MOBILEAfter a particularly difficult day with the usual strains and stresses of holding rather a lot of balls up in the air, I need to vent about mobile phones!

Come into my life with me…….

Last week I was trying to give some money to a large boutique. “Do you have a smaller size?” I ask a bored shop assistant texting on her mobile. “No”, she comments without looking up!

Next stop a taxi to the airport. Three times we nearly have an accident because the driver is texting, calling friends and taking business calls. (Yes -business! He is running another business while working and receiving money from this one!)

I fly (thankfully the pilot appears to have been able to concentrate) and safely reach my destination!

Another phone obsessed driver takes me to the hotel where the receptionist asks me to wait while she finishes her text! As a business owner I start to wonder how much this is all costing us? I have a strict rule about NO TEXTING OR MOBILE CALLS at work and wonder if this needs to be written on the wall of every business and organisation!

Later I notice what appears to be an angry rash on my chest and go to the local doctor and his mobile rings while examining me. Wait for this because you won’t believe me but 100% true – he says, “Just hang on a moment while I finish here and I’ll be with you”, puts his phone down and continues to examine my chest and tell me what he thinks. I feel like I am now truly in mobile lala land and walk out and back to my hotel. The doctor’s receptionist rings and tells me I forgot to pay. I cannot write down the words I replied but I’m guessing you can predict!

The next day I give a seminar to 40 teachers and as usual ask them to turn off mobiles so they can concentrate and also not to video. However, I note 14 people texting during the day (you are right- by this stage I have become an obsessional noter of mobile faux pas) and one guy actually quietly videoing me. At the end I politely take him aside and ask him to delete it and twice during my chat he has to take out his vibrating phone and check text messages!

What is really happening here? Let’s not kid ourselves! We are developing a mass form of ADHD that  is costing huge amounts to organisations and businesses in terms of lost focus, poor concentration, less real engagement with tasks, less productivity, poor social skills and massive customer dissatisfaction.

We teach children at my education centre and we teach them to focus, give of their best and improve concentration skills. I just hope their parents can get off their phones long enough so they can notice how much children want to engage and actually be present to their experiences and each other. So many times during this summer I have observed excited children at theme parks, beaches and cafes trying to talk to each other and parents only to be “shushed” because Mummy or Daddy (or both!) are on their phones. I want to push my cappuccino aside, lean over and exclaim, “”Who cares? Your children are here NOW -BE PRESENT TO THEM WHILE YOU CAN!”

Yesterday I designed a theme wall about surfing with a mixed age of children (6-11). In 35 minutes they designed the art work, worked out the labels and helped me take photograph and plan the writing and learning activities associated with this theme. They worked out mathematics concepts associated with surfing, argued, made decisions and even told me what I needed to finish before I could leave! How did they do all this in 35 minutes? Simple- they stuck to their plans and had no interruptions. In fact when their parents arrived to pick them up they were so absorbed they had no idea it was time to go and were reluctant to leave!

The answer is really not hard. TURN MOBILES OFF AT WORK. Be fair! Be honest! Don’t try to have a social life at work.

If you value your relationships turn them off occasionally so you can be WITH your friends, partner or kids.

I am running staff training tomorrow for my company and I think you can guess what will be at the top of my agenda!


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