Category Archives: Hanging Up

Hanging Up – new blog series


I’ve decided that the zombie plague that has been feared for decades is already upon us, and the virus is called Smartphone.

Earlier this year, I wrote about breaking up with my smartphone.

I’ve carried on with this endeavor (it’s much harder than it sounds), and although the smartphone is still in use, I am significantly more intentional about how and why I use it.  I’m actually working toward transitioning to a phone-only phone, and will offload the smartphone features to my iPad. More on that another time.

Part of unplugging from the gravitational pull of smartphones, laptops, etc. is reconnecting with other tactile platforms like paper books or paper planners. We can appreciate both digital stuff and paper stuff. Sometimes it’s a nice comfort to enjoy the paper stuff when you shut off the digital stuff, for example.

The name Hanging Up chosen for this series is not solely for its connotation with the telephone, but is also a nod to the movie of the same name. The movie stars Meg Ryan, Lisa Kudrow, and Diane Keaton. Diane Keaton is a real-life user of Filofaxes (various articles have stated she uses multiples). Also, in this movie, Meg Ryan can be seen several times with her character’s planner (my memory is that is a black, personal-size and that it’s quite stuffed). So this all ties in nicely to this blog which is primarily about planners and planning.

Anyway,  since it turns out I am not the only person feeling the zombie smartphone plague, there are many people sharing their experiences and really good info about it.  In this new Hanging Up series, I would like to share some of these finds and especially to hear from others as well.

Today’s share is a TED Talk (did you know these started in 1984? I did not!).  This is Anastasia Dedyukhina presenting “Could you live without a smartphone?


I hope you enjoy, and thank you for reading. 🙂


Disconnect to Reconnect


Earlier this year I started a new endeavor: breaking up with my smartphone.

Essentially, I’ve come to notice that I spent entirely too much time looking at my phone screen, sometimes for no reason at all. A quiet habit that snuck up on me, I caught myself one day just picking up my nearby phone to wake it up and flip through the screens. Wait, what, why? Realizing I had done this for no reason at all, I began to suspect this was going on more than I realized. So, after paying more attention to this, come to find that I actually had to stop myself from habitually grabbing the phone for this empty ritual. Instead of getting information I needed, information was getting me.

When I announced this finding to my husband, he remembered listening to a podcast series on this very topic. Upon some further reading, I came across plenty or articles and books on the subject of smartphones and information overload in general.

Now being fascinating with this finding, and undertaking a new observation of those around me, it became readily apparent just how engrossed so many people are in their phones – no matter what else they are doing. People driving and texting. People traveling the world seemingly on autopilot routines of taking selfies at every view spot and posting to their social sites instead of even looking at what they’re visiting. On a recent airport trip, we were seated facing two families. Family One had four people who were each staring and swiping away at their phones – silent and not a single smile. Family Two had five phoneless people, all laughing and talking and lighting up the area with their happiness. I am very introverted and using my phone or pad for reading and listening to books when flying or when waiting at airports is very comfortable for me. Although now I think I’d like to look up from reading and at least say hello to the people near me, and to mindfully enjoy my surroundings more.

So, I’ve very purposefully removed almost all of the notifications, news headlines, bells and whistles from my phone, and am treating it once again more like a phone. I rarely use any social sites, so those were not already installed anyway. Turns out I really like email, so it’s still undecided if it will stay on the phone. Having email at the computer seems truly enough in my case, based on my situation. Also, my phone is getting left behind a lot more these days. It’s no longer in my hand or back pocket most everywhere I go now.

If you’re interested in any of the above:

Accepting that these marvels of technology provide numerous useful tools, getting a handle on the habits and the apps that aren’t actually helping me has been a big eye-opener. I’ve used a smartphone since they first became available although right now it’s fair to say it’s being used far less. : )

Update: There’s a new series on this blog focused on this subject – Hanging Up. You can choose the Hanging Up category to see those posts. 



A long time ago, you saw a lot more people using some sort of organizational system like a paper planner, or a calendar, a trusty notebook or whatever. Eventually a lot of those paper calendars, to-do lists and planners turned into Palm or Pocket PC organizers. Over time, many people then migrated to a Blackberry, which also has a built-in calendar and to-do list. I was one of those people. I went from paper planners to using a Palm in conjunction with the planner for everything for many years and it was very difficult to pry the Palm from my fingers when I moved to the Blackberry.

What I found was the Blackberry is a great communication device but the organizer applications were not as awesome as the Palm. At the time I hadn’t used an iPhone but I hear other people have similar thoughts on the organizer functionality of the iphone (update – I’m stuck with one at work these days and I’m not a fan). The Android phones also have options for organizer-stuff, and I think it all boils down to the fact that none of these items are designed as an Organizer First. Moving on.

Why on earth aren’t the phone-only users (folks who don’t use any actual planning system) more concerned about the less-than-wonderful organizer applications built into their phones? Or, why don’t they carry something else around to organize themselves? I’m noting a common denominator that many of the people who live and breathe by their smartphones are some of the most unreliable people I have ever met!  These are the same people who actually make a comment such as “oh you’re still using a paper planner? I use my phone and it’s great” All I know is these very same people have a tendency to be late. Not occasionally (no one is perfect), but routinely enough that you can bet on it. Oftentimes their lateness is greeted with a “I wasn’t sure if we were still meeting today” while implying that “no one contacted me to confirm” (because the meeting has been on the schedule for at least a week so why on earth do we need to confirm it, again?). Anyway, don’t be fooled, this is code for “I nearly forgot the meeting and got down here as fast as I could.”

These people are also the first to answer every e-mail that beeps on their smartphone, but with the most useless answers one can muster. It seems like they’re trying to project a very I’m So On Top Of Things demeanor, I guess? The answers are typically ones that assure you that you’ll never get the information you were seeking. Something along the lines of “I will let you know as soon as I’m back to the office” or “Team, can we make this happen?”

So, you find yourself having to follow-up… you’re now doing twice the work because that person has long forgotten you and your e-mail. You become their reminder! I am just certain that this could all be avoided if the person would just use some sort of a system. In today’s business environment I have to follow up with people almost consistently (how do so many people get away with that, anyway?). A handful of years back, it wasn’t as bad. I can’t help but to notice the coincidence that this is when the Blackberry became more widespread in companies. A CEO with a Blackberry is a good tool because he or she can keep business moving when away from the office. But when everyone in the company has one it seems to have a reverse effect. Anyway, I’ll bet that CEO has a planner of some sort, or a great assistant who has a system.