The story of my “disconnect” started kind of ironically. After a conversation with my one of my girl friends, I decided to try to live life more mindfully and step one was disconnecting from my phone. Hours went by and not only had I not reached for my phone, I had no idea where I left it. After tearing a part my house it dawned on me. I had left my phone in the pair of sweatpants I wore that morning. The very same pair of sweatpants that were, at that moment, in the washing machine mid pre-soak cycle. Needless to say the mishap had me dive feet first into the world of disconnect. I had to wait 4 whole days for the phone insurance company to send me my new phone. How was I ever going to make it?
But here I stand, 3.5 days into being “disconnected,” feeling fully liberated.
I’ve read countless articles about “phone” addicts, how the Millennials, in particular, are reliant on the Internet and social media, but never once did I consider myself falling into that category. Yeah, I felt “naked” without my phone in hand but no way that meant I was addicted, right? At least that’s what I was telling myself.
Don’t get me wrong, the first day spent “disconnected” was painful. I was attached to my phone and relinquishing that attachment to disconnect took some adjusting.
1. I reach for my phone way more than I thought.
This one actually shocked me. You don’t realize how often you are reaching for something until you go to reach for it and its not there. At a red light- I’d immediately reach; heading to the bathroom- I’d reach, walking down the hallway- I’d reach; anytime I had a question that Google could rectify- I’d reach.
What surprised me the most was the “reach” when everyone else had their noses buried in their phones (it occurs more often than you’re realizing). Our initial reaction is to immediately get on our phones to appear busy or to fill in the time with meaningless scrolling through Instagram or Facebook.
2. I had a lot more control of my time.
Friends and family are a lot more accepting of you not answering their calls and texts immediately when it’s known that you don’t have a phone. It. Was. Liberating.
It felt like being a kid again, back in the ancient time where landlines ruled. If I was away from home or had no access to Wi-Fi (after all I still had my computer), I was disconnected.
I could be in the moment and give people 100% of my attention without them having to compete with other people I was “connected” with, even though they were not physically there. The boundary between “absence” and “presence” that cellphones blur was suddenly fortified.
3. I was a whole lot more productive while disconnected.
There was no text vibration or snap chat notification catching the corner of my eye while I was sitting down trying to complete a task. I read more, I procrastinated less and I didn’t feel as “hurried” in terms of time.
Most of us like to think of ourselves as multi-taskers. I’m here to tell you that you’ll get a lot more accomplished by focusing at the task at hand.
On average as a country we spend 4.7 hours a day on our phones. If we are awake for 15 hours that is roughly 30% of our waking moments on our phones. By putting your phone down and out of plain sight, you’ll be pleasantly surprised in what you can achieve in that time.
4. You’re not actually missing out on anything.
You wont actually miss anything through habitual scrolling through Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter. It’s become a social norm to check your social media account every 30 minutes or every hour. The scary thing is we aren’t even aware that we are doing it.
None of your friends won the Nobel Peace Prize or found a cure for cancer in the past hour. If it’s something important enough about a person that matters in your life, you wont be finding out via social media anyway.
I am now hours away from having my new phone come through the mail and it’s a bittersweet feeling. Although it isn’t realistic for live sans phone in this day and age, this experience has taught me that I need to tuck it away more. My new resolution is to have phone free hours and when I’m working or spending quality face-to-face time with friends and family to put it on airplane mode.
I challenge anyone and everyone to try and live life more disconnected, although I’d recommend double-checking your laundry before starting the rinse cycle.
Article Written by GUADS staff member, Jennie.