignoring the existing challenges.

Though the time for New Years Resolutions is over and, in my case, totally ignored, I’m using the change in weather as a motivation to practice what I will refer to as “responsible usage.” This will include strictly using my cell phone for work purposes while at work, keeping it off the dinner table, and making sure to leave it on the dresser when I’m getting into bed at night. If you feel like you may also have a slight cell phone addiction, take this quizto find out. My results indicate I have “mild nomophobia,” and I’m going to spend the next several months breaking my bad habits. I hope you will join me!

Jenna is an Associate at 113 Industries, specializing in Consumer Insights. Her biggest mistake recently has been memorizing her credit card number, increasing her cell phone usage exponentially.