Would an iPhone Make it Easier?

Would an iPhone Make it Easier?

A couple of weeks ago, my cell phone, left in a coat pocket, ended up in the dryer.

I heard the pounding and crashing in the dryer.

I did. I admit it.

Perhaps if I had gone to investigate, I might have rescued the phone in time. Elbow deep in dishwater, I kept washing.

By the time the cycle ended, the front of my phone had cracked.

I took it as a sign. I admit it. I did.

Valentine’s Day was the next day. I’m a Verizon customer. Verizon just got the iPhone.

I could see an iPhone in my future. I could feel it in my pocket.

It’s hard to justify the $30 addition of a data plan to my bill just for fun, though. My husband and I have this ongoing debate about the usefulness of my owning a smart phone.

His position is that there’s no purpose in my having a smart phone because I am — it is true — almost always at home.

My office is here, my kids are here. It’s where I am.

When I am not here, I can easily pop my netbook into my bag. Wireless internet is easy to find if I NEED to go online.

I recently started updating Facebook via text message. I don’t tweet on the phone. (I tweet enough as it is.)

AND people who want to reach me have my cell phone number. They can call or text me. I’m certainly already as accessible as I need to be.

In my last post, I wrote about how it is difficult for me to keep my work contained. I appreciate all of you who took the time to comment. Others, who didn’t comment on the post, told me that they face similar struggles.

As we explore this topic together, I have a question: Would an iPhone make it easier?

My gut says no.

How would being more connected help me disconnect?

One of my issues is that I stalk my email. I’ll be in the middle of some family activity and I will want to sneak out of the room, run up the stairs, and sit down at my desk for a few minutes to see if I have any messages waiting. It is a really horrible habit and I am embarrassed to admit it here.

The only good thing about my compulsion to check email frequently is that I burn a lot of calories racing up and down the stairs. The fact that I am jogging the stairs several times a day takes away some of my guilt related to two of my other bad habits, eating Peanut M&Ms all day and drinking calorie filled beverages.

With an iPhone, that urgency to check email would disappear. I could set an alert and if email came through, I would know it. If I needed to reply, I could do so quickly, with little interruption to whatever else I’m doing.

But… would I also start other worse habits? Would I succumb to the allure of checking Facebook and Twitter from my phone?

Tell me something! What do you think? Would an iPhone make it easier? Or would it introduce new bad habits? What experience have you had? What has worked for you?

Note: I am using a friend’s phone until I am eligible for an upgrade (in April, just in time for my wedding anniversary.) It’s a clunker, but it gets the job done. I invite your feedback as I consider this decision.

Filed As:  iPhone, M&Ms

About Becky Robinson

I am the owner of Weaving Influence and the leader of the Weaving Influence team. We help authors and thought leaders grow their online influence. I am also a wife and mom of three daughters, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, a good cup of coffee, and dark chocolate.

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What People Are Saying

  • Hey Aunt Becky 🙂 was on FB and saw you posted this… saw the word iPhone… and well, you know how I get 😛 Just wanted to let you know… there is this app I use when I go to sleep called “Disconnect- With Andrew Johnson” it starts by relaxing you… going slowly up through your toes to your head. Then you slowly fall asleep and it’ll say some things about technology… like checking your e-mail, texting, and using the internet. It actually worked for me 🙂

  • Becky:

    The email alert feature is one of my most hated features and I would never turn it on on any cell phone of mine. I find that the pavlovian response to incoming email is a HUGE thief of my attention and effectiveness and so I turn it off on the computer, phone and anywhere else. I don’t even show the number of unread messages in the menu bar.

    I love my iPhone, but email is the thing I least love about it. It’s fine for reading emails, but even the most basic replies become tedious on the small keyboard and screen. I think you would run up and down the stairs twice as much.

    Just my $.02.

    Brad

  • Yes. Having an I-Phone does make it easier. I went from no phone (for 2 full years) to the I-Phone 3gs (now on sale for $50 through at&t 😉 and have reaped many benefits. Here are a few…

    1. E-mail checking/writing done WAY quicker. Writing from my I-phone allows me to be brief, and to the point.

    2. Facebook, and Twitter are always up to date.

    3. All but replaced my desktop computer (which was the goal). I used to leave it on 24/7 so I could check e-mail/facebook/twitter/blogs/websites etc. Now, the desktop stays off unless I have a document to write, or video/audio editing to do for sermons.

