I think most of us suspect we might have a problem with being glued to our smartphones too much.

Consider these stats from this survey by Time magazine:

  • 84 percent of respondents said that they could not go a single day without their cellphones.
  • 50 percent of Americans sleep with their phone next to them like a teddy bear or a spouse.
  • 20 percent of respondents check their phone every 10 minutes.

And guess what? That survey was from 2012! I haven’t had time to review a more recent survey but I imagine it’s only gotten worse.

Personally, I’ve considered trading my smart phone for a dumb phone, but I’m not ready to be that radical.

So in the meantime I’m experimenting with ways to help me curb my insatiable appetite for being connected 24/7.

My latest experiment is what I call “The Airplane Mode Game.” Here’s how it works:

See how many hours a day you can keep your phone in Airplane Mode.

For those who didn’t know: Airplane Mode disconnects you from the internet entirely.

When I turn Airplane Mode on I feel more relaxed.

It’s like my brain knows it no longer has instant access to the world’s information and it’s finally allowed to calm down.

Plus, I sometimes wonder if at a deep level, we pick up on all the invisible signals being transmitted through the airwaves. I don’t want to get too spooky about it. But doesn’t it seem weird that there are all these WiFi and cell phone signals in the atmosphere surrounding us?

This came up yesterday when my sister-in-law told me that my phone call came through on her phone for few seconds. At the time, I was using my BlueTooth headset and talking to one of my business partners when suddenly I lost connection for a few seconds. It was during this time that my call got picked up by my sister-in-law’s phone (she was talking to my wife at the time) and she heard my voice on her phone?!

So anyway, it just creeps me out a little when I think about all these signals going back and forth around me. So I just want to minimize “the noise”. And The Airplane Game is a great way to do that.

How To Play the Airplane Game

It’s really quite simple: put your phone on Airplane Mode at night and then turn it off sometime the next morning.

When you turn it on make sure to also start your stopwatch on your phone. Then when you turn it off, see how many hours you were able to be offline. If you go into Airplane Mode at 9:00 p.m. and make it all the way to 8:00 a.m. that’s 11 whole hours!! That’s a good score. 🙂

My goal is to be offline more than I’m online in a 24-hour period. This means I need to be offline at least 12 hours and 1 minute! If I am, then I win! Yay!!

So I have to disconnect around 8:30 p.m. so that I can be back online by about 8:35 a.m. If I do that then I’m happy with my progress. It’s just a good feeling to know that the majority of my time is not spent online.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the internet and what it’s done for society.

If we didn’t have the internet I wouldn’t be able to work from home and be around my family so much. I wouldn’t be able to take a 2-month long RV trip to San Diego and work from the road. I wouldn’t be able to hop on a Skype call with a client in Australia and then hang up and then send an email update to my partner in New York. I love that I can do that!

I believe the internet has caused more good to be done in the world than bad. But I also realize it’s an extremely addicting medium!

It has the potential to distract us from the most important things in life and business. So we must manage our online appetite or suffer the consequences. And this is why I’m playing the Airplane Game as soon as I hit publish. Time to disconnect! 🙂