9 Signs That You Are Addicted to Your Smartphone & What to Do About It

Phone obsessed?

I left my house this morning to drop the kids off at school with my three essentials – my phone, my keys, and my coffee.  My purse takes second place to my phone.  If I get really desperate and run out of coffee, there’s an app for that.  We’re in the digital age and I’m riding the wave just like anyone else.  With three children that I do not want hooked on devices, it’s important for me to be painfully aware of how I am using the technology.  Am I modeling what I’d like to see in them or am I doing the good old “do what I say, not what I do?” technique?

As some of you know, we managed to pull off a family digital detox this summer by selling it as a “1970’s Summer”.  It was wicked, but now we’re back to reality and I am, after all, a Social Chick.  Below you will find 9 signs that you may be addicted to your phone but it is also my own personal “watch list” to help keep my mild phone addiction in check.

Just what is the definition of addiction?

Miriam Webster Definition of Addiction

Does the Miriam-Webster definition above sound familiar?  IF so, read on.  If not, great, you may be in the clear – either that or in denial;)  I’ve laid out nine signs, each with an “extreme condition”.

9 Signs That You May Be Hooked.

  1. While your friend/child/spouse is talking, you’re wondering how much longer it will take for them to finish so you can check your phone. In extreme conditions, you check it while they’re talking right in front of them.
  2. You bring it with you to the bathroom. In extreme conditions, you whip it out in public bathrooms because you got a moment away from your dinner guest to check what’s happening “out there”.
  3. You bring it with you to bed (yes, I know, many people use it as an alarm clock but surprisingly enough, there are actual clocks made and sold as alarm clocks). In extreme conditions, you check it after you kiss your partner goodnight and it’s the very first thing you do after opening your eyes in the morning.
  4. You check it while driving because you can’t wait that extra fifteen to twenty minutes it will take to reach your destination. In extreme conditions, you find that you have to respond to messages right there and then while you are driving.
  5. You check your phone during your child’s performance. In extreme conditions, you’re on it while she/he is actually singing/dancing/playing…sometimes the whole time!
  6. You feel lost or empty when you forget your phone somewhere. In extreme conditions, you can’t focus or function when you don’t have it.
  7. When you have alone time, the first thing you do is hang out with your phone. In extreme conditions, it’s the only thing you do.
  8. When you’re out in nature, taking a bath, eating a meal, petting a cat, watching a sunrise, you obsess about capturing the moment in a photo and posting it. In extreme conditions, you take yourself out of the moment to ensure that you do just this and post it right there and then thus missing the moment.
  9. You know how your friends and family are doing based purely on their social media posts. In extreme conditions, you don’t actually talk to them anymore, you simply comment on their posts.

Quote: connection and phones
If you can relate to two or more of these, you may have some issues and need some time away from your phone.  It is easy for us to get attached to our phones because, on the other side, there are people.  It is in our nature to want to connect with others in a loving and meaningful way.  Being addicted or slightly obsessed with our phone takes us out of the moment and we lose touch with what’s going on inside of us.  We disconnect from that creative flow and lose touch with that face to face contact.

The Good News:

The good news is, there is hope for us.  Here are some tips on what to do about it, along with a shameless plug for Vicki Chick’s grounding and self-nurturing  Joy of Missing Out (aka #JOMO) retreat (I know it’s amazing because I attended one last spring  and got nothing but awesomeness out of it):

