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Attention: Don’t Make Your Family Compete With Your Phone

Attention: Don’t Make Your Family Compete With Your Phone

How do you know if you have a problem? Are you forgetting things in your life? Crucial moments with your children is something you don’t want to miss, because in a few years you will wish you had it back.

What can you do? STOP, think about if this time on your phone is really benefitting you, or if it’s just a time killer exercise. The chances are you don’t need to be on your phone 24/7.

You will struggle! Phones are addicting, you won’t be perfect, but just realizing the time you are missing out on can change your entire perspective for the better. Accept your mistakes, learn from them, and move on!

Learn more about Mike and my services at and connect at



00:00 Matt: Welcome to real financial planning, broadcast on Excel available. Wherever you get your podcasts. I’m Matt Robison, and I’m joined by Mike Morton, owner proprietor and operator of Morton financial advice and the host of financial planning for entrepreneurs an outstanding podcast that we’ve been teasing will be renamed at some point, don’t know when, but Mike has answers to all of your other questions, Mike, welcome back.

00:27 Mike: Thanks, Matt. Always great to be here with you,

00:30 Matt: Always a pleasure to have you. And we’ve been talking in recent weeks about the fact that this is badly named for a reason. This isn’t really a financial planning job. I I it is you’re a financial planner It is a financial planning show But it’s also really about kind of managing that interaction between how spend your time, where you put your focus, want to devote your energies and also your financial life. And today you wanted to talk about something that maybe leans more those other sets of issues a little bit less into, don’t know. Maybe you can explain to me how this connects to finance. What do you want to talk about

01:10 Mike: Yeah, that’s right. Some of these things don’t have a direct correlation to finance, what they do have in the realm of planning is how you want to enjoy your life. And that’s really important. And so a of that’s around money and, gaining that autonomy, financial independence, moving towards being able to provide for your kids education or other things that are. Money, but it also involves your energy, your time being that one limited resource, which is trying to trade off money and time when you start thinking about it. It’s oh yeah, that’s actually what I’m doing is I’m building up money and saving future spending so that I can enjoy more time. So that’s important to bring to the forefront of the conversation these other resources? So today’s topic is really around attention and the reason I’m finding this. In the past, you would have time and money. And energy, would think about those resources you want to be spending those and Wasn’t really as big of a deal 10, 20, 30 years ago. But in today’s environment, I feel that our attention is constantly being pulled away from what is really important to us. And so I thought it’s a good topic to talk about in terms of making sure your attention is focused. Where you want it to be. So each day, each week you’re getting the most enjoyment out of your time.

02:37 Matt: That’s a struggle that I think we all face and I have a feeling you’re talking about phones. You want to hit people right in the phone’s demon. I can’t believe you. You want to take away my phone don’t you? This has been the end of real finance like Borden. I’ve given up my phone.

02:56 Mike: Yeah. Yeah. That’s it. man I need a phone. Please cross it across.

03:01 Matt: I validate that I would rather leave the house without pants than without my phone. Seriously,

03:07 Mike: feel naked without

03:09 Matt: feel naked without my phone. No, that’s it. That’s it. I was reaching for an analogy there, but yeah, I do. feel. It feels so strange and you and I remember what it was like. You know I tell my kids, I grew up in Manhattan. I’m not sure everyone will connect to this experience. Maybe what you can do if you’re a little young is just go back and watch the original 1978 movie Superman, and you know how Superman is. Used to go to a phone booth to change. And make a big old joke about that they eventually moved to phone boosts that weren’t full booths. They were booze. That’s what they had when I was growing up in New York city. My kids don’t know what phone booths are anymore. And, what we used to have to do before cell phones if you wanted to meet your friends for a movie, used to be this function where you could call and the phone company, of paying for humans to be operators, eventually figured out they could use an automated system. And so if you want to make a collective call to someone, what you would get is five seconds to say your name, but five seconds can impart a lot of information. You would basically place a call from a phone booth from a half phone booth to your friends. And you would say the recorded voice would come on and say your name after the beep. And after beep you would say, meet me on 64th street for a movie at three 30. And that’s how you would arrange to do things back in those days. And now we’ve all got cell phones and I can’t imagine. Going back. I can’t I’d seriously rather live in the age of the

04:43 Mike: That’s the original, you got the original text messaging screen really fast for five seconds. The original text.