    Yes. The Iphone does introduce new bad habits. While it gets me away from my desk, and my desktop computer, it also distracts me while I’m away from my desk. For example, just the other night I was in a meeting and my phone went off twice in that meeting.

    A few weeks ago I had a guy texting during one of our church services. He was texting his wife. It is obvious that texting while driving has become a problem as is evidenced by states making laws against the practice.

    The smartphone allows us to take what we’re interested in with us, but also becomes a distraction when it’s more interesting than what we ought to be paying more attention to.

    As with anything, we need to put guards in place to ensure that we get the most benefit from a product like the Iphone, without suffering the consequences that can come along with them.

  • I can’t imagine not having my Android htc EVO. It’s like connecting to the world instantly without the burden of carrying a laptop around. My smart mobile device replaced my camera, mp3, alarm clock, watch, video camera, note pad, pocket calendar, handheld calculator, navigation device, oh yeah, and my cell phone. My EVO has become my personal assistant. It notifies me of my most important emails or texts. It’s an excellent tasker for those to-do-lists that automatically reminds me to pick up milk when I’m near or at a grocery store. I love that I can skype my daughter away at college. The EVO can wirelessly wifi tether my laptop,for free, as well as, syncing itunes wirelessly. The most amazing thing EVO can do is multitasking seamlessly with all the features. For the mobility I highly recommend the EVO.

  • I work from home and find my iPhone very helpful. If I need to run errands or want to grab a Starbucks, I can leave for a few with no worries. My iPhone allows me to monitor email, Tweet, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. The apps are really the selling point to the iPhone.

    I recently had a problem with my home wireless connection and my iPhone became a lifeline…until my network problems were fixed.

    All that being said, I do work very hard to manage my smartphone and not let it manage me.

    Hope that helps!

  • Odd timing – I’ve been making jokes all week in class about getting an iphone after my Sprint contract is up (it fit in lecture for some reason). To date, I’ve put off getting a smart phone because I’m usually around a computer and the extra $30 a month felt like a lot. As I see more and more people with smart phones, and I see how useful they are, I’m continually drawn to them.

    I read something interesting the other day about our buying habits. We can become habituated to our spending patterns. Like the one day where you go for the fancy chocolate instead of the regular kind – maybe it was a splurge, maybe the regular was out but that one day we made that upgrade. Then, we start making that same decision again and again. On top of that, if we’re willing to upgrade in one area, we’re willing to pay some extra in other areas.

    Nine years ago, when I got my first cell phone, I would never pay as much as I’m considering now. But after all of those small increases, another $30 a month doesn’t seem so bad and the iphone is just so darn pretty.

  • I’ve had my iPhone for about a year and a half, and it’s a little bit disturbing how much I love it. The best thing, for a scattered-around person like me, is that EVERYTHING is there, always close at hand. Music, photos, contacts, calendars, work e-mail, home e-mail, grocery list, to-do list, a notebook with everything from quotations I like to my son’s eyeglass prescription, a couple of e-books, dictionary, Bible, calculator, recipes, weather forecast…it makes life so much smoother.

    BUT. It also means that always close at hand is an excellent source of distraction and procrastination, and for me at least it takes a LOT of discipline to maintain boundaries and not become that person who can never put their phone down.

  • I also love my Iphone. Set boundaries for yourself. I have to actually click on the email icon to check my email on my phone. I don’t let myself talk on the phone when I’m doing something with the kids. Checking email or texting is less intrusive than talking on the phone.

  • My husband bought me a smart phone for Christmas to replace the pre-paid phone I had for the last 6yrs. I love it but do find it to become just as bad habit forming as running to check emails.

    I stay at home too and find myself immersed in the phone and not paying attention to my kids,husband, or things that need to be done around the house. If you keep yourself in check and don’t allow yourself to become addicted to the phone you will appreciate the phone.

    The apps are the best part of the phone and it is so handy to have everything you need on one little device. We love the navigator and camera, video/voice recorder and flashlight.

  • Well, I myself am an android fan, but I think I can say a few things about how smart phones in general.

    Oh, and if you’re going to buy a phone before june from Verizon, get the thunderbolt, it’s much newer/better than the iphone 4. If you can wait until june though, the iphone 5 should be coming out, which is going to be on par with, or slightly better than HTC’s thunderbolt.

