Communication issues? Eric Pickersgill found the solution

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Put together a photographer and art. What you obtain is something always interesting, as interesting is Removed, the project created by Eric Pickersgill, a photographer from North Carolina. He decided to illustrate the psycological and social effects of how addict people have become to smartphones. The portraits show individuals who appear to be holding personal devices: the problem is that the devices have been physically removed from their hands. They were asked to hold their stare and posture as Eric removed their smartphones and tablets: «The photographs represent reenactments of scenes that I experience daily.»

Family sitting next to me at Illium café in Troy, NY is so disconnected from one another. Not much talking. Father and two daughters have their own phones out. Mom doesn’t have one or chooses to leave it put away. She stares out the window, sad and alone in the company of her closest family. Dad looks up every so often to announce some obscure piece of info he found online. Twice he goes on about a large fish that was caught. No one replies. I am saddened by the use of technology for interaction in exchange for not interacting. This has never happened before and I doubt we have scratched the surface of the social impact of this new experience. Mom has her phone out now.

Here is where you can find all the pictures he took for his project: http://www.removed.social/. Strange isn’t it?! You can simply slide the gallery (as far as – I assume – you are reading this article with your favourite device). At first it may be quite creepy or misplacing, yet it’s merely a nipping report of every-day-life scenes: and I agree with you, it is annoying at a certain point. Art is expression: here art throws back in your face what today’s problem is. It may not have answered any why-question nor told us how to solve this situation: art helps pointing out. Being sarcastic is one of its ways, and it surely pushed and still pushes people asking questions (which is – after all – what art is best at).

Here you can watch the making of and the starting ideas of Eric.

 

HE MADE IT

It seems this guy tried our smartphone fast out! It is always nice to hear stories like these. You feel closer to the people you listen to and you feel you’re not the only one on earth who is facing this real problem.

May this video give you readers the strength you are seeking to keep on keeping on, to face hard times (coming from the will to change) being sure that life is beautiful and, mostly, it is out there waiting for you.

BEFORE | AFTER

BEFORE | AFTER

There is a before/after in our life; and with “our” I mean we people born before the digital natives generation. I am talking about the moment when the smartphones decided to walk in our lives and take possess of them.

It was not that long ago, actually. Up until only 10 years ago we were able to handle our life (with all its cheerful time and struggles) without smartphone at all. Now most of us can’t imagine a day – and a life* – without it. It didn’t take them that long and, in a blink of an eye, basically everyone started walking down the streets with the face stuck to the smartphone screen.

* usually a feeling reserved to the soulmate.

Do we really need it? Do we remember how it was before?

Here are some pictures that ironically show you the difference.

remember_the_days_before_cell_phones_640_01Raise your hand if it never happened to you.

remember_the_days_before_cell_phones_640_02What do you tell me about the WhatsApp flags?!

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“I won’t steal it. I promise!”remember_the_days_before_cell_phones_640_05“What was your number again?”remember_the_days_before_cell_phones_640_04

. . .
“Did anyone say something??”

What if now I tell you to change our point of view? Let’s read the pictures from right to left. Do you still think a change is impossible?

Cut out – Let in

He who eats until he is sick must fast until he is well. That’s what an English proverb says. But I would rather suggest you to fast until you reach the point when you perfectly know how to start a diet.

Let me explain what I mean.

Every day we are overwhelmed by so much information.

If you’re like me and a lot of other people in this world – and if your life is similar to mine and theirs -, you are probably surrounded by thousands of stimuli: rivers of news constantly flow over your steps coming mostly from the Internet, TV and radio, and making you sick. Be careful, this can leave you flood-damaged!

It is called information overload.

Your brain is not made to process this whole amount of information. You can surely do it, but it gives you a lot of stress and, in the end, what will be left of the information we didn’t have enough time to give real value to?

And now, let’s talk about time.

Take a minute to think about how much time you spend in contact with the information sources. The fingers of one hand are sadly too less to count the hours! How many goals you could accomplish if you cut those activities out of your life.

And now think that there is one device that, more than the others, is taking possession of your life: yes, you are right if you are thinking about your smartphone.

