If you really want to be as safe as you can, you have to remain aware of our surroundings.

Who is the most likely person to be attacked by a not so nice person? A person who is distracted and not paying attention to what is going on around them. Just think, if an unsavory individual had to choose their next target, would they pursue someone who is aware or someone distracted?

Well, our smart phones can be a huge distraction. Texting, or sending an email while walking or viewing a video allows someone or a pair of people to set things up so you are caught unaware. I once read about a woman who was run over by a train because she was wearing earphones while crossing the track and didn't hear the train coming!

And let's not even talk about being distracted by a smart phone while driving!

How do we deal with all of this?

The first thing to consider is, do you really need to respond to anyone who calls or texts you immediately? Not unless you work for a company where life or death hangs in the balance. Most of us can wait to return a message. For example, I know someone who takes days to return my messages! But look, they're alive and well and thriving. But I know the need to feel like you're relevant and must stay in the conversation. Our personal safety though is a higher priority, in my opinion. Therefore, I have these suggestions.

* When you're out in the world, walking or driving, don't use your phone at all. Don't answer, don't text, don't listen to music. If you're tempted to respond to anything on your phone, turn it off! That way, you can be alert what's going on all around you. Remember, things happen fast. If you see danger, move away from it immediately, don't linger.

*Set up your personal message reply strategy. I know someone who let's everyone know they return calls only at 9:00 A.M. or 5:00 P.M. They say so on their greeting. During those times when they return calls or messages, they are inside a building where it's safe and the phone will not be a distraction. That person does just fine and does not lose any business or friends.

* How important is it to you to know things immediately, or respond right away? Are things on your phone critical to your existence? Could you do without your smart phone altogether? I read a story about a man who threw away his smart phone and relied only on his land line!  He reports that nothing in his life has really changed. He still keeps in touch with everyone, he uses his personal computer to check the Internet and has no trouble with his work. If this idea of deleting your smart phone is too drastic for you, how about a compromise? Get rid of your smart phone and use an old school device like a flip phone with voice mail.

I personally like a strategy where you can have your smart phone but only use it when it's really safe.

At my office, when someone calls us, all of our phones ring at the same time. The team member that is in the safest position answers the phone. The person driving, or walking down the street doesn't answer the phone. That way our customer gets to speak with a live, real person, and everyone else remains safe.

What do you think of these ideas? Please let me know.

A service of David Jurewicz, REALTOR(r) (00661096) RE/MAX Gold. 916.682.6454