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Liz On Her Soapbox: Get Out Of Jail, Put Down Your “Cell” Phone & Focus on the Present

Liz on her Soapbox:

Get out of Jail, Put Down Your “Cell” Phone & Focus on the Present

We spend over 4 hours per day on our smart phones, but that statistic doesn’t sound particularly smart to me. Why? Because all of that looking down means you’re not looking up, or at what’s going on around you. Feeling, touching, smelling, tasting, talking, and experiencing what’s going on around you in present time is paramount.  

It’s Time to Look Up and Out

I just went to an Aces game— minor league ball in Reno. The woman in front of us spent 9 innings posing for selfies. Her 12-year-old son sat by himself: not a word was spoken between them; the day was simply a love affair with his mom and her phone as she adjusted her hat, her hair, and her smile for people somewhere else.  

BUT, it was a super night for baseball: 10,311 fans squeezed in for the July 4 holiday, 13 hits, unbelievable fireworks, and the home team trampled the River Cats 10-5. And, this woman and her son missed out on every precious moment.

Multi-tasking is kidding yourself: you just do everything poorly. Click To Tweet

I suffer from a lack of focus. If I multi-task, I do everything poorly. In meetings, I must put my phone away and turn the sounds off; I take phone calls with my laptop closed, I use a paper notebook for follow up. It’s my commitment that I’m paying attention to YOU!

I admit it: I’m annoyed when clients keep their phones out and surreptitiously check it when they’re paying for my advice! I’m disgusted when I see phones at the dinner table; I hate to see groups of teenagers and every single one of them is looking at their phone instead of talking to the person who is right next to them!

This is not a fear of missing out; this is a fear of being in the moment— it is fear of letting your emotions fly free; of having candid conversations face to face.

I get it: work involves being connected. I’m guilty too, but it’s starting to get to me and my family. I now know that I don’t have to check my phone first thing in the mornings, that I could silence it for hours at a time, and that mealtime without your phone is an unforgettable experience. Really!



And, did I mention texts? I hate them! They are the best interrupter of my day. I don’t give out my cell phone number because folks will text me. Friends who have both email and cell somehow believe that sending a text is more important— it’s not; it’s just more annoying. Texts for quick and urgent bursts of info work for me; long stories do not.

I have a PC, I have an iPhone 8; email gets to me e-mmediately, so texting is superfluous. Worse, if I’m in meetings, I end up overlooking the texts. Email is something I see, get it?


It’s time to Put the Phone Down

The good news is that, thanks to our phones, we are always reachable… which is also the bad news.

It’s time to set phone limits. Click To Tweet

Yes, there’s an app for that. It’s time to guess the answer vs. Google the answer. (You know what I mean – you’re watching a movie and can’t figure out the actor or are trying to figure out if Taipei is the capital of Taiwan or….)

It’s time to open your eyes and focus; I’m right here in front of you! And, I am just as, if not more important, than what’s on your phone. Are you on board? What say ye?

To your sizzling success,


     PS: OK, I’m off my soapbox now.



  1. Bingo. Agree. I’ve made some changes, and I’m loving the freedom of not being enslaved to my phone.

    • You were one of the first ones that had folks put their cell phones in a basket BEFORE dinner to ensure they were out of reach; used that idea myself!

  2. Liz: Amen…….AMEN!!!!!

  3. So important to realize this! And if we don’t set our own boundaries, we let someone else set them for us. We used to worry that the average American watched 5-6 hours of TV a day. That seems like nothing compared to the number of hours consulting our smart devices. This communications major also remembers TV being called “the idiot box” by some and industry analysts sharing that consumers watched “the least objectionable programming” much of the time…

  4. I can say honestly that I typically forget and leave my cell phone sitting on my desk when I leave the house. I’m in no way tied to my phone — and have probably taken photos only a handful of times (OK, yes, when I was in Italy last year). I appreciate the ability I have to focus on the moment. Like you, Liz, I can’t multitask at ALL.

  5. Thanks for the input. I have noticed that millennials believe texting is a good biz communication tool; this group uses it as their primary communication tool. With my clients this age, I often have to educate them that us boomers see it as an invasion of our privacy.

    • Liz,

      I thinkyou definitely hit on an important topic especially with the millennial generation. You could set up an entire set of webinars or seminars on how to teach millennials some business and communication skills. It’s sort of like bridging the gap between children that are not reading because our reading programs in the system are not working. I am frustrated with millennials who “talk back” because they think they are entitled. I love technology because I do believe it is advantageous, but we need to go back to old fashion ways to communicate anhd teqach young people how to have decency of being considerate. Thanks for this fantastic blog subject. I hope people are paying attention. SukiDr.

  6. My cellphone is stupid and is usually in my car turned off. I almost never give anyone the number. I rarely text (it’s too hard when you have to press three times for each letter). Am I out of step with today’s culture? Maybe – but I don’t feel I’m missing out.

  7. I hear you. I remember counseling my son that “hey there” is not a proper salutation to a prospective employer. Communication skills and boundaries have changed – for sure, for sure!

  8. Yes, yes, yes! I’m on the soapbox with you Liz.

    There’s a great book I recently read–research for my High-Touch/High-Tech speaking topic–called Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle. It’s an eye-opening look at the slippery slope we’re on with cell phones replacing human contact and the impact of lack of downtime from devices.

    Although I do have to admit that being the know-it-all knowledge junkie that I am, I love to be able to “google it” and get immediately answers. :-/

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