I often find myself compulsively checking my phone. I know it's not healthy, so I thought I'd try turning it off for 24 hours to see if I could cope.
Some days I might check Facebook twenty times, like a nervous tic, to see if friends have posted anything exciting or liked my stuff. And I know it's not just me, some friends are constantly on their phones while we're out together or even just sitting about chatting, which seems pretty rude but I know I do it too!
So I turned my phone off before I went to bed on Sunday night, and didn't turn in back on again until Tuesday morning. Here's the diary of that day.
5:00 am Woke up to find the dog on the bed, taking up more than his fair share of the space again. Couldn't get back to sleep, and normally I'd put my headphones on and listen to a podcast on my phone. Lay there for a while cursing this experiment then fell asleep.
9:00 am Got up and instinctively reached for my phone to listen to some music while I had a wash. Washed in silence instead, which was eerie.
9:30 am Had to ask Kat to check my calendar on her phone because I'd totally forgotten what we were doing. Started making notes on how my mobile-free Monday was going, and I had to learn to write with a pen again. My handwriting was even worse than I remembered.
11:00am Went out for a walk with friends who were all on time, luckily. Kept reflexively checking my pocket to make sure my phone was there, and my heart skipped a beat when it wasn't. Every half hour or so I wished I'd brought a camera with me to capture this beautiful walk, but then relaxed into it and just enjoyed the view.
2:30pm Tried and failed to do mental arithmetic (if 217g is 12% of the total weight, what is the remaining 88%?) and ended up using the calculator on Kat's phone. Is that cheating? All afternoon I had a vague sense that I was missing out on lots of exciting Facebook posts or messages from people inviting me to wild parties.
8:00pm By the evening, not having a mobile felt natural and really rather pleasant. Started reading a book and became totally engrossed in it.
10:30pm Decided that I might do this every Monday.
I turned my phone back on in the morning, and one solitary text message was waiting for me. Nothing exciting happened, I didn't miss out on any parties and the world didn't stop revolving.
I finished the book at lunchtime and started another one.
The next Monday
I thought I'd do it again the next Monday, just to see what happened, and I didn't miss the phone at all. The only problem was trying to arrange a date with friends, because I didn't have access to my calendar and I had no idea what's in it. My handwriting was just as bad as last week.
I'm not sure I'm going to do this every Monday, but it's given me a new perspective and made me think before I reflexively reach for the phone to entertain me in every moment of downtime.
Have you ever tried a mobile-free day?
In ten days we're leaving the UK for new adventures in Spain...Read more
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