04:50 Matt: The original text was you go outside and scream as loudly as you can. Jimmy comes out to play. That’s like Saturday night live . My favorite sketch that they do is Keaton Thompson. The version is big. And now that he’s retired, Poppy has become in this sketch a pitch man for different products. And one of the ones pitches is like a dating app and he says, do you want to meet some go outside? There’s lot of people, the website is www dot, go It’s yeah, that, that actually, that is the original way to beat some people.

05:29 Mike: that’s right

05:30 Matt: All right. We’re way off topic here, but I be I’m joking and we did land on the lighter side of phones for a minute but you’re being serious there’s plenty of articles about this online people really do spend their parenting time looking down the front that I will admit I do it too. And it is a major addictive competition source for your attention.

05:53 Mike: Yeah. The stats are that people use their phones 344 times per day.

06:01 Matt: Oh, gosh,

06:02 Mike: That’s once every four minutes

06:05 Matt: I’m so embarrassed.

06:06 Mike: pick up your phone. So as you were talking there, something that struck me was a thing to think about. So for listeners out there you said I can’t leave the house without a phone because we find ourselves using the phone, like all the time, whenever there’s a minute that you’re a couple of seconds that your attention is not somewhere else. You reach for your phone. So just think of a time like you’re standing in line at a grocery store or waiting to get coffee, or you’re sitting in your car waiting for five minutes for your kid to come, after soccer practice, get in the car. Those couple of minutes here or there, if you didn’t have your can you just sit there? In silence thinking about something or looking out the window or saying hi to the person that’s next to you in line. And how that feels versus, Hey, I’m just bored. I will check my phone. There’s all these little micro moments throughout the day. That I feel we need to steal back those gaps and pauses, because if you think about all of those, I just feel by the end of the day, you were so much more energized by having breaks, pauses, gaps in time versus constantly pinging your brain with more information and checking.

07:15 Matt: The other piece that talked about our most recent show about the time management course that I took at the congressional management foundation. They need themselves. And one of the real insights that really stuck with me is the power of being very about how you spend your time by batching tasks at the time, the input that was grabbing your attention that they were on was incoming email. My gosh, how quaint that nowadays, but they were worried about the fact that you’d get a notification. You have a new email, outlook wants your attention, and you’re working on So what do you do? You drop what you’re working on, you go and you up splitting your attention and your focus and your multitasking. And now, instead of one job at a time, every job, a success, you’re doing three jobs at a time. Each one of them is half-assed.

08:12 Mike: And not even that, cause you’re talking about the work environment. So concentrating on one task, but your email is open and pinging you or whatever. And I’m just saying, even outside of that work context, do you really save yourself time? Like in the five minutes you’re waiting and you check your email to read something. Did that really save you time? You’re probably going to have to go back and answer it on the computer anyway, or the next day, or it brings up a work task. You’ve got to jot down, wouldn’t it be faster and easier to do that, to batch all that, right? Not check your email randomly in the morning while you’re making breakfast while you’re out at lunch in the evening. And just getting little tiny micro doses for a couple of minutes. I don’t believe in saving. Anytime you think, oh, I answered a couple of things. I don’t believe that saved you time. And in fact, I think it is you. Again with that energy, bringing back your energy, you’re going to be depleted by the end of the day, rather than rejuvenated.

09:04 Matt: Let me ask you a question about Cause I can hear, like most addicts I, cause I hear this voice in my own head and I can silently hear the voices of the heads of. Of our listeners now saying, oh, I don’t have to stop whenever I want. It’s just recreational usage. And I, I just want to relax. I’m actually saying all those things in my head right now. I really have. It’s oh yeah, it’s relaxing. Actually. It’s stressful. Check those. Is it actually relaxing? You? I don’t think it is. I think, especially if you’re checking the news, it’s like do you ever do that? And you’re like now I feel better But anyway, my question to you is how do you make that dividing line to know? Is this a problem? Is this actually reducing my wellbeing or my family’s wellbeing?

