As a CEO of a marketing agency in one of the largest cities in North America, imagine my horror when I realized on a busy weekday morning that I had left my iPhone at home! After pulling over on the road to search my car, “maybe it slid down between the seats,” I thought. I checked my pants,jacket and briefcase several times. Nothing! I headed to the office thinking maybe I left it in the office last night when I left late. As I walked in the office door, one of my colleagues told me my wife had called to say I had indeed left my phone at home. With meetings planned and my daily schedule booked, I knew I was going to spend the entire day disconnected. Could I do it? I actually thought of going back home, but it would have thrown off the timing for my day. This seemed like such a huge decision, but I decided to challenge myself and spend the day without the phone.
At first it was extremely difficult. I found myself reaching for the phone every few minutes. It was even more difficult when I left the office for some client meetings, as being in the car without being “plugged in” highlighted my dependence on this device! I didn’t know what emails I was receiving, what my staff was doing, I couldn’t make up time with client calls from the car, and there were no texts or LinkedIn updates! I was in the car thinking about all the things I could be doing but couldn’t. I felt very disconnected. By the afternoon, I was looking forward to getting back to the office to see what I had missed while on my technology vacation. My biggest surprise was that there were no immediate client needs, no burning staff questions… in fact it was business as usual. I had always thought that my iPhone helped me to make up for time I would otherwise not find anywhere else, but the reality was that it wasn’t the device, but instead, my desire to feel like I am connected and am moving things forward.
So, on my drive home that night, I did what I haven’t done in a long time, I rolled down the window and played with the air through my fingers as I cranked up the stereo and enjoyed the ride!
My challenge to all the other business owners and CEOs out there, is to see if you can last one weekday without your mobile device. Can you do it and if so, what was the most significant thing you noticed? Will this have any impact on how you conduct business when on the road or out of the office?