Where’s Your Phone Right Now?


Where’s your phone?

Most of us know where our phone is. At all times. Because usually it is right beside us.

What do you check most often? Email? Facebook? Surf the internet?

We’re addicted.

  • We turn to our phones when we’re bored.
  • When we want to know something immediately.
  • When we need affirmation that we’re heard.

But our phones can’t give us what we really want.

They can, however, take it away.

True connection doesn’t come through a device. It comes through conversations and looks and gestures and meals and silence and tone and touch.

Used wisely, our devices can facilitate those things.

But more often, our phones take us away from true connection, not lead us to it.

They steal away our presence from the moment we’re in.

The Power of Off

See if you relate to this scenario by Nancy Colier in The Power of Off:

“These days, the instant something happens, we are immediately on our devices, texting everyone we know to tell the story of who we are, the story of our lives.

After the personal texts have gone out, we start posting on social media.

As soon as we are finished getting it out to the world, we start checking to see the responses coming in about it.

In a sense, the whole event, our life, takes place outside of us and on the screen; life is not something we live directly but rather something we use to establish our self-image and existence.”

Are we living life directly, or buffered by a screen?

How is this changing us and our relationships?

I’m bothered enough that I’m trying to change. I’m putting more distance between me and my phone. I’m leaving it in other rooms or keeping it off or refusing to check it as soon as I hear a beep.

It’s not easy. But it’s important.

Collier says:

“Paradoxically, leaving ourselves endlessly available results in our being unavailable to others and to life.”

I do want to be available to those who need me via my device.

But not at the expense of those who need me in person.

* * *

Where is your phone right now? How connected are you to it? How often do you disconnect? Please share in the comments.

49 thoughts on “Where’s Your Phone Right Now?

  1. Linda Stoll

    Guilty as charged, Lisa. (No pun intended.)

    My phone is in my hand … and I am ready to share this stellar post with connections on my LinkedIn site.

    ‘Nuff said.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m guilty, too, Linda. I’ve been doing a tad better since I’ve been reading “The Power of Off.” It’s really convicting me to put down the phone more often and keep my eyes straight ahead instead.

  2. Kym

    It bothers me how often I see couples or families at a restaurant and instead of interacting with each other, they are on their phones. And then I realize that I and my family are so tempted to do the same thing . . . and too often we give in. We’ve established a family rule – no devices at the dinner table – and are working constantly on following and teaching the principle of the rule, which is that in-person relationships must be our priority. It’s a start, and this is a constant battle, because I think we are all more addicted to our devices than we realize.

    Thank you for the reminder and the challenge. I know I certainly need it!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I need the reminder and challenge, too, Kym. I know I pick up my phone too often, whether I’m alone or with other people. And I especially do it if others around me do it, as if it gives me permission to follow suit. 🙁 I’m trusting none of us are too far gone to reverse the trend.

  3. Michele Morin

    Seven years ago, our family traveled across the country on a five week journey of craziness and fun. So many people urged me to get FB and chronicle our travels so that people back home could follow us, and I resisted because I wanted to be “all there” for the trip. That was a great decision. I kept a travel journal (paper and pencil) and we shot hundreds of pictures, so the memories are preserved.

    There are days when I long for that disconnected-ness.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a lovely decision to remain present in your trip and make memories in your hearts and heads that will last a lifetime! There’s a lot to be said for being “all there”. You’re a wise woman, Michele.

  4. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Don’t have a phone. Don’t need one; the computer’s quite enough, and I spend less and less time with it.

    Connexions are important, both real and virtual. My ‘real’ connexions are fading as my paradigms continue to diverge from those around me, and the same thing’s happening in the virtual world, albeit more slowly. My life is moving too slowly now, and it’s jarring for all involved.

    So, no phone; no one to talk with. And I see a day when there’s no need for email, for the same reason.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I hear traces of my father’s voice in yours, Andrew. He used to be very engaged with the world. But as his cancer drained him more and more, we saw him lose interest in things around him. But perhaps instead of a loss, it’s a heightening of perception on things that really matter, like Barbara and the dogs you care for and who care for you. Praying for you.

