Real talk: did you know you can turn your cell phone off?
Okay, okay. I know you’re not an idiot. But if you knew that you could, then, well…do you? Up until recently, the thought had almost never occurred to me. I used my phone incessantly. Here are some examples of when I’d cuddle it most:
- A webpage is taking longer than 3 seconds to load? Well, I guess I can check Instagram while I’m waiting!
- I’m really busy, but also just decided that I deserve a break! I’m busy so I deserve things! Time for Twitter!
- Someone just put me on hold… *thinking* Hmm is it possible to access Facebook while I’m on a call?
- Time for lunch! Let me check every social media account I have while I’m eating! Then, like me check them all again just to make sure I didn’t miss anything while I was checking the other ones!
…Sound familiar? I took my phone with me e-ver-y-where. My hand became like a modern-day hook — Captain iPhone at your service.
Luckily, I discovered a solution. It’s pretty revolutionary. If you didn’t know it was possible, I wouldn’t blame you.
I turned the damn thing off.
Crazy, I know.
Aside from feeling like I had a phantom limb for awhile (i.e. grabbing my phone throughout the day and then realizing it was dead), turning my phone off for a few hours at a time has positively altered my days for a number of reasons.
How has it helped me?
- I’m more productive. Like I mentioned, I used to use my phone quite a lot, usually a few minutes here and there that added up. I didn’t do anything useful with it most of the time; it was simply a tool to help me procrastinate. When it’s off, I don’t give myself the option, and that’s the important thing here. Turning it off adds extra time to the process if you decide to use it and most people will subconsciously realize that and just say, “eh, forget it.” Plus, not having my phone as a distraction increases my sense of “flow,” meaning that when I’m in the zone, I stay there.
- I feel happier and less “blah.” Looking back, checking social media on my phone several times throughout the day was a “filler” activity. It didn’t do much for my well-being or personal growth and aside from the occasional, inspiring Instagram photo or Facebook article, I forgot everything I saw or read within the hour. Without realizing it, checking social media made me feel a little “blah.” It’s like I turned my brain off for a few minutes, yet not in a relaxing way. Deleting this habit from my day makes me feel a lot happier and at peace.
- I compare less. Much of my phone usage was for checking social media. As much as I love social media, it sometimes made me feel a little crummy. How do they always have fresh flowers in their house? (Side eyes to the dead flowers on my desk). Who takes all these cool outfit photos for them? How do they have so many compadres they’re tweeting? Do I even have compadres?! After awhile, the “Social Media Effect” can really get to you. Rather than dwelling, give it less space in your day to day thoughts. You can use that extra time to get back to being you, na mean?
Today, I double dog dare you to turn your phone off for a few hours. It might seem a little weird at first to be “disconnected,” but I think you’ll realize that it’s actually pretty easy and will make a positive dent in how awesome and productive your day is. Finish some big tasks? Reward yourself by turning it on for a little while, then back to sleep it goes. Try it!