“Depending on the study you pick, smartphone-users touch their device somewhere between twice a minute to once every seven minutes. Conducting tasks while receiving e-mails and phone calls reduces a worker’s IQ by about ten points relative to working in uninterrupted quiet. That is equivalent to losing a night’s sleep, and twice as debilitating as using marijuana. By one estimate, it takes nearly half an hour to recover focus fully for the task at hand after an interruption."
- The Economist, 12/7/17
Being Available…and the Smartphone
“My husband looks at his phone at dinner, rather than talking to the kids. He says he has to always be available for work…”
“My wife is a news junkie – she would much rather be on her tablet than talk to any of us.”
“My husband has started to flirt with his ex girlfriend online. Now, even when he’s in the bathroom I wonder if he’s texting her.”
“The phone is always there. And no matter how important the conversation, if it buzzes, my partner has to look. I hate that.”
I cannot tell you how many couples I’ve worked with who find that electronics are hurting their relationship. Often, it’s the phone, and often it’s an ADHD partner who simply can’t put it down, and can’t resist the temptations it provides.
There are some reasons for this electronics addiction that ADHD heightens – constant stimulation; the surprise factor – you never know what might show up; its immediacy; and lots of little squirts of dopamine that make you feel good. These appeal to all of us – and to those with ADHD even more.
Even so, the numbers above surprised me. Twice as debilitating as marijuana?! Losing a night’s sleep?! Please have a conversation about the toll that electronics are having on your family, and consider setting up some ‘electronics free’ chunks of time that happen every day or week. A ‘no phones at dinner’ rule probably makes sense (lots of chance to connect and converse there!) and perhaps at least one weekend afternoon or evening that can be set aside for family or couple fun.
We should be at least as worried about not being available for our loved ones as we are for our work or Instagram pals.
Want to be more available to your partner? .... take my Live ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - starts January 30th. Don't delay - Register now. Questions? Please contact Melissa.
For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including free:
- Online treatment overview;
- Downloadable chapters of my books;
- A community forum with other couples facing similar issues;
- A large number of blog posts on various topics;
Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. Starts January 30th!