5 Tips on Recovering:

  1. Take a week to notice your behaviours around your phone. Once you are aware, make a plan with an accounta-buddy* to make a slight change.  This could be as simple as “I will not use my phone when my child is talking to me”
  2. Do you like to do things BIG? Go on a digital detox. You can navigate through one yourself.  Check out Rebecca Coleman’s article here on tips.  The other solution is to go with a group, go off the grid do an actual digital detox retreat.  (This is where the upcoming #JOMO Retreat would come in handy).
  3. Once a week try doing something without your phone. Lock your phone away and get the paints or your writing tools.  Perhaps you’re a hiker…get the boots out.  Spend an hour or two just letting the creative flow through your body and notice how you feel.  Give time back to yourself.
  4. Ask for help. If you’re concerned that you are in the extreme and don’t see a way out, ask for help.  Talk to a trusted advisor, a counselor, a mentor, or your local clergy.  There is always help available when we reach out and ask for it.
  5. Set boundaries for yourself. I’ve heard people say, for example, that they don’t allow their kids in the bathroom while they’re using it but boundaries only work if you stick with them.  Set boundaries like that for your phone and then stick to them.  If it’s hard to remember because these behaviours are so ingrained, post up sticky-notes to help remind you.  Practice makes perfect.


*An accounta-buddy is someone that understands what you’re doing and supports you.  We coined the term in Vicki’s coaching groups for someone that will stand by you, check in with you, and call you on your crap.  They’re awesome.  Anyone need an accounta-buddy? I may be looking.

Seriously, I’d love to hear from you. Drop us a comment or connect online – ironic, isn’t it?  Facebook. Twitter. Email.

Yours truly,


Vicki McLeod and Karina Cebuliak are the Social Chicks . They offer social media tips and training. Vicki is the host of Everyday Happiness: The Pajama Podcasts and is a business and personal coach and consultant. Find her at www.mainstreetcommunications.ca

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Mindfully Going Back to School

5 Tips for Mindfully Going Back to School

Mindfully Going Back to School

As the light shifts across my kitchen table and our 1970’s summer comes to an end, I hold myself with certain sadness, mindfully aware of the changing seasons and routine.  It has been a summer of wins for our family.  We successfully pulled off a family digital detox with a flashback in time to the 1970’s when kids could just be kids and free play all day long.  Tuesday is back to school for my three kids and back to routine for all of us.  Whether you’re happy or sad for a return to school and new routines, here are my five tips for mindfully going “back to school” as a family.

  1. The Art of Noticing:

    Notice how you are feeling. Take five to ten minute breaks all throughout the day to stop, breathe, and notice your body.  Are you holding tension in your body?  How are you feeling?  Are the feelings yours or are you taking on energy in the family?  This can even be done while you are doing last last last minute (so last minute that the shelves are empty and what’s left is in the clearance bin) shopping.  Stop, breathe, observe, relax (SBOR??).  Here’s Vicki’s post on “Meditation Made Easy“.

    Pema Chodron’s Article on “Turn Your Thinking Upside Down”

  2. Social Connection:

    Socially connect with other parents and ask for help when needed. Coffee dates, phone chats, helping a friend – nurture your human need for connection outside of social media and connect in person.  Even if your week is hectic, take time for yourself with a good friend. Make it a #JOMO break.  What the heck is JOMO you say?  Follow me here – it’s pretty cool stuff, actually.

  3. Family Meetings & Check-ins:

    Create space in your schedule to gather in your family. With busy and hectic lives, it can be easy to overlook this aspect.  Imagine creating rituals around gathering in your family – like a momma duck gathers in her ducklings.  No matter how old your kids are and how busy you are, it has a far reaching ripple effect when we bring our family in close.  This could be a fifteen minute check in before bedtime.  It could be story time or games night.  It could be that you take ten minutes with each person before bed.  Create your own special time.

  4. Master These Skills:

    Saying “no” and practicing kind and gentle thoughts. Saying no frees you up to say yes to someone or something else (thanks to Vicki Chick for that life tip).  Keep in mind that the first couple of weeks back to a school routine can be hectic and disruptive to everybody in the home.  You may need to say “no” to things that you’d normally want to do just to save yourself from crazy-making.  Practicing kind and gentle thoughts can help you get through the week.  Try these on for size:

    1. I’m so grateful for myself and my ability to______________.
    2. I am doing the very best I can and I love myself for that.
    3. Tonight, I am going to take care of myself by_______________.

      Do you really want to go. Tip 2 in a Life Hack article on "Saying No".

