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June 17, 2013

Is The Mobile Revolution Ruining Our Life Balance?


Who hasn’t woken up in the morning with a one-eye-opened-e-mail-reading-session or sat at a family dinner with their phone in their hand attempting to answer “just one last email” before putting it away? Some of us, before actually waking up and boiling the water to make ourselves a decent cup of coffee, check our emails and calendar, read some news, take a quick peek at the FB newsfeed, see what’s up on Twitter, just a glance at Instagram and a blink at Flipboard, why? Because we have all of this at a touch of a button. Mobile phones have become a necessity for life and a way of life, and without them many people would feel incomplete. The simple functionality of receiving and making calls is no longer the reason why we carry them everywhere and it is sometimes quite difficult to remember how life was before mobile phones existed.

A Flurry report based on random sample data from more than 15,000 iOS users in the U.S. has found that users are pretty much always connected to their mobile devices — even while they sleep!

Working on Mobile

Today’s business world is defined by distance: workers who are spread across a number of locations must interact with each other around the world, which pretty much means they have to be glued to their phones close to 100% of the time. The face-to-face meetings upon which business relationships have customarily been built have been replaced, due to time and cost, by conference calls and different online collaboration tools and apps. We can stay connected wherever there is wifi, which makes our work life naturally blend with everything else we do. These great little thin devices that are helping us manage our careers are really mandatory. But the thing is, that even if our jobs don’t require us to be reachable at all times, we are sentenced to use our phone even when we don’t want to, simply because our resolution between offline and online is blurring, and the thrive for success is motivating us to not put it down. We have to remember that being effective and successful also means knowing how to maintain a good balance.

Is Your Mobile Addictive?

The mobile phone is constantly giving us positive reinforcements. Whether it’s likes, followers, endorsements or retweets, whenever our phone beeps we have to check it, because the more we respond, the more people respond back to us and so we feel rewarded. How many of us have reached for our cellphone during a meeting/conversation/date , just for comfort? We find it hard to separate the mobile working mode from the social mode and the two from the offline life. A survey, conducted by telecom giant Cisco, says that nine out of every 10 people -aged under 30 -suffer from “Nomophobia”, the fear of having no mobile phones. We are bringing ourselves to a point where our phone is an essential part of our lives. It gives us everything we need – orientation, communication, collaboration, documentation and we are slowly forgetting how we used to do it all before we had it in the palm of our hands. If you are not sure whether or not you are an addict – this fun QUIZ by Fast Company might help you decide.

The Human-Mobile evolution

Try to remember all the mobile phones you’ve owned in the last fifteen years: brick, flip-down brick, Motorola, classic Nokia, Samsung flip-up, slid-up samsung, Blackberry, iPhone…There has been a great change in size and shape of course, but the greater change is actually in what we are expecting these phones to do and what they have made us become. It’s ok to be late, because we are sending a text. Walking on the street completely clueless talking on the phone or texting without watching our steps has become a standard. “Checking emails” in an awkward situation is the easiest escape from actually dealing with it and talking loudly in public places is totally acceptable because it is work! Well, not really. Every so often it won’t hurt us to strip it all away and remember that we used to cope, quite well actually, without being contactable every darn moment.

Larry David would’ve agreed with us on that 🙂