09:52 Mike: There’s a couple of comments there. One is how can you recall from the last 24 hours?

09:58 Matt: That’s a terrible test for me.

10:00 Mike: either, there

10:01 Matt: know where I am right now.

10:02 Mike: There’s your problem that I think, it’s a good test because we should, we all have pretty good working memories or we used to but by being distracted and your attention being taken away, you forget so many So what did you have. For breakfast in the morning, what did your child say to you? The last they said before they left was what did your spouse say to you last evening? Can you recall the whole conversation and those things really? You should be able to do that with your working memory. I can’t remember these things either. But we should be able to, and what, constantly , being more present is going to really be helpful. And I find that when your attention is focused and you’re present again, you will bring more energy rather than be sort of energy depleted.

10:45 Matt: Just to connect back to the theme that we started with at the top, we call this real financial planning. We just call it real because everything that comes through in what you were just saying, is about planning so that you’re doing you’re batching your life, right? You’re batching your focus and your attention.. What you focus on as a financial planner is trying to focus your resources, trying to manage your resources. And what you said at the top makes total sense. One of your resources, your most precious resource is your time. And your attention, which is the same thing. this is all about making the most of that limited resource

11:26 Mike: here. Yeah. This’ll hit home. I love the way you said that. And so many clients will say I just want more time to spend with my kids. That’s common. Yeah. I have a lot of people with young kids. I want more time to spend with my And yet at breakfast or a dinner or after school, when kids are around, are they focused looking right at their kids? How many of you raise your hand, have your phone at breakfast while the kids are actually there in front of you eating breakfast? That’s me. I got my hand up, so it’s like we say, we want this and we’re saving money so we get more time. yet the things are right in front of us right now. we’re not as focused as we could. On the that are most important to us.

12:10 Matt: Absolutely. I will cope with that. One of the things, and maybe we can do this about some of the things we can do, because I do feel like we’re nagging people here. But at least we’re admitting that we are part of the problem. Like us, we understand that this afflicts all of us. it’s not something to feel guilty about. These devices they’re addictive the same way. We actually have social science that shows this, that people are as addicted to social media as the engagement machine that’s driven by our phones. As they would be two or, any other casino game or I mean it’s designed to do that to you. So it’s something that I necessarily feel guilty about, but just to go to your breakfast table example, and maybe to turn that into a hit list of what I can do. One thing that I’ve tried to do is if I’m going to multitask at breakfast, and not give my kids my full attention, I’ll actually put that on the table with them. And I’ll say, you know what, this morning I’m preparing for a show. So I will bring my laptop to the table. I’ll put my phone away, but I’ll say, Hey kids, we’ll do breakfast. here, but I’m working this morning. And then some mornings I won’t, and I’ll just put all that stuff away.

13:26 Mike: Yeah. Yeah. no, that’s great. And it’s, I agree, Matt, not trying to nag anybody or, it’s definitely a problem that these devices are designed. To have you engage them, right? That’s they have hundreds and hundreds of engineers just working on how to make it more engaging so that you stay focused on that website, on that device, whatever it is. And also I’ll make a larger point. If you are happy with everything, then great, skip to the next podcast episode on the next topic. this, but I do find that many. say they want to spend more time in certain areas and yet they still have their devices And so if you find yourself in that here’s some ideas that like, Hey yeah, I do want to work on this. I can get better. I do want to be more present, at times. So I love what you said, being aware and talking with your kids. I had the same thing on a certain topic. It’s like bringing it up with kids and saying, oh, yep. Here’s what I’m doing right now. Or here’s the explanation to: They can only see what they see. They don’t know what’s going on inside of you. So we often find, just saying it out loud, here’s why the situation’s happening or here’s what I’m doing right now. So that they have that understanding.