      Do you really want to go. Tip 2 in a Life Hack article on “Saying No”.

  5. Don’t Fall into the Comparing Trap:

    You are doing the best you can at any given moment. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your insides to other people’s outsides.  Social media is a great way to pass the time away but it’s also an easy way to get distracted and start comparing your life to others.  Remember that you are amazing.  Just because one mom seems to have it all together and is posting pictures of the most spectacular bento box lunches you’ve ever seen does not mean that you are the worst.

Words to remember through the first couple of weeks:

  • Gentleness
  • Breathe
  • Self-care (Radical self-care)
  • Laughter
  • Love
  • Connect
  • Rest

I wish you the very best.  Enjoy every crazy moment.  Share it with us online too!


Want more? Listen in to our Back2School Blab this Friday, September 11th.

Listen to The Social Chicks and Lori Graham on Saturday as we discuss
Back2School Thriving or Surviving?”
Friday, September 11th at 1:30pm PST

Want to join in on the conversation?  Use hashtag #businessblab
Tweet to @lori_graham @thesocialchicks
Want to join in on the Blab but don’t know how?  Follow this link for the Vicki Chick Blab How-to.

Karina Cebuliak
The Social Chicks

What Not to Wear: A Social Chick and Her Wardrobe

MISSION: Show up in style to Social Media Camp.
ACTION PLAN: Hire Brianna Carson of What Would Audrey Wear? for a wardrobe analysis and action plan for a mindfully crafted professional wardrobe.
RESULT: More than I bargained for & a lesson in what scares me about shining like a star.

This year I had the lucky fortune of getting acquainted with a personal style coach.  That’s right, a PERSONAL STYLE COACH!  What’s that, you may ask?  Let me allow Brianna Carson of “What Would Audrey Wear?” answer this one for me:

Brianna Carson of What Would Audrey Wear?

“I specialize in assisting professional women aged 20-60 communicate effectively with their wardrobes, helping them to get that dream job, feel confident representing their business, or enable them to feel authentic with who they are and how they present themselves in all area in their lives.”

I have had an eclectic collection of clothes for quite some time now.  I have three younger sisters and a lot of very giving friends.  I am given a lot of clothes and have, over the years had a bit of a revolving door on funky finds.  Clothes come in and out depending on what catches my eye.  Some are given to me and in turn, I give some away.  As a result, I don’t feel that my wardrobe has been crafted mindfully with intention nor is it very cohesive.  I just pop on items that make me happy which often means cozy (read: leggings) or ready for anything (read: jeans and a t-shirt).  Being in a professional and rather social industry, one can only go so far with tights and jeans.  It is with this in mind that I approached Brianna to assist me in putting together some signature items that I could feel comfortable in and show up in style to Social Media Camp.  Suit up and show up.  Little did I know what I was really in for…

We started by doing a full wardrobe analysis which comprises of pulling everything out of the good ‘ol closet.

Wardrobe Analysis

We then went through each piece and answered the following key questions:

1.) Does it suit me
2.) Do I ever wear it?
3.) Is it trashed/faded/old?
4.) Does it need to be hemmed or fixed or dry cleaned?
5.) Does it fit with where my mindfully crafted professional wardrobe?

There were a few exceptions.  My old VW Rabbit shirt was allowed to stay in a sentimental pile as were many of my wear around the house and gardening clothes.  Many of the items I had were old and worn, didn’t suit me (color was off, didn’t fit right, etc.).  I had a few that needed to get dry cleaned which Brianna took care of for me.  No excuses now.  I have a couple of hand-me-downs which are super cute but need some TLC by a tailor – in comes Brianna to the rescue.  She just happens to have a go-to tailor that lives close by. It’s a match made in heaven.  Brianna also made a few rules for me.

Rule #1 – No more shopping where teenagers shop or accepting cheaply made hand-me-downs that don’t fit.
Rule #2 – No more “fun” pieces – looking for anchor pieces now.

