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  • Writer's pictureScott Behson

Put Down the Smartphone During Parenting Time!

Smartphones- Time Suck to Avoid #3 (or, I’m Going To Texting From DisneyLand!!!)

While checking work emails on my phone, I almost missed out on this!

While checking work emails on my phone, I almost missed out on this!

My family and I flew down to Disney World the first week of January. We’re a Disney family and love being in the happiest place on Earth.

The first week in January is a very slow work time for me- it is just after the holidays and still two weeks from the beginning of the spring semester. I am filling in for our department chair this semester (she’s on a well-deserved sabbatical) so I did have things to get done, but there was nothing super-pressing for me to finish until I got back from Florida and back on campus.

However, while waiting in lines with Amy and Nick, I found myself checking for work emails on my ancient Blackberry (seriously, I think I’m the last Blackberry customer still out there- 2% market share of new phone sales!!!). Well, that’s not so bad, I’m just waiting in line.

But then I was checking the phone while walking through the park.

I even found myself pulling the phone out at dinnertime. Lots of people do this, but I was with my family, my in-laws and two family friends. Pretty rude. Worse still, Tigger and Eeyore were coming to our table and I almost missed it! (at least I didn’t check emails from Space Mountain!)

And, you know what? I didn’t even have very many emails (I confess I was also checking in on the blog and my blog twitter account- talk about a Time Suck!). And even if I did, it’s not like I work in a nuclear power plant. So what if it took me until the end of my trip to reply? People knew I was away, and no one at work would have cared that much. And, hey, I have tenure, so what are they going to do about it anyway!

I’m sure I’m not alone in checking the smartphone for work emails and texts when I really should be focused on family time. Most of you have more demanding work situations that I do, and I understand sometimes this is necessary.

However, I’m convinced we do this to ourselves even more than our employers do. Sometimes, we are our own strictest taskmasters.

As friend, blog reader and great dad, Dan, commented on FWF a while ago:

“I find that another BIG issue when it comes to flexibility is imposed by the individual who is seeking it. That’s right – have a look in the mirror before you lay blame on the boss or the corporate culture. It’s been my experience that most men who have worked hard to build the reputation of being a hard worker have a substantial amount of difficulty dealing with the inevitable by-products of working more flexibly.”

After my two and a half days in the parks checking emails on my cellphone- I took a long look in the mirror (no, not that one– I know I’m the fairest of them all!) and kept the phone in my fannypack pocket, where it belonged, for the rest of the trip.

How do you resist the temptation of smartphones? Let’s discuss in the comments section.

PS- a future post will look at how, when used wisely, smartphones can actually open up more time for working flexibly and spending more time with family

On Monday, look for an article about how Tide laundry detergent is targeting dads in their forward-thinking ad campaign. On Thursday, look for a GREAT guest post as part of FWF’s Sharing Experiences series. 

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