14:30 Matt: Yeah, I’ll tell you what I, here’s another thing that I’ve done with my kids in terms of just putting issues on the table, we will sometimes talk about how. Bad habits, good habits. And trying to kick a habit we don’t like. And one of the things that I’ve done to normalize it, which my wife’s really good at too, is to explicitly say we all develop these things, So you don’t have to feel self-conscious about the fact that you’ve developed cracking your knuckles, whatever it is. Yep. I have habits too. And so we’re going to explicitly, so we’re not nagging each other. It doesn’t feel like nagging. I’m explicitly giving you a position. You me out. You say it. If you see me doing habit X, that I’m trying to kick you, you tell me, and I’ve done that with phones. I have said, Hey, if you see me, when we’re hanging out, if you see me looking down at my phone, Just say, Hey dad, look at your phone and I’ll slap myself on the forehead, which you should do. Given what we know about concussions these days, I’ll slap myself on the forehead and I’ll say, yep, you’re right.

15:35 Mike: Yeah, no, that’s great, man. I love that. So a couple of ideas, I love saying it out loud I love your idea habits, calling it out within the family, getting that accountability. If there are certain things that you want to work on in terms of your habits and especially getting the kids involved again, just building those healthy habits around communication. Ah man. That’s so wonderful. So a couple other things that listeners can think about doing, if want to make progress on this is turn off your phone at certain times, that’s an obvious statement, but just think right now, come up with a time, whether it’s, oh, at dinner time and for the rest of the evening, until the kids are. in bed, Or if it’s when the kids go into the kitchen in the morning they’re off to school, whatever, there are certain times, or, can even hours from six to 8:00 PM or whatever is. There is a time you can completely put your phone away. Now, if you’re going to do this I also challenged you to put your phone away for that time And after that time is over. Think about how it felt, how you felt during that time when the phone was completely gone. In a different

16:39 Matt: Anxious. I feel very free. Anxious, Mike.

16:42 Mike: suspect you. Now that might be true. If you leave your phone at home you like go out, then you might feel naked and anxious, but I suspect if you put it away for half an hour at breakfast, or know you just put it in the the other room, leave in your bedroom or leave it in a different room for that dinner time that you will feel really more energized

17:01 Matt: all I’m going to back you up on this. Cause I’m going to suggest an experiment to all of our listeners. And they’re all going to say, Matt, crazy. They’re actually, you’re going to hate this or you hate this idea. I guarantee it. All right. Here’s what you do at some point. Intentionally crash your browser in a way that gets rid of all of your open And at first you will feel five seconds you’ll feel, oh no. Oh no. I really had been meaning to read all those articles. I totally meant to do that. And then. I suspect that most of you will feel this feeling of you know what, I don’t have all that hanging over me. So I think that the same thing is probably going to be true. If you take. Mike, your advice on this like phone in the other room break At first, going to take some, getting used to it’s going to be anxiety provoking, but once you get used to it, a bet, there’s to be an awful feeling especially if you communicate like with your work about it and you say. Like w I’m not available six to eight. I am not available. That’s not, it’s not possible for everyone. I think you’re going to get an off feeling. Hey, look, I have a suggestion for before I let you even respond to me, responding to you. Let’s be responsive to people who keep us on the air on WKXL radio. Let’s take a very quick break from this episode and let’s hear from our sponsor. They can get our listeners attention for just a minute and then let’s come back and let’s continue this conversation for some of our radio listeners. This’ll, this’ll be just on the other end of the break for some of our podcast listeners. You might have to wait a week, but we’ll be right back.

18:43 Mike: That sounds good.

Thanks for joining us on financial planning for entrepreneurs. If you like what you heard, please subscribe to and rate the podcast on Apple iTunes, Google play Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can connect with me on linkedin or I’d love to get your feedback. If you have a comment or question, please email me at . Until next time thanks for tuning in!

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Attention: Don’t Make Your Family Compete With Your Phone

Episode 73 •

07th June 2022