Brianna put together five signature outfits for me that I could wear right away, without any shopping.  My wardrobe needs anchor pieces (think: boyfriend jeans, plain tanks, plain shirts, LBD – little black dress, flats, and sandals).

5 Key Outfits ready to go

This entire process was not an easy one for me.  To break it down in bite size chunks for you, I had various different thoughts such as:

1.) Who am I if I don’t wear these clothes?
2.) She says people are going to notice me – that’s scary – so now I have to really stand in my power (read Marianne Williamson’s quote on truly being in our power – our true *fear*)
3.) Does this mean I need to face “ultra-maturity”?  Check out Vicki McLeod’s Main Street Page for home truths about maturity.
4.) Can’t I be professional and funky at the same time?

All of these worries were mulling around in my head as I went to bed that night and in the morning I received this email from Brianna:

So I was trying to categorize you least night and put together a lovely little plan but it just wasn’t working.  I took breaks, I looked at more pictures, I even left the house to clear my head: nothing!  I could not figure your style out for the life of me.  So then I went to bed, and I dreamed of you.  no joke.  And you know what I realized?  YOU ARE NOT CATEGORIZABLE!  You, Karina, are the first client I’ve ever had who defies category.  You’re amazing!!!  The only other person like that is me, ha!

So here’s what I’m going to do: today I work on the guts of Karina style.  Cool, sophisticated, creative, fun, and a little vintage.  I’m hoping to finish today, but wanted to update you.  Oh, and I found some vintage pieces of mine I’d love for you to try on.  This is gonna be SOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!
I have to admit that my ego LOVED this email!  I thought, “Yes! I’m uncategorizable! I knew it!”  Don’t we all want to be unique?  After spending some time mulling over said worries and this follow-up email, I started to feel the excitement of a fresh start.  A new, mature, professionally minded, powerful, ready for anything woman!  Me?!?!  Yes, me!  It took me long enough to get to adulthood but I feel that it’s happening and it’s happening in a mindful and beautiful way that doesn’t compromise the creativity, curiosity, and laughter of my childhood years.
Brianna gave me so much more than I bargained for.  It’s not just about a new wardrobe or getting rid of a few items, it’s a clean sweep and a new start meeting me right where I am and supporting my growth.  I even got my own Pinterest board that she set up.  What an awesome way to be supported through the journey.
Our deepest fear
What Would Audrey Wear? – Web.  Facebook. Pinterest
Vicki McLeod – Maturity, Mindfulness, Coaching, Consulting (the social chick too!):  Web. Facebook. Twitter
Karina Cebuliak
Designer, Web Architect, Social Media Marketer & Trainer – Social Chick too!

Back to Basics – Digital Marketing

It’s easy to get caught up in all the new trends and want to keep up with what everyone else is doing but it is important that we stick to a solid foundation first and foremost. Building relationships with our clients based on trust (@RebeccaColeman) is a solid keystone to creating any relational archway.

Marketing Basics

Back to Basics: Marketing Building Blocks

  • Have a defined goal for each social media platform. Write down your goals for each marketing channel you are on.  It’s even better if you parse those goals and look for ways of measuring their success.  Think Analytics, Reporting Tools, Survey’s, etc.
  • Consistent brand, consistent message – all marketing channels must be on the same page.  Whether you have a storefront or not, all your client touch points should be streamlined with your overall brand look, feel, and tone.  Consistently check that your brand is being managed online.
  • Listening & responding to customers based on feedback and statistics – what does well, what doesn’t?  Handle complaints promptly and with heart.  Listen to feedback and respond.  Watch your analytics and statistics to figure out what is performing well and what is not.  Be flexible and adaptable.
  • Build relationships based on trust. Nurture your relationships and they will come back to you.  Be human.  Be there for your clients.  Treat them like gold.  Instead of just trying to capture more business, love the ones you have too.
  • Know your customer, know where they are, spend your time there, whether it’s digital or not.  If 95% of your customer base is still reading the newspaper and is not on Facebook then chances are, you may not want to invest a lot of time posting on Facebook.  Not every platform is good for every business.  Know your tribe and gather where they are.
  • Collaborate with community influencers & like-minded companies.  There are lots of opportunities to collaborate with other companies or individuals.  These relationships are just like the relationships you develop with friends and clients – they are based on trust.  You may put on a fundraiser with another company or do an information session.  There are all kinds of fun ways to collaborate that are mutually beneficial.