  5. Barbara H.

    It’s something that definitely needs balance. I love the connectivity with my son in another state, being able to FaceTime and text, and even with my other kids here and my little grandson. Sometimes when he has been upset, they have distracted him with the opportunity to call Grandma. ♥ In early married days I could only call my mom once a month due to the long distance charges, and I am glad that’s not the case with my own kids. But I’ve been guilty of missing seeing what was going on because I was trying to get a photo or video. I’m telling myself it’s ok to have some things make impressions in our memories without the need to document them.

    Re what someone mentioned above with families at restaurant tables on their phones – I try not to judge that, because you never know what they’ve been doing together the rest of the day. They may have been doing yard work together or traveling or whatever. Using phones while waiting for orders at a restaurant is not necessarily a sign that they’re missing out with each. But we also generally avoid using them at the dinner table at home so we can interact, at least for the main part of the meal.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Balance is the key word. I definitely wouldn’t give up my phone altogether (not voluntarily anyway, ha). It has some great uses, like you point out. It’s funny to think back to the days when long distance calls were so expensive. When I first got married, we lived right over the county line from our friends and family, yet every phone call would be long-distance so we bought a special plan to keep the cost down. Things have definitely changed in so many ways!

  6. Pam

    Guilty!! Yikes! I wish that were not true! With kids and grandkids living hundreds of miles away, my phone is never far away since that cell phone will be what they call and text to let me know of a prayer request or something else. They lead such busy lives that it is not often that an actual phone call happens. I get what she is saying an honestly try to do better than I did when I was working and then had clients I was responsible for as well. I am especially watchful of not getting lost in checking on my phone when my hubby and I are sitting down to eat or talk (even though the phone is not far away). Social media for me is not a huge thing. I use it to post things from the blog and checkout posts or pic from family. I have no interest in reporting what I last ate or bought or seeing that from others. Sometimes I think the cell phone is like everything else in our lives. It is not a bad thing, but when used in excess it can become bad.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I rarely use my phone for actual phone calls either, Pam. It’s funny how that happens. My daughter who lives 3 hours away will call about once a week to actually talk on the phone, but most other communication is all about texts and snapchats or GroupMe. ha.

      You hit on some magic words: “especially watchful”. As long as we are aware of our use, I think we can keep a better balance. Because as you say, cell phones aren’t bad in themselves; it’s just in how we use them.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      My phone is right next to me now too, Julie. 😉 I have to intentionally try to leave it behind when I go from room to room, but for now it is still an effort; it doesn’t come natural to NOT pick it up and carry it with me everywhere I go. The natural thing is to make sure it’s with me. I wonder if I can get back to the opposite side of that.

  7. Lux G.

    My phone is on the other room and I’m proud to say I’m not addicted to it. Maybe because I spend so much time on my laptop already working as a social media manager mostly. But then, I see how much it could make me waste my time if I let it.

    Thanks for this beautiful sharing as always, Lisa.

    Hey, Happy Mother’s Day to you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s refreshing to hear that you’re not addicted to your phone, Lux. Good for you! I imagine that working as a social media manager might make you want to NOT be on your phone during off-hours. 🙂 My husband works on a computer all day so he likes to totally disconnect at night when possible.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I guess we’re all caught in its web to some degree, yes? It’s a fine line to walk between being dependent on our phone and just using it for good things. I remember back in the day when I would only have my phone with me for “emergency purposes.” And having to google something did not constitute an emergency. ha.

  8. Bill (cycleguy)

    As a pastor I have a love/hate relationship with mine. I have been more intentional leaving it in “my cave” when I am engaging with the family, but I also know I need to respond if it is an emergency. tough decisions. One that was not is I am not on FB or Twitter or any social media site. That, I don’t see every changing!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, there is a certain responsibility that we have to consider with being available to other people via our phones. But it sounds like you have good boundaries, Bill. And avoiding FB, etc., definitely helps too. Twitter is probably my biggest social media drain but it’s because I get most of my news from there. Yikes! ha.

  9. Sarah Geringer

    Hi Lisa. Believe it or not, I’m more likely to be distracted with a book than a phone. My phone stays in my purse most of the time…guess that’s one reason I still have a working IPhone 3! Still, I am learning to listen to my children and husband, who want me to put down my books and spend more time with them. Visiting from #raralinkup.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m a few versions behind with my phone too, Sarah. 😉 Good for you in still being a book girl! I have to watch my book use as well because I can easily want to finish one more page, one more chapter, etc., instead of engaging in real life. There are always distractions; they just look different in different eras.

