Would You Survive the 24-hour Smartphone Challenge?

I am addicted to my smartphone. There, I said it. Every time I pull it out of my purse, I feel like a 5-year old on Christmas morning. I slide my finger across the unlock screen in gleeful anticipation of finding this oh so fabulous symbol:Time management gmail

So many fun and exciting things could be waiting behind that tiny icon. Will it be a new gig request? A new book sale? Somebody commenting on my witty Facebook status? Or perhaps just a solicitation from a store I shopped at once and never plan to visit again. The possibilities are endless.

My Challenge

When I need to focus, I put this magical device out of reach so it won’t be a distraction, but recently I’ve noticed that it’s started to distract me during non-work activities as well. When I found myself scrolling through Facebook in the middle of Yoga class one evening, I knew I had to do something! I needed to prove to myself I could stand to be less connected to the technology in my life. That’s why I decided to spend 24 hours away from my smartphone. Here’s how it went:time management email

6:35am: Wake up. Immediately grab for my phone to check my email. Try to rationalize why it would be fine to put the challenge off to another day. Realize that’s exactly why I need this in the first place. Remain resilient.

9:00am: Realize I still need to check my email today. Get out my laptop and spend 30 minutes doing that. Realize it was far more efficient to do it all at once rather than gradually over the course of the whole morning.

11:30am: Get frustrated with work. Almost crack and pick up the phone. Stay tough and keep working.

12:15pm: Feel the desire to “check-in” on Facebook and let everyone know what a lovely lunch I’m having with my husband. Realize that nobody really needs to know that, and I’d rather focus on having a great time… without my phone.

2:00pm: Want a coffee and wonder if there is a Starbucks around. Try to justify the use of the phone because technically the GPS feature wasn’t what I was trying to avoid with this challenge. Realize I don’t need to spend the money or the calories. Avoid the coffee.

4:30pm: Get a text message. Debate whether texting should be included in the ban. Call the person back instead. Personal communication for the win.

7:45pm: Need to unwind. Pull out phone to scroll through the news. Figure I’ve made it this far, so maybe I can quit a little early. Stop myself. Pick up a magazine instead. Print journalists around the world rejoice.

The point of this blog is not to say we should not utilize our amazing communication tools. I’m going to go back to using my phone: email, texting, web browsing, GPS, etc…I will not, however, forget the importance of disconnecting every once in a while. Just because we have the ability to be constantly connected to everything, doesn’t mean we should. Sorry smartphone. I’m going to pretend you’re “dumb” every now and then.

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