1426395_401677019965845_1775285442_nThe following paragraphs will guide you, step by step, to a new way of conceiving your relationship with it.

By approaching the Zen philosophy, you are asked to embrace simplicity in order to make your existence better. And for doing that, all you have to do implies three important steps: taking time to think, noticing how your life can really change and, eventually, planning what and how to edit your life in order to break your bad habits. But don’t be scared and tune out yet, as – I can guess – lots of you are using the smartphone. This can really be a way to handle and solve our issue: smartphone addiction.

Let’s start by saying that it won’t be easy. But it will be worth it. You’ll get better over time, and more motivated after seeing the first positive results.

_The First Step

The first step is the most difficult one: to be able to think, you need to take time and for doing it you have to temporary disconnect. That’s what we call the fasting period. Just like a fast, you are supposed to live your life without your smartphone, without checking the e-mails and the messages from your online subscriptions (it sounds unbelievably impossible, but it is not!). It is a kind of medical therapy for the life-worsening condition you are stuck in.

It is undoubtedly hard as you are asked to give up on something that has become part of your daily life.

Start small. Here are my tips for you.

  •  If you can’t go without your phone, try using less applications. Uninstall apps you never use, you will be surprised how much junk you can find in your storage. Cut away your messenger app for a day, then add another one to your no-list. Add as many as possible.
  • Try reducing the time you use your phone. Leave it at home when you go out with your kids for a walk or to meet a friend in a restaurant. Keep it inside the drawer during lunch hour to have a talk with a colleague. Allow yourself to touch it only for 3 hours a day, 2 hours a day, 1 hour a day. You’ll be amazed how easy it is. There will be so much real life to distract you.
  • Try a specific time during your day. While in the previous tip you are allowed to use your phone in a total of a fixed time a day, try now to have this fixed time during a specific part of your day. Try using your phone only in the morning before work, after putting the groceries away when you come home after going to the supermarket, or after putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Stick to it.
  • Keep track of your time. You will be shocked when you will see at the end of a day or a week (let’s not talk about a month) how much time you wasted. Track the time you spend with the smartphone in your hands and write it down in a spreadsheet. Trust me, it will be jaw dropping and, somehow, scary.
  • Master-fast. You are now ready for the highest level. You feel well prepared for what is ahead of you: a day without your phone. Not challenging enough anymore? Try a week! Try a month. You go, man!

_The Second Step

It is when you find yourself drastically into another dimension of living that you start thinking and meditating about what has changed. Welcome to the second step! There will be some struggles but, if you stay strongand keep on doing it, you will succeed. Living without your smartphone will allow you to open up yourself to new challenges and new experiences. Try to think what this personally means for you. You can even write everything down.

  • How did my productivity change?
  • Was I able to get more things done?
  • Did I spend more time with my family and friends?
  • Did I have more time for myself and goals I wanted to accomplish since so long?
  • Do I feel less stressed?
  • Did someone else notice a change?
  • How did I fill the time I usually spent with my phone?

Your findings can be shocking, funny and relieving all at once.

40jij58pWe talked about new experiences. Yes, but which kind of new experiences?

There are people around you that you never noticed (maybe this cute girl or boy who just started working in your office), you finally had the time to meet up with an old friend, you got to know new people to go out with, on your way to work you met a group of fans of your favorite football team on the train and went to a match together with them, you found books in your shelf that someone gave to you for Christmas 5 years ago and you found a new favorite author, you discovered your old hobbies again and explored nature more frequently, you finally got to spend more time with your children – and the list goes on and on. You will be able to fully enjoy every moment being in contact with the others and, maybe, your friends will be so inspired by you to start the project their own – and you will be there to encourage them as well to think about the meaning of their lives.

You fill up the time you usually spent with media in a more healthy and personal way. This is great, celebrate your success!

_The Third Step

Now it’s the right time to talk about what and how. Like newspaper editors, you have to learn to edit brutally and cut out everything that’s not necessary: that’s the only way to make the meaningful story come up.

But is it even possible? Yes, it is. Here are some ideas: you have to dive into it, with no fear, and try; this way you will find out what the right method for you really is.