  10. Liz Rigby

    I mainly use my phone for social media connected to my blog. I’m not much involved with anything else. Half the time I leave my phone in another room and then can’t find it when my husband is texting me! O.o It’s great that you are encouraging others to unplug! Visiting from the #raralinkup.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It sounds like you have discovered a healthy working relationship with your phone, Liz. I used to fuss that my husband never responded promptly to my texts either, but actually it can be a good indicator that he’s not tethered to his phone. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  11. Trudy

    Such a great reminder, Lisa! My phone is usually in my pocket or beside me. On Mother’s Day, my hubby took me out to breakfast. Even though I expected calls, I told my husband I was leaving my phone at home. It was our time together. As you write – “They steal away our presence from the moment we’re in.” So true. At times my husband and I lament how it used to be when we were kids when cell phones were nonexistent. Now some, not all, of our kids and grandkids even pick up their phones when we’re visiting together. It’s sad. It’s like an extra appendage of the body. Some time ago, someone told me that when they go out to eat with friends, they have a policy that everyone puts their phones in the middle of the table and leaves them alone until they’re finished. Anyway, I don’t mean to sound like I’m trashing them altogether. I know there are blessings in them, too, as long as we use them in moderation. 🙂 I love when my kids or grandkids send me texts and photos. And I love to send them loving little reminders sometimes. Also, I’m grateful to have it along when I’m alone on the road. In the local news some time ago, a woman who was kidnapped and put into someone’s trunk, used hers, and the cops were able to track her and rescue her. But then again, there have been many lives lost when people are on their phones and driving… I’m rambling here. Sorry I’m getting carried away… Anyway, thanks for encouraging us to not be so attached to our phones. Love and hugs to you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, it is like an extra appendage of the body. 🙁 I do love my phone, but I need to be able to set it aside at times. I like what Chick-fil-a did awhile back about setting a phone basket on their tables for everyone to deposit their phones, like you said your friends do at meals. It’s all about moderation, yes? I never want to go back to an era without cell phones, but I also don’t want them to take over my life. Thanks for sharing these experiences, Trudy. It adds much to the conversation.

  12. Joe Pote

    “Paradoxically, leaving ourselves endlessly available results in our being unavailable to others and to life.”

    An insightful observation…

    I value my online relationships…but it can sometimes get carried away…

    Thanks for the reminder!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That “getting carried away” part is what I want to avoid. I value my online relationships too and without my phone and laptop, I wouldn’t know many of you!

  13. Lois Flowers

    What a great post and discussion, Lisa! I’m writing this on my laptop, while my phone is on the kitchen island with a half-written text to my sister that needs to be completed open on it. (I’m easily distracted, you see?) I use the phone mostly to text or (sometimes) call family and a few friends. I don’t have any social media apps on it at all. I do use it to take pictures for Instagram, but then I transfer them to another device to post them. One of these days I should write my own post about why I have taken this approach … thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, you definitely need to write a post about your technology use, Lois. I would love to read it! I like seeing how other people set their boundaries. It helps me set my own.

  14. Joanna Sormunen

    I’m not actually quite certain where my phone is. Probably at the night stand next to my bed.
    I used to be a real phone addict, mostly because of my work. Then I decided that it was affecting negatively at my life and started to detox myself from it. Nowadays I don’t have internet connection or anything else in my phone. It’s just a phone, and alarm clock for me.
    But sadly I have developed another kind of addiction. That is to my iPad. It has internet but it also has Kindle. And I must admit I spend way too much time on it.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Well, one addiction solved at a time, Joanna. 🙂 Thanks for your honesty here. I totally understand; I count my phone and my laptop as basically one thing because I go back and forth between them, and can almost use them for the same things. And then of course there’s my Kindle too…do I have to count that as well? ha. Praying for all of us!

