I was at a creative event called Camp Boundless at Catalyst Ranch over the weekend and one thing they did, which I was happy to comply with, was to take our phones when we walked in the door.
Here are a few things I learned about not having my phone on me:
- I grew up in a a day and age where cell phones were not the norm. Surrendering my phone and not having to be connected was delightful. I find it slightly weird that people text me to confirm something that we have already confirmed. When I say yes to something I'm committed. Yet, in this day and age you can say you are 'interested' and then just not show up. That's a whole other blog post!!
- The moment we do not remember the name for something or the name of a member of a band we reach for our phone and search for it. A day of not being able to do that made me realize that a) my memory is truly bad (but it always has been) b) who cares!!! How many times while having a conversation do you reach for your phone to provide the answer when who cares who the answer is. Yet, the conversation is disrupted and guess what, now you are on your phone. Just say it will come to me later and move on. We do not need to carry an encyclopedia around with us.
- I missed taking pictures. I realized that while I do take some pictures to share on Instagram, I often take pictures to help with my faulty memory. For me it is delightful to flip through my phones pictures and remember trips and adventures.
- I need to set aside my phone for longer periods of time. I think we are all so accustomed to getting an immediate response and I need to retrain myself and my lovely friends and family that I'm not always able to respond immediately. It's a huge distraction and when I'm in the middle of doing something it breaks my focus.
On a positive note I love that my phone keeps my connected and apprised of what my friends are doing who are not living close to me.
I would like to look at my phone as a tool for helping me live my life and be engaged with people. Right now though, I feel like I've been letting it control me. Right now as I type this my phone is in the other room and there are no dings or buzzes interrupting my train of thought (I've turned those off) and it is awesome. I feel focused and clear on what I want to be doing right now.
You don't have to hand your phone over to someone to reclaim some of your time and mental focus. Here are a few things I do to not let my phone take over my life.
- Turn off notifications. Do you really need to know that someone has liked your facebook post or instagram photo? You can control what you get notified about and you do not need to be notified about ever single thing.
- Take certain apps off of your phone. I've taken facebook off of my phone and I just open it in a browser if I feel the need to check in. Not seeing it front and center helps me not open it just because.
- Set your phone away from you. Right now mine is in the other room so I can't see it. Out of sight out out of mind can sometimes be a good thing. When you feel yourself reaching for it for no reason, then you know you have a problem. Tons of research has gone into making you need your phone or facebook or instagram. They know how to get you to want it.
- Don't bring it into the bedroom. Just don't. If you need an alarm use this crazy thing called an alarm clock.
- Clean up your phone. Keep the background picture clean and less chaotic. I've kept my main screen pretty clean and only have the things that I use most often there.
On my second screen I've saved everything I do not use as often and grouped them into folders. It means I can find things quickly and I do not have a ton of visual clutter.
- Sundays I declare social media free zones. If it is something work related, then I will do it, but I will not absentmindedly be scrolling through instagram or facebook. I give myself a day to be disengaged.
I want to be a happy and healthy person and that is almost impossible to do when I am disengaged, my mind is scattered and I my brain is constantly darting about without settling on one thing. I do things like mediate, practice yoga and eat healthy, but none of that can counteract the power my phone has over me. I need to have an active healthy phone practice!
Do you have any phone tips and tricks?