I wrote a post about 4 months ago about a digital detox but I wanted to do another one. Not necessarily a follow up post but just another post because I think it’s important to reiterate how easy it is to spend mindless hours on your phone.
I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to my phone. I can usually go hours without checking it and in fact, many family and friends often express their frustration that they will call or text with something urgent and it’ll take me hours to respond – if I respond at all.
But usually this happens when I’m occupied elsewhere. If I’m reading, or watching tv, working on my blog, studying, spending time with my fiance, dog, friends etc. Like right now, I’m writing this whilst watching Gossip Girl on my day off. I actually don’t know where I’ve left my phone. But when I’m at work or ‘bored’ I’m on my phone. A lot.
‘But not that much.’ I always reasoned to myself and to be honest, in comparison to a lot of other people, I’m probably nowhere near as addicted to my phone but the point is I struggle to not pick it up when I’m at work and mindlessly scroll through Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest. And I’m starting to realise the strain it’s actually putting on my body. My neck and shoulder muscles are tight and I have to think about straightening up and lifting my head instead of hunching over.
When I wrote the initial post I had been scheduling regular ‘no phone time’ at work. Usually a half hour to an hour of not looking at or touching my phone unless it rang and then depending who it was I’d either answer it or ignore it.
So how did I feel whilst no phone time was in session? Anxious is probably the best way to describe it. I kept looking at my phone wanting to start checking apps even thought I knew nothing new has happened.
Its interesting that I felt and still feel this way because I’m not the type of person who needs to know things first. I’m not the type who has to post or comment on something straight away so I really don’t understand why I feel this way. It’s obviously a case of FOMO but I can’t quite pinpoint why I need to be in the know.
This feeling has prompted me to do more about my addiction to my phone. Ironically I downloaded two apps so I can check myself. One app is to track my usage, aptly titled App Usage – it tracks every move I make on my phone as well as how long I spend on each app and will provide a summary at the end of the day of how long overall I have spent and how often I’ve checked my phone.
The second is called Digital Detox where you can start challenges of not using your phone for x amount of time. You earn points throughout the challenges. You can also give yourself 2 x 5 minute breaks if you really need to use your phone for whatever reason. The only time I’ve used it is when I was transferring myself money and forgot that the bank sends the code to my phone.
I always feel a bit jumpy when my phone is on detox. It’s amazing how hard it can be when you know you can’t use it and how you feel like you are missing out on so much. It’s also amazing how many things you think of that you ‘need to do’ but can’t because your phone is locked.
I’m hoping this app will instill in me to not check my phone all the time. To be honest I don’t need to be on my phone 24/7 – my job doesn’t require it, and there’s never been anything that has been so important that it couldn’t wait an hour. It’s also encouraged me to use a physical diary instead of putting all appointments in my phone. I seem to remember things more when I’ve written them down.
There are a couple more things that I’ve been doing. I’ve been turning my data off and only turning it on when I need it. I’ve also disabled all my notification for my apps so I won’t be teased with a little symbol telling me that someone has done something that I may or may not be interested in.
So far I’m doing ok with it. Some days are easier than others. My record one day at work was checking my phone only 56 times compared to some of my worst where I check it up to 200 times a day. I know, even 56 times seems like a lot but it made me realise how often I check my phone for something like the time, don’t even register what time it is and then have to check it again. Never mind that I wear a watch and when I’m at work I’m on a computer and also sit next to the office clock.
So I’m going to keep going. I attempt 3 hours of detox during work time and 2 hours when I’m home. It’s hard but it forces me to find other things to do. I’ve rediscovered how much reading I can get done, how much house work I can do, that I can spend that extra time with my dog and fiance. It’s basically made me rediscover all the things in my life that I love doing instead of mindlessly scrolling through stuff that I don’t even really care about.