  15. Jean Wise

    ouch! you nailed me on this one. “But our phones can’t give us what we really want. They can, however, take it away.”
    I am so addicted. I have been trying to consciously not check it during meals but here it sits right next to me right now. You are inspiring me to work on this. will let you know when and how I am doing.! Thanks friend

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think many of us are more addicted to it than we realize, Jean. 🙁 But awareness is the first step, right? It’s sometimes easier to see the addiction in others, but once we also see it in ourselves, we can start doing something about it. Do let me know how it goes with you and I’ll do likewise!

  16. Anita Ojeda

    I’m pretty connected to my phone–especially since I use it for reading books! Instead of pulling out a book when I’m bored, I pull out my phone. I do spend an awful lot of time getting validated on social media, though. I recognized this in myself and decided to let it go…so I’m slowly letting it go.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Recognizing it in ourselves is often the hardest step. Then letting it go is the next hardest. 😉 I love reading on my Kindle, but I also have the Kindle app on my phone, so if I accidentally have a few minutes somewhere without my Kindle, I can read on my phone as well. Our phones are so versatile that no wonder we have trouble letting them go. 🙁 Thanks for sharing your experience, Anita. May your progress go well in finding the right balance for you.

  17. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Hi Lisa, This is a great post. Gotta tell you, I have no idea where my phone is right now. I’m always misplacing it, because I rarely use it. But lest I sound holier-than-thou, I have gotten so caught up in web searches and FB posts, TV news, and myriad other distractions. So if the shoe of distraction fits, which it does, I can claim it, though my distraction of choice doesn’t just happen to be my Android. But your points are beautifully taken, and I’m listening. May I also recommend to you this wonderful book by journalist Tony Reinke called 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You. I’ts a really thought-provoking read, and I think you would find it more substantial food for thought. Thanks again. Great post!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Your point is valid, Lynn: even when it’s not our phones, there are lots of choices for distractions in our world! I suppose it’s always been that way to some extent, but the distractions seem so “in your face” these days. Thanks for recommending Tony Reinke’s book! I have heard about it but haven’t looked into it, but now I will.

  18. floyd

    Good one, Lisa. Because mine started out back in the eighties as business, that’s primarily what I still use it for. When the end of the day comes I put it to bed like a farm animal.

    Wise words. People get so caught up in sharing that they miss the best part of life while feeding their egos or narcissistic tendencies.

    None of are immune. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      As usual, your words are so succinct yet so piercing, Floyd. I love the imagery of putting our phones to bed like a farm animal. 🙂 And am convicted about missing parts of life by feeding our egos. Thanks for sharing this, brother.

  19. Ashley Davis

    I’m definitely addicted to my phone, and I need to disconnect more often. One thing I do to help my addiction is turn off most notifications. Email notifications don’t bother me. It was the Facebook notifications. I turned those off a long time ago.
    My phone is also on vibrate a lot. That helps to not answer text immediately. I need to leave it in other rooms. I think that would help me too.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Turning off notifications is a wonderful thing! Whenever I get a new app, I often just leave the original settings as is. But then I start getting the notifications and realize I need to adjust the settings. I don’t want to be beeped at all day. 🙂 But yes, leaving it in another room is still a big game-changer for me. I used to think I needed it with me so I could hear it ring if someone calls, but rarely do I get phone calls these days (no complaints about that!) and even if I do miss a call, I can always return the call later.

  20. Carol

    I see this so much in my classroom interactions. We don’t allow phones at school, so the second they get on the bus, out come the iPhones. It makes me sad, as there’s so much life happening around them. I use my phone to stay in touch – with my girls at college, my family far away, my friends across the states and world. I feel blessed by my phone – but sometimes it’s easy to let that take over the near relationships – you’re right. Balance!!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I feel blessed by the connections my phone allows also, Carol. I totally understand what you’re saying–balance is what we need. If it weren’t for online communication, I wouldn’t be able to stay in touch with my family near as much. As you phrase it so well, it’s in the “near relationships” that I need to learn to put it down more often. Thanks for sharing.

  21. June

    My husband and I have a new favorite past time when we’re eating out. Watching all the other people in the restaurant work their phones! It’s amazing, and sad, to watch families sitting around a table together but focused on their phones instead of each other. Truly part of the problem our country/world is facing today.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I played that game yesterday too at Salarita’s. I was 3 for 3 in seeing adults with their phone. Then some older people over 65 came in who didn’t look at their phones. ha. Yes, Lord, help us stay focused on each other!

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