Like many people these days, my phone is one of the most central items in my life.
Over the past few years, I have become very addicted to my phone, with people around me always telling me that I spend too much time on it.
After realising I couldn’t remember the last time I turned my phone off properly, rather than just putting it on silent, I decided to take up the challenge of turning my phone off as soon as I got home every day for a week.
Whilst I did expect I would find not being able to use my phone as much difficult initially, I did not think that it would really be that hard. However, I was soon to realise this week was going to be a lot harder than I thought.
How difficult the week would be became apparent when my first thought upon waking up on the first day of the week was “if I can’t use my phone from the evening onwards, how am I going to set an alarm for the morning?”
This feeling of panic and uncertainty about how I was going to function with a time restriction placed upon the use of my phone continued throughout the early days of the week.
I was soon confronted by how much I rely on my phone to go about my daily life.
Simple things like contacting my friends, sending an email or ordering a takeaway, things I would usually do with a quick tap of my phone screen, took a little more thinking about without access to the plethora of apps I have on my phone to help with every task.
One of the biggest things I noticed early on the week was that I got really twitchy fingers. For example, whilst doing university work or watching TV I would unconsciously reach for my phone to check for messages or open my social media apps.
On several occasions I did pick up my phone, to quickly put it back down again. This only got worse at night-time, when I would usually use my phone to listen to music or watch YouTube videos.
After a couple of days of switching off my phone as soon as I got home, I began to notice some benefits.
I found myself less tempted by the allure of possible new notifications and found it easier to become absorbed in university work or get through my day’s to-do list without the distractions of news updates or incoming messages.
I also benefitted from my improved concentration levels when doing more leisurely activities such as watching a film or bingeing Netflix.
Whereas I’d normally only be half-watching a TV show or film whilst having a conversation with someone over text or scrolling through social media; switching my phone off meant all of my attention was focused on the storyline unfolding in front of me – meaning I was more immersed in what I was watching.
Being able to properly switch off
Another thing I really liked about a week of turning my phone of as soon as I got home was the feeling of being able to “power down”.
As soon as I got home, I could leave behind the constant barrage of notifications from my messaging apps, email accounts and social media, making leaving the stresses of each day behind a little easier. After a particularly busy few days of university, being able to do this provided some welcome relief.
Will I be turning my phone off more often?
Whilst I don’t think I’ll be turning my phone off when I get home every day anytime soon, the experience did show me that contrary to my initial worries.
I can navigate life successfully without needing to look at my phone every minute of the day. I’ll definitely be pressing the “off” switch of my phone more in the future.
COULD YOU SURIVIVE WITHOUT YOUR PHONE?