Can you imagine turning off your cell phone for a few days? No calls, no text, no checking the time on your phone, no checking your email or social networks… absolutely nothing.
How many days do you think you could last like that? Most people couldn’t image going an hour without their phone and wouldn’t have the willpower to consciously abandon their phone for days.
I was once one of those people that had an inseparable relationship with my phone. Even if I wasn’t getting calls or texts, I was constantly on my phone. It didn’t matter where I was; I had to be on my phone. I was addicted to my phone.
I had a case of nomophobia (a fear of being without your phone), and I needed to get a handle on it. On the other hand, the fact that I had so much information in the palm of my hand. The access to endless infomation coupled with my curious mind, led to hours of consumption sometimes.
Classes were where I used my phone the most, which made it nearly impossible to concentrate on anything. My phone was a major distraction! Homework and simple assignments took me longer than usual because I had to constantly stop and check my phone, feeling like missing something when I wasn’t checking my social networks or email. I was a slave to my phone and I yearned to be free after I became aware of my addiction.
One day I woke up and decided that I should do a phone cleanse for three days to get control of my life. I didn’t tell anyone, just turned off my phone and left it at home (please tell your loved ones and other important people before disconnecting). Then, I bought my first watch and began to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
I began to notice things that I was too distracted by my phone to notice before. I’m not going to lie; I missed my phone terribly the first day and thought about turning it on on more than one occasion. However, once I got over the agony of being without my phone, I discovered peace and serenity. All of the sudden I was able to hear the birds singing while walking down the street, I could accomplish tasks quickly and efficiently without interruptions, and most of all I was able to live in the moment. I was in tune with the marvelous world around me, for once in a long time. Watching others mindlessly wander about with their eyes glued to their phones often made me feel like the only one who was awake and enjoying life.
I had no distractions, no worries and I was free. Time seemed to be on my side for those three days. The peace and freedom I felt motivated me to finish my three-day phone cleanse. My family and a few friends thought I went missing because I didn’t inform anyone of my phone-cleanse beforehand (I don’t advise this route, let your loved ones know that you are taking a hiatus.) However, the benefits I received from doing the phone cleanse outweighed the criticism that came afterward.
At the end of my journey, I learned that you can never be free if you do not know you’re a slave. Since then I vowed to never to let something as insignificant as a cell phone take control over my life.
In life, we are encouraged to keep our focus on the media and told that if we are not listening then we are missing out. However, there needs to be a balance. You also have to be selective about what information you consume, as there is so much clutter and negativity spewing from every corner of the Internet. We spend so much time paying attention to the world and not enough attention to ourselves.
So, if you have a cell phone addiction and want to take control back of your life, check out these tips.
1. Turn your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode when you are in class, working, or having family time.
- This will allow you to give your undivided attention to important things and people in your life.
2. Schedule a time for when to check your social media, emails, texts, etc. and set a time limit on your screen time.
- By setting a schedule for phone times, you can be more productive in your time management. You will also be able to prioritize your assignments better by not being bombarded with false urgent tasks all day.
- Time is something that we can’t rewind (yet!) so spend it wisely. You are in control of your time, not your phone.
3. Keep your phone out of your bathroom and bed
- It ruins your sacred moment when use your phone while on the toilet, but 92% of social media users are checking their Facebook during that precious moment (I used to do this often). That should be a moment when you rest and focus on your body functions. Bring a book or word search with you, if you get bored easily.
- Hygiene and health are just two reasons why you shouldn’t sleep with your phone.Like handling your toilet business, your bedroom business is sacred too. Sleep is vital for a healthy body, your health is more important that your timeline update.
4. Set up news alerts only for stories relevant to you.
- The less time spent on your phone, the better. This allows you to use your screen time more efficiently (remember that you are on a schedule and a time limit) to get the important information first.
5. More face time and less screen time.
- Imagine this: The most beautiful slice of cake was just placed in front of you at a restaurant. What do you grab first? Your fork or your phone? If you’re like me, you would probably grab your phone first to take a picture for social media. It’s a habit that many of us have adopted over the years as we forgot our table manners. Spend time with people (I mean really be present and not just a seat filler) and watch how much value it will add to your relationships and life.
So if you think your relationship with your phone has gotten too deep without your consent, (or knowingly) then maybe its best you guys take a break until you establish some new boundaries!