The photo, if you’re wondering, is me feeling very sorry myself, turning my phone off at Manchester airport as I’m about to board a plane.
The challenge for week five of my six week reboot was to have a phone curfew every day for a week from 8pm to 7am.
Typically I lie on the couch every night from 8pm to 10pm and monitor my social medias incessessantly. In honesty, it’s fairly souless, boring and disappointing. But I can’t seem to help myself.
Admittedly between 10pm and 7am it’s less of a problem as I’m usually, hopefully, asleep. However if I’ve posted a great photo on Instagram at 9pm in the evening a bit of me will want to know how that’s doing when I switch the light off and go to bed at 10.30pm. So I might have a quick sneaky peak at my phone at 10.30pm just as I’m about to turn the lights off. I realise this is appallingly bad for then trying to get to sleep. Not only have I flashed a bright digital screen in my face, but it’s got me thinking about the post again. I read that Instagram and a lot of social medias have a similarly addictive effect to slot machines. It explains my hungry urge to pursue as many of those heart icons as possible on Instagram to feel satisfied. But it never truly satisfies, it just makes you want more!
So I knew the phone curfew would be a really useful experiment, to discover what 11 hours without my phone would do for me.
In honesty it was easy and enjoyable. As long as I didn’t have my phone too near me while I was doing it. Most nights I’d leave it turned off in the kitchen or in a bag and I wouldn’t miss it a bit.
However the one night I had it turned off, but had it on the table in front of me as I watched telly, was highly distracting! I had a constant compulsion to pick it up and look at. It’s so hardwired in me to check my phone every few minutes that I don’t even notice I’m doing it.
A potentially tricky obstacle for me last friday was getting a 90 minute evening flight to Copenhagen without my phone. Normally I’ll stick my headphones in and watch something on Netflix or iPlayer, making the