I spent today without my phone. It was not intentional. I was late for work and rushed out without it. As I entered my office, I realized that I left it home. I wondered if I should leave the office and go retrieve it, or get it at lunch, then I shrugged, “A day without my phone will not kill me.”
I emailed my sister, one friend and a client to say that I left my phone home and I settled down to work.
My office was quiet today, there were no chirps for new emails, knocking sounds for texts, or all the other sounds the phone makes to notify me that something needs my attention. As a result, I remained focussed on my tasks since I could not pick up the phone to see what all the noise was about.
Today my head was uncluttered, as I did not spend my downtime scrolling through emails or checking other people’s posts and tweets.
Of course, there were the downsides. I missed meeting a friend to deliver some documents, I missed some calls from family and friends and I had a bunch of texts to respond to when I got home. I also wanted to call the plumber, speak to a client, reach out to a friend but I did not have their numbers on hand.
Today I fell asleep in the optometrist’s waiting room. I could not check emails or chat, so I decided to relax and fell asleep. After that power nap I returned to work refreshed.
This evening I did not message my running mate to verify that he would meet me, instead I showed up in faith at the appointed hour and of course there he was.
Not having my phone today made me realize how I use my phone. I have set no boundaries for the use of my phone. I pick it up whenever there is a lull, not really doing anything but checking. Checking for what? I don’t know. I have no discipline around the phone, I look at it very often and walk with it in my hand, like a kid with a lollipop, dreading if it falls. In public I hide behind my phone, hanging my head I pretend that I am doing something important when I don’t want to pay attention to what is going on around me. I never understood that it keeps me company, keeps me distracted and absorbs so much of my time. Regretfully it means that I am often not present or aware.
Now that I notice the habit, it’s time for a change.
I am not going to leave my phone home, but I am not going to voluntarily pick it up to check for anything. At work I am going to leave that phone in my desk drawer and set the ringer on loud so that I don’t miss a call, or a text. I will keep it out of sight so that it remains out of my mind. I will check my phone during the lunch hour – not trying to go cold turkey.
When I am out and about, my phone goes into my handbag, no more holding of it in my hand. I will not distract myself any longer. I am going to look the world in the eye instead of constantly hanging my head.
How often do you check your phone? What do you want to change about your use of it?