With each new idea or marketing push, compare it against your foundation and ensure that you are building towards your goal and contributing to a trusting relationship.

We’d love to hear from you!  What building blocks do you use?


Your Social Chick,


Social Poaching: Reducing Friends to Fans and Followers

THE TIMES: Feb. 19, 2015 by VICKI MCLEOD

In her book The Joy of Missing Out, Finding Balance in a Wired World, author Christina Crook poses the question: “What are people for?” She poses it in the context of online relationships and whether or not we see other people simply as consumers. Her book is thought-provoking and challenges us to think about whether the arms-length nature of digital communications is removing us from meaningful engagement and ultimately, what it means to be human.

Her insights are timely. As the digital and social media space becomes more crowded, we are forced to ask ourselves what are the ethical, social and cultural norms that will govern our behavior online? Where are the boundaries?

Most of us in the field adhere to a core set of principles grounded in transparency and authenticity, and teach businesses and individuals we work with to apply fundamentally the same social ‘rules’ and etiquettes online as we’d apply offline. What’s different in business is that we are not used to this level of transparency.

Social media has heralded not only a new way to communicate, but also a very different way to do business. A tension is emerging around the application of traditional business tactics in this new medium.


Recently, a crop of tactics have emerged on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that could be considered ethically dubious, or at least inauthentic. In short form, we call it friend- or social-poaching. A familiar term from junior high school days, but with potentially more serious implications than hurt feelings or social exclusion when it comes to business.

Essentially, it is a Friends-of-Friends strategy to gain more likes, fans and followers to increase access to potential market and grow email contact lists. It involves monitoring the feeds of influential friends and strategically liking and commenting in online conversations followed by a direct friend request. Usually a canned or packaged invitation is sent via a private message to your personal profile or business page asking for more direct engagement. Largely, these interactions are initiated solely for the purpose of eventually making a sale.

It’s a kind of network marketing that can be very effective. But is it right?  Many in the field don’t endorse this tactic as a way of building relationships online. It takes advantage of genuine trust and real relationships built on shared personal or professional interests.

Given the power and reach of digital ecosystems, not only are friends vulnerable, but so are hard-earned business contacts, particularly those that happen to be friends, too. Because your social media feed is the point of introduction, you essentially become complicit in reducing your friends to the status of consumers.

According to Ronald Sharp, a professor at Vassar, “… social poaching stems from an inappropriate or distorted view of what friendship is. It views friendship as a zero-sum game, or as an attempt to maximize your resources. It converts the natural generosity of friendship into a kind of investment.”

Me, I’m in favour of an abundance of generosity, along with openness, trust and transparency, and I prefer not to reduce friends and clients to simply fans and followers. Which brings us full circle to the question we must ask ourselves, in this wired world: What are people for?

Vicki McLeod is a Maple Ridge Social Chick , the  host of Everyday Happiness: The Pajama Podcasts and is a business and personal coach and consultant. She is a speaker at the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference in March, and is happy to answer your social media or business questions. Find her at www.mainstreetcommunications.ca

Energy & Social Media

Your Energy and Social Media

Going with the theory that everything we experience, touch, feel, or interact with has energy, I wanted to focus on how this translates to the world of social media.  Have you ever walked into a room and, after a moment, wanted to walk right back out?  On the flip side, have you ever met someone for the first time and immediately felt a connection as though you’ve known each other for years?  This is the energy of which I speak.   It’s an unspoken force that we are both giving and receiving.  To quote the great Ralph Waldo Emerson,”What we are speaks louder than what we say” and this translates just as well in person as it does through online social channels.

