All day. Every day. Sometimes it came from my pocket. Other times my bag. Still other times it possessed my phone, causing it to dance across my desk. The thing was buzzing…even when it wasn’t buzzing. I began to hear and feel “phantom buzzing”—buzzing coming from my pocket when in fact there was no phone in said pocket.
I wasn’t insane. I was simply living with push email turned on. When you signed up for a smartphone you didn’t sign up to be bothered, 24/7. Push back by turning off push email. Initially, I worried I’d miss important updates or miss urgent messages from clients. None of that happened (turns out I’m not as important as I thought). Instead, my life felt considerably more under control.
As we live our digital lives we are witness to countless small miracles every day—from GPS and picture messaging to countless little useful apps and Angry Birds Star Wars. Point being: unless we choose not to be, we’re never not stimulated. According to Pew Internet, 46 percent of American adults owned smartphones as of Feb. 2012, up from 35 percent in May 2011. The pace at which we’ve adopted these devices is stunning.