We are all addicted to our phones, that’s a fact. To feel just how addicted I am, I took on the challenge of 7 days without my phone.
The first day felt weird. Usually, the first thing in the morning involves a check of my phone as I work with people worldwide and get messages and emails overnight. This usually happens before I take the first step out of bed. On the first morning of my challenge, I felt a strong urge to quit and check my phone. I felt underinformed, and like I was missing important news. I got out of bed and into the bathroom. I noticed straight away that I was ready much faster than on an average day, as I didn’t read the news while in the bathroom.
The addiction to my phone became most apparent when waiting in line somewhere. The second I had to wait for anything, my hand went for my phone (or where it was). Phones are filling every second of spare time we have in a day. Waiting for something or someone? Everyone is getting their phones out, even though they have nothing to do. Instead, you open Instagram, Facebook, News, and scroll through it. Wasting your time, wasting the moment, and maybe missing out on something! Ever had that moment where someone in a café screamed: “Look, OMG!”. You were looking at your phone, as always, looked up, and knew right away that you missed it? Me too! Let’s be the ones saying: “Look, OMG!” and not missing out on those moments!
Another behavior I noticed was the urge to photograph everything (this doesn’t necessarily include photos of people). I love the camera on my phone, and take a lot of photos with it. Usually, I have to move my pictures from the phone once a year to free up storage. I took about 6.000 photos last year, which might make some of you chuckle, but it is a lot for me! I don’t really use Instagram or Facebook; I don’t even share the photos. I try to capture every moment. But in my 7 days of phone abstinence, I noticed how taking pictures of everything takes the magic away from it. A sunset is photographed and then immediately forgotten. The image is never seen again, moved to a 5TB storage hard drive somewhere in the house at the end of the year to clean the phone's storage. The hard drive is replaced once the 5TB is exhausted and buried somewhere in the basement. The same goes for people sitting in restaurants, getting their food, and start by taking photos of it for at least 5 minutes. Every angle has to be captured. And DO NOT DARE TO FORGET THE GLASS OF WHITE WINE IN THE BACKGROUND!! #chique By the time they are satisfied with their 129 images, picked the “perfect one”, applied the best filter, changed their mind about the “perfect one” reapplied the best filter to the “new perfect one”, posted it to Instagram, Whatsapp Story, Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok, the food cooked to perfection is cold.
My phoneless evenings started off a little “Well, what am I supposed to do now?” ish. Usually, I end my day lying in bed and fiddling around with my phone until I am too tired to keep my eyes open. This can take quite some time. I noticed how I was wasting hours of my day every evening! I love a good night's sleep, and so I go to bed around 10PM, even though I might not be tired. Instead of being productive and getting some remaining work done, I lie there and waste my time, sometimes for hours. During the seven days, I started developing a more productive and healthier evening routine. First, I started disregarding my 10PM rule. When I was tied at 9PM, I would go to bed (without my phone, of course) and try to sleep. When I wasn’t tired at 10PM, I would give myself another hour to get stuff done. I reduced the wake time in bed to maybe 15 minutes. That was a massive improvement to my routine and something I will definitely keep up!
I can only recommend this 7-day challenge to everyone! Getting past the first days might be challenging, but you start to learn more about yourself and your (addictive) behaviors. I learned that every task I was working on was by far slower, as my phone became a more significant distraction, the more tired or exhausted I got. Leaving my phone off helped me get more work done and gave me a lot of spare time for the things I really love. The best part: I finally found the proper time to write!
Even after the challenge, I will keep some new habits.
- The phone stays off until I am finished in the morning.
- The phone goes off 1 hour before bedtime. No critical news, messages, or emails come in at that time. Take the time to calm down and get your mind and body ready for the night. When I am in bed, it is sleep time!
- Take less random photos. Enjoy more, and try to capture the beauty and moment in your head rather than an image. Remember: the warm, happy, fuzzy feeling you feel at a given moment cannot be captured by your camera!
- When eating with someone, let’s go back to the ’90s and talk to each other! No phones at the table!
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