Quitting smoking (or day 3 without my iPhone)


About 3 weeks ago I dropped my iPhone. The screen cracked, but it still worked and I bought it at Best Buy for their $15 a month protection plan that allows you to get a new one if anything happens to it. (Other than submersion; which I don’t get. An accident is an accident.) I took it in to get it replaced and it was back-ordered. So I held on to it until they had some in stock. I finally turned it in three days ago and I have to tell you that my behavior “in the wild” has been noticeably impacted.

If you read this post you’ll see that I love my iPhone and have injected it into my life.

The first thing I noticed was that I check email, Twitter, Instagram, iFOUND and LinkedIn WAY more than I thought possible. When I first wake up. At stoplights. While driving down the highway going 95 mph. You know . . . those little slices of free time. I didn’t feel so much disconnected as I felt, like I had a lot to check once I was in front of my laptop.

I also resorted to creating a handwritten list of things to do: like the old days. Felt very prehistoric.

Today, I realized how much I use my phone to preserve the moment. (I was NEVER a video camera/camera dad but with iPhone in hand, it was hard to miss an opportunity. I’d shoot and then upload it to Flickr.) I took my kids to the museum and in the past when I’ve done this I get some real usage out of my phone. Today, my son found the station with the huge fan that blows the light scarfs up to the ceiling and was having a great playing with them. A moment I would have captured with video or photo if I’d had my iPhone. (Yes. I’m familiar with the argument of being in the moment vs. recording the moment.) I was also unable to text my wife to let her know we had made it or forward her a picture of them playing at the museum. In a way it felt like I was on a long hike and could not contact someone if I needed to.

Yesterday was also strange because I went for my Saturday morning ride and was unable to check-in on Foursquare at key landmarks along the way. (I do this for points and to let the wife-unit know where I am along the route.) I also missed the chance to take a really cool picture with Instagram of a young man whose bumper was a snowboard. (The car had been hit and the bumper lost so he replaced it with a snowboard. I love Colorado!)

I’m officially going through withdrawals but it also shed light on how my behavior has evolved with the tools that I now have compared to the tools I used to have. I now look to the device to enhance and share experiences I’m having. I reread this post and I still do many of the same things, I’ve just added some behaviors and use it less as a distraction. I guess it’s not the surprising I just hadn’t thought about it until now.

I’ve never smoked but I’m starting to get a sense of how hard it must be to quit. My friend, who used to smoke, said that smoking was something he did at specific times. With a cup of coffee. After a good meal. While trying to look tough, etc. I use my iPhone in a similar way.  Not sure mine’s a physical addiction as much as it’s a psychological one, but it does sting. Supposed to get my replacement phone this week. I hope so. Starting to get the shakes!

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I'm currently the Academic Director of the Denver MBA at the Daniels College of Business. I manage the student experience and enjoy helping our students acquire the leadership skills they need for the next phase of their professional journey.

I'm also an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. Since 2010, I've developed the 2nd most collegiate-level, digital marketing courses in the United States. I teach across a wide array of programs including Executive MBA, MBA@Denver, MS Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

I'm professionally passionate about digital culture, artificial intelligence and cognitive neuroscience. I'm married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, cycling, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive + surf.