No phone at work

nophone.jpgYesterday was not really a great day for me. I confessed to Heidi that I feel like I am the worst pharmacist at work because it takes me forever to accomplish tasks and I am just generally distracted. I recognize the word “feel” in there and knowing what I know about feelings, I know it’s likely not true, but it sure feels real. So she and I talked a little bit about what distracts me. And I said, without hesitation, it’s my phone.

I am pretty sure that I have smart phone addiction. I am constantly checking it, as if I were the most popular person on the planet (I’m not) and every little notification demanded my immediate and full attention (they don’t.) I turned off a lot of lock screen notifications – I think text messages are the only thing that show up in lock screen – and that helped a lot. Over time, it just made me want to unlock my phone more often and check for that random Facebook notification or e-mail that might jolt my humdrum day into something more exciting.

I need to refocus myself at work, and I’m never going to be able to do that until I remove the distractions. So I decided that starting Wednesday, I’m not going to be bringing my iPhone to work any longer. I am getting a burner phone from Best Buy that can be used in emergencies and I’m going to carry that at work. That way, if Heidi absolutely needs me, she can call me or text me on that. For music, I will bring an iPod. Even though we really don’t have the money for it, Heidi ordered me one from Amazon because it is for mental health and mine is missing (I think it was stolen but that’s another story for never.) It will also force me to bring a book to work to read at lunch and/or I will actually interact with people. I’ll choose my activity depending on how I feel.

I actually forgot my phone one day a couple weeks ago in a rush to get out the door. While I wasn’t quite in “palms are sweaty, knees week, arms are heavy” territory, there was a little bit of withdrawal involved. But the other thing that I remember about it was finding it rather liberating, not being distracted by every little vibration that my phone made and, more importantly, not gravitating to it every time I felt anxious or unsure of myself or depressed and in need of that hit that never seemed to be there.

I’m pretty sure this is a solid plan. It seems like it to me anyway. If it seems drastic, it’s because I need to drastically shake things up. Truth be told, I’m rapidly and quietly unraveling at work. I need something to stop this. I don’t want to feel like the worst pharmacist there, mostly because I know it’s not true. It’s not a ladder and there doesn’t have to be a “worst pharmacist.” We all have our strengths and weaknesses and I want to work on making my strengths stronger and erasing some of my weaknesses. Basically, I want to be better, and I think ditching my smart phone at work will help me to achieve that goal.

This post kind of breaks my general rule about how I don’t blog about work. But there isn’t a word of this post that I wouldn’t share with any of my coworkers, and I will probably tell a lot of them about it, so I guess it doesn’t really matter. If you’re gonna blog about work, blog about how you’re trying to become better, which is exactly what I’m trying to do.

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One Response to No phone at work

  1. tina m wiesen-syring says:

    The thing I like best about your plan of action is that you’ve thought it through and talked about it with Heidi. Change of any kind is difficult, so it is wonderful that she is there for you to express how you’re feeling and discuss options for solving what certainly is troubling you.

    I know that I have an addictive personality and figured out that I had to put my phone away while at work. So many of my coworkers, including my boss, are never not connected to social media and it kind of irks me that I feel like an interloper when it is necessary to have their attention for something work-related. Although the marine insurance business isn’t life or death in the scheme of things, staying focused and engaged with our clients IS why we are there in the first place. We do not have music playing in the background, but of course, earbuds are a staple in the office. I wouldn’t get any work done at all if I did that. I totally immerse myself in music when I listen and hear nothing else, so that’s a no-go for me. I take my phone to work, but it stays in my purse until I’m on a break or lunch, then back in my purse it goes. This isn’t about work ethic, not really. Many people can multitask and handle distractions quite well without it affecting their job performance, but I cannot.

    I’m solitary by nature, however, when I do decide go out and socialize with friends or even with just my husband, I’ve made a rule to keep that damn phone in my purse. Choosing to interact and engage with people I actually care about is the priority and the rest can wait.

    I wish you well with this experiment, Dan. You’ll find what works for you even if a little tweaking may be necessary.

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