Create Mobile switch-off hours

A few days back I saw a family of four having dinner at a restaurant. Each of them was on their mobile. The father perhaps spoke to some business client, mother to a friend, daughter constantly wrote SMSs and the son played games.  I wonder why they were there together if each of them had to communicate with someone else.

I can recall another incident. Someone met me as he wanted advice on his career.  We could not talk as his mobile phone rang consistently and interrupted our communication. It is not surprising that we did not find any worthwhile solution. And, it tested my patience to its limits.

I successfully resisted having a mobile phone for long till I was handed over one by the office one day. I keep it but use it rarely. I even forget to take it with me at times. And, it does not affect me adversely in any way.

Smart phones have more to offer and more to keep their owner engaged. Over 200 million people access Facebook through their mobile phone.  Facebook claims to have 845 million users at the end of 2011 globally. Nearly 48% of 18-34 year olds check Facebook when they wake up, with 28% doing so before even getting out of bed. I am all of the benefits of this communication tool but its excessive usage worries me.

We need to be disciplined while using our mobile phones. I like what some one once told me. He said he uses his phone like a television. He switches it on when he wants and switches it off when he is done with it. This is a great advice.

Being preoccupied is one of the reasons for poor listening and mobile phone seems to be doing just that.  The concept of ‘noise’ as a barrier in effective communication emerged through telephonic communication. No one, however, would imagine that the source of this great discovery would one day become a barrier itself.

It will be useful to develop the habit of switching off our mobile phones from time to time. If switching off is not an option for some, they must find another ways to give themselves some time off it. It will help us focus better and make you a good listener. Finally, please do remember to switch off your phone when you are with family and friends. Listen to each other and talk to them.

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5 Responses to Create Mobile switch-off hours

  1. vibha says:

    Thanks alot Afsir for this very useful post. I recollect how well you have attended to family, work, friends etc. without a mobile phone, that too living in a metro ! I always give your example when I am doing my workshops on being fully present. Well, mobile phones are meant to serve us and instead we become its servant by running to pick it up even at a single beep. The advise of using it like a TV is very valuable.

  2. M N Afaque says:

    “using mobile phone like TV is a wonderful idea”. I did it yesterday and found myself quite relaxed and de-stress.

    I read in a newspaper few days back about Mr Nasiruddin (actor) who went for vacation with his wife and both decided to keep their mobile phone switch off and only turn it on, if they are in some need or trouble. He quoted “i carry my mobile for my convenience not for others”.
    I hope they had great, quality and peaceful time together.

    Thanks for reinstating the thought.

  3. Indrani says:

    Judicious use of mobile phones is very important. Mobile phones have improved accessibility and removed barriers of distance. However, excessive dependence on mobiles is also very rampant. This is something we can control ourselves. Moderation is the key. While I would not favour switching off mobiles we can put the mobile on silent mode or activate voice mail so that we can look at the calls and messages received at leisure and not while while driving, attending meetings or spending time with family. The choice lies with us.

  4. M N Afaque says:

    TOI, Bhopal- 21 March

    Shun mobiles for an evening a week, be happy – A new study at Harvard Business School, found that “time Off” exercises can even help improve a person’s performance at work. They coined the term PTO ” predictable time off”.

    very interesting, so felt to share

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