With our growing reliance on smartphones, I had an interesting revelation one day when my iPhone froze during a software update. Something I know we all can relate to.

You know how it starts, you start getting those red alerts that there is a new software update. At first, you ignore it, hey I’ve got better things to do right now. A few days passed by and your App Store shows millions of app updates waiting.

You hit the Update button on a few essentials like LinkedIn and Instagram – and nothing happens. Worst now your folder where those 2 apps where happily camping is completely frozen leaving your apps unclickable and unusable.

That’s when it dawns on you hey, maybe it’s time to make that darn software update because maybe the folks at Apple included some bug fixes for these exact annoyances. My battery shows 40%, so I power up my device and start the update while continuing to work. It’s amazing how when doing work and your phone is updating (aka dead), it means no downtime snacking breaks. I continue working while occasionally glancing at the white thin progress bar that seems to simultaneously process the entire town’s iPhone updates. But nothing!

It’s evening, I’m getting hungry my wife is calling: “pick me up from work and we’ll get some dinner?” I respond yes, but I am just waiting for my phone to complete updating. An hour passed and nothing. “Are we there yet?” I promise her it’s almost there. She gives up and decided to come home instead.

I give up and decide to go to dinner leaving that “lizard phone” at home, pretty much “going naked.” Since I now have no device, my fave Pandora stations are gone – so no music and no red light glances to see if the world still standing. And what’s more at every red light I look around and all drivers next to me are deeply engrossed in their devices. My wife’s device serves as a “teacher sub” but far from that other machine recuperating back home.

Dinner finally arrived, it was a great choice and another bookmark to our Yelp list, but grrr… no phone. I don’t know if it’s true but some people say that habit of lighting a cigarette after dinner in recent years has migrated to turning on your device and checking what you missed in the past 15 minutes now that your belly is comfortably filled. But grrr…no phone.

According to a 2015 Deloitte study, Americans are collectively checking their smartphones 8 billion times per day. On average, Americans across all age groups check their phone 46 times per day. That’s 33 looks more than 2014, so I am sure these figures have already spiked up since.

What can we do to minimize this “iron screen grip” on our lives? Part of it I think has to do with changing how our storytelling mind processes the world. We’re constantly seeking for meanings to make sense of the world around us. So we come up with stories with bad, good, and neutral endings. The trick is to stop producing stories with a call to action that involves your device in order to resolve a situation or satisfy an immediate gratification for info fix or other FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) variants.

It’s up to you how you effectively edit your stories’ resolutions into compelling and mindful experiences with less “interruptive advertising” of your own making. So next time when you get the urge for a mindless mobile tinkering, simply change your CTA and think of other ways you could enrich the experience of your current passion project. Look around you, sometimes unrelated events with the smallest B-roll details may trigger a new way to delight your customers.

Not all roads need to lead to your device!

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This is post originally appeared at Visual Storytelling Institute. View original post.

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