  • Start again. Once your fast is over, re-think your smartphone intake. You may discover that cutting it out in the evening, for example, isn’t as hard as you thought, and that it helps you getting a lot of things done. Instead of allowing yourself to dive right back into your old smartphone habits, use your device more thoughtfully from now on. Shutting off the rivers of information that come at you every day will give you peace of mind. Spending time without your smartphone will help you focusing more and longer.
  • Set specific goals. It is not because we are talking about smartphone addiction, that you can feel free to replace one device with another time-waster, such as computer, tablet or TV. Set a goal that you would like to accomplish in that day, or that week, and work hard on it. Be specific about how you want to spend your time and stick to your schedule, like your learned it during your fasting time. As the days go by, you will surely notice that you can use the time, you would normally spend on media, to accomplish actions that further your goals. Ask yourself which mistakes you made and how your addiction tried to possess you again.
  • Listen to what your body says. As we stated in the beginning, it is not in fasting and refusing blindly the power of smartphones; it is in knowing how to take control (and not letting it take control) and starting a healthy diet, for your body, for your mind and for your relationships. And, while doing it, listen to your body, how it reacts and how it develops. It speaks louder than what you imagine!

The third step will show how you changed inside. At that point you will be able to take decisions and finally change the outside, starting from your habits and your relationships.

We hope this introduction will help. Please feel free to let us know your tips and tricks and give us a review on how this fasting affected you. And if we didn’t manage to convince you, at the end of this post, well at least… give it a try!

The Tortoise and the Hare Run the Electronic Race

The Tortoise and the Hare Run the Electronic Race

This is a guest post by Yitzchak Goldman, the author of Turn Off Your Phone, Turn On Your Life

 

One of the celebrated excuses used by people addicted to their Smartphone is the claim that their phone is indispensable for work and business.

Well, some research shows that Smartphones have actually caused a decline, rather than an increase in productivity. [1]

How can that make sense? Surely the convenience of being connected at all times allows for a more expedient business process?

Well, just imagine you’re in the middle of a stressful conversation, not yet heated (although your internal radiator is beginning to smoke), you’re tired and hungry and you are civilizations away from the nearest coffee pump, and your phone alerts you to a message from an important client. In order to juggle the conversation you’re having,  your smoking internal radiator, your hunger and your desire to satisfy the needs of this client, you fumble the best response your thumbs can conjure up whilst you are doing your balancing act (don’t tell me you’re driving as well, because I don’t want to hear it) and unbeknownst to you, you leave out something critical, or you send the wrong attachment, or you even spell his or her name wrong  even if it’s an on obtuse name that is comprised of the majority of the letters of the alphabet, along with the signature disclaimer, of course, that this has been sent from my iThis or iThat, so please excuse any typo’s (with the erroneous apostrophe – a pet peeve)….

Then the client, a little agitated, has a sixth sense that you were otherwise preoccupied, as you sent him pictures of your daughter’s third birthday party at the petting zoo rather than the draft of the corporate merger contract. He nudges you with another beep as you are filling your car with gas, and you, exasperated end up washing your car, and all the surrounding cars, with gasoline.

Whereas…

You know I’m not telling you to get rid of everything computer-related. You still have your laptop and / or your desktop. You finish the conversation with a cooled radiator, blissfully unaware that anyone has beeped you. You take a little time to grab a bite to eat and inject yourself with coffee and return to your office, snap open your computer and see a message from your important client. You now have the presence of mind to stroke your chin and compose a fine, well-constructed email, and you double-check the attachments and the spelling of the obtuse client name, and then press “send.”

The client is satisfied in a faster time than in the previous scenario, with less hassle and better spelling.

Professional quality has begun to suffer from the influx of Smartphones and other innovative techno-gadgets. This is not coincidental. The quality of all social interchange has suffered greatly from it. It’s time we acknowledge that Smartphone addiction is a problem and must be addressed.

// Yitzchak Goldman

 

Turn Off Your Phone, Turn On Your Life

www.turnoffyourphone.wordpress.com

[1] Johnson, Dave. Why Smartphone Culture Reduces Productivity. CBS Moneywatch. April 10th, 2012