It started out with good intentions. Using technology as an enabler of my flexible lifestyle motivated by a desire to be a present parent, but slowly it spiralled into a binge habit and I’m ready to reestablish some ground rules in 2018.
My first phone was a Nokia, with a lime green case. I was 18 and it was one of the few times I was totally fine my parents combined by birthday and Christmas gifts (a no no for most Christmas babies). I unwrapped it and squealed with excitement. Dad installed the sim card and gave me the 101. I was on the family plan, $100 worth of text and calls included (this was pre data days!). I started furiously texting all of my friends, phone for Christmas!!!!! Wooooo!!!! The next few weeks are a dopamine drenched blur of fervent furious excitable 4-13 word text messages “hey how r u?”, “Wat u doin?”, “where we going out?”, “predrinks at mine 6pm”… “ur hot, I like u” a few weeks later my very first mobile bill arrived, by forklift as dad likes to remind me. It was $1200. Whoops! So my plan was cancelled and I was put on prepaid until I started my first real job out of university (I made sure part of my salary negotiation was a mobile plan…).
My first phone with a camera was a bit of fun. Suddenly I could take photos and share them with my sister or mum in Melbourne, quite exciting to receive a 2x2cm glimpse of my favourite humans and what they were up to. MMS charges suddenly surged on my phone, my bill doubled in a matter of days, I was able to justify the costs for the emotion and value I received from the pictures though. Funny the things we can justify when the value exchange is strong.
Fast forward to my first iPhone, I was living in rose bay, Sydney. I downloaded my first game: airport and spent hours on end sequencing planes and passengers, then I found smurfs, farming and of course Facebook and Instagram. Thankfully by this stage there were data plans and for the first time in a long time, my mobile bill was a standard charge each month.
Regardless of cost, the value exchange, the excitement, the dopamine for every like, click, share, read, upload, download and stream continued to flow.
When you have kids, you’re suddenly thrown into a world of sleep deprived Wonder. Capturing moments is a quest and adventure to look back on how much they change every single day. I think iPhones are a blessing and a curse for parents. There’s nothing quite like scrolling back through the 33,456 photos and videos you’ve captured of your precious little human at 3:21am when you’re wide awake because your body clock is so fragmented after years of bed hopping, night feeds and interrupted sleep. The dopamine hit you get from sharing one of those cute pics of your kid or that hilarious meme that made you snort out loud at 3:51am when you were scrolling through Facebook after you were done with the trip down memory lane in your photo app.
But when is it really a problem? How many extra 10GB a month at $10 a pop is too many? How many minutes a day on your phone is too much? How much time looking down at the glistening and illustrious screen instead of looking into the glimmering eyes of our loved ones or into the ink of a really soul enriching book are we missing?
I try really hard to live a conscious and wondrous life. I’m constantly looking for ways to live better, be better, at work and in life. I’m obsessed with hacking my productivity, increasing levels of happiness and excitement and wonder, but in the last few months the lines have started to blur. Working from home and from anywhere has stopped being about freedom and has become working from everywhere and always, I’ve misplaced my off switch.
My name is Sarah and I have worked out that I am a technology addict. I’m spending too much time on technology. I’m not using it to extend my reach or enrich my life, I’m using it in an unconscious and prolific rather than conscious and profound sort of way. So in 2018 I’m going to experiment with some new devices, new ways of working and new ways of hacking my own productivity so I can put down the device more and squeeze more books, more sunsets, more instagrammable food (without the pic) and more Wonder moments into my Wonder life.
Stay tuned for my tips as I work out how to curb my addiction… I’ll be still online, this isn’t a cold turkey delete Facebook and Instagram sort of thing, it’s just a techaddict trying to work out the best way to manage in this hyper connected world we live in!