    Now on to smart phones.

    There are a lot of ways they can be useful. I myself am primarily going to be using mine to take pictures, vlog, write myself notes, track the distances I run, navigate while driving/traveling, keep a calender/schedule, use the internet when I’m away from home, play music (any android, or the iphone works just as well as an ipod), check my email, research things online on the fly, and of course, call and text people.

    Mind you, I don’t even have a smart phone yet, maybe I’ll find more uses for it, or maybe it won’t be as great as I think it will, but I’m willing to give it a shot. ^_^

  • I love, love, love my iPhone!! It is great to be connected to my multiple email accounts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Indeed, and CareerBuilder no matter where I am. Apps like local news, The Weather Channel, Kroger, Redbox, OpenTable, and many others are a bonus.

    The phone can tether my laptop for Internet connectivity in rural places where Wi-Fi is not available too!

    My iPhone camera takes great pictures, the mp3 player is the iPod I never got around to buying, and it is a portable alarm clock, calculator, and phone. The calendar and contact database sync with my laptop, so no duplicated entries.

    It is also great to be connected when there are weather situations like the current ice storm.

  • I’ll make it brief, even though I’m not on my iPod right now. If disconnecting is a problem for you, don’t get an iPhone. Unless you want to use it as your platform and challenge for change. It really is just feeding an addiction.

  • I work from home and just upgraded to the iPhone 4, which is what you could get from Verizon. I got a refurbished iPhone 3 two years ago (an 8G-smallest, cheapest) and I can tell you it went from toy to necessity in about 3 days. It really is a tiny computer in your pocket. It won’t help you with your bad habits because you can be plugged in 24/7. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, reach over to my night stand and check email. The question is, would you like to have a small version of your computer with you all the time? Only you can answer that. By the way, if you get it you might consider the “mophie” shell which doubles battery capacity. But that another whole discussion.

  • Thanks so much for all your responses to my post. It seems like people really love their iPhones! I appreciate the time you all took to share your thoughts with me.

    As for the question of whether a smartphone would make work/life balance either, I enjoyed reading the various opinions. I am not any closer to a decision than I was before I wrote the post but I have a lot more to think about.

    I am honored that you choose to read and comment here. Thank you!

  • Darn!

    Just when I was feeling the fever to put my upgrade status to use and get me one of them fancy new Smartphone thingies, you come along with your adult, rationale, thoughtful decision-making process and poke a big old hole in my admittedly childish “I want it because I want it” attitude.

    A tad more seriously, you have identified some of the demons we all face. Things are available, attractive, and relentlessly hyped as “what you have to have” or “what you really want”.

    Your reflections and reality-testing are spot-on. Much to the chagrin of those who make a living by selling us the Next Great Thing, you have reminded me that I can exist without the latest bells and whistles.

    After all, I have only had a cellphone for the most recent 17% of my life. Did fine before without one:)

    Appreciate your wisdom, Becky!

    John

  • I couldn’t run my business without my iPhone. It has been SOOOO worth the extra $30/month (tax writeable). It means I’m not stressing out about what might be waiting for me at home while I’m out picking up the kids. I can check email in one minute while at the school ground. Then, back at the ranch, I can focus on my kids for a little while after school, knowing the panics have been taken care of. You COULD put your laptop in your bag, but the phone is soooo much easier and lighter. I hardly ever unplug my laptop anymore.
    p.s. Got your name from David Greer who follows you 🙂

  • If you get an iPhone, you will stop running up and down the stairs, which means you have to give up the M&M’s so you do not feel as guilty 🙂 Given your office is at home, it will make you even less present to your family as you are bound to be constantly checking mail, facebook broadcasts, twitter, text messages, WhatsApp messages, the list is long. Remember the article by Kevin, 5 Minutes? We walk in malls today glued to our mobiles, check mail at traffic lights, sitting with someone you quickly browse at the phone to scan for what might need to be responded to urgently. Worse, everybody has an unrealistic expectation to your response time as they know you are accessible, expecting you to quickly reply even if you are in a meeting. I have a BlackBerry, and all I can say is Smart Phones make us give away our freedom. Getting out of bed, I have already checked e-mail, fb and twitter before hitting the bathroom. I don’t think it will make it better, but the sad reality is I would never reverse my decision to get a smart phone, even though I know it does not really make me that much more efficient.

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