Energy & Social Media
Sending emails, tweeting, posting on Instagram, updating your Facebook status all carry an energetic language that is translated to those of us reading it.  Posting or responding to emails while carrying anger, resentment, fear, anxiety, or stress can translate to carrying that energy with the post and to the public.  Like a passive aggressive state of being, often the receiver is well aware of the underlying anger but frequently does not know what caused it.
Cleaning your energy before responding, tweeting, or emailing will result in a clearer and cleaner outbound energy.  As like attracts like, what you put out there, you will get back.  If you are finding that you are feeling tense, upset, tweaked, or triggered, often just walking away and taking a breather in the great outdoors can loosen the ties that are binding you. Sometimes, a deeper cleanse is needed.  Journaling, processing your thoughts with a close friend, going for a run, or for deeper issues – seeking help, can shift the energy within you thus creating a ripple effect in all that you do.  There are so many ways to ground yourself, re-focus on what is really important and then approach the great big world of social media with a clean brain and a settled heart.
What energy are you feeling today?  What energy would you like to put out to the world?
Your Savvy Chick,

Some resources for clean energy & space: 
Nicole Short at Inner Freedom Now for a DEEP energy cleanse:
Tracey Lewindon at Nature’s Heart for Art Journaling:
Kathleen Hatley – My Clutter Coach: Change your space, change your life:
emergegrowprosper’s YouTube Channel (focuses on clearing for sensitive people, but aren’t we all?)
Beyond Purpose’s YouTube Channel – Quick 5 Minute Meditation:
A Yoga Love Minute with VickiChick
Pyramid of Focus & Strength

How to be Authentic in the Noise of Traffic

“Conformity is doing what everyone else is doing, regardless of what is right.  Morality is doing what is right, regardless of what everyone else is doing.”  ~Evette Carter

I recently saw the above quote by Evette Carter and it really resonated with me and the journey I’ve been on as an entrepreneur.  In the world of social media marketing there is a LOT of noise out there.  This really could be said about many industries or areas of life.  In the 1970’s there was ONE book on raising a baby.  Fast forward to 2015 where you get  62,600,000 results in google about “raising a baby”.  The very same could be said about the world of social media marketing.  Everywhere you look (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and more) there is someone who is an “expert” or who has unlocked the secret on being a successful social media marketer.  It can be very confusing if you don’t have a compass and a map for where you want to go.

Enter conformity, morality and authenticity.  It’s tough to be authentic if you don’t have an anchor on who you are and what your morals are.  With this in mind, think of a poor sailor making his way in a choppy ocean.  He’s not sure where he’s going as he doesn’t have his final destination figured out yet.  He can’t remember why he went on this journey and he doesn’t really even know what crew he’s got with him.  Now, imagine that every land mass he passes looks lush and green and has billboards just calling his name,

“Come this way for free rum!”

“Don’t keep going, rest your weary legs in our motel! Free breakfast!”

If our sailor had no idea what he was looking for, who his crew really was, nor where he was headed, would he not stop at every land mass?  It’s easy to see how one could easily get swayed into any free advice or headline with this sort of unanchored approach.  To quote a Katy Perry song, “I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything.”

I, as this sailor, had no anchor and yet I knew who I was.  I didn’t want to dock at every island looking for the “magic” key to social media success.  I didn’t even think that my definition of success was the same as the collective conscious might be.  So, I set out to define exactly what my anchor and map was.  Who am I and what do I stand for?  It is this map that will define everything else that I do.  If I am approaching a new project, a new campaign, a new client, a new contract, I will put it through my Pyramid of Focus & Strength.  This will determine that I am staying on course, not straying off course.  This pyramid helps me to maintain my integrity and authenticity to self which strengthens my business morality and contributes to a feeling of success and worth.











What do you do to stay your course?

In love & service,

Karina, Savvy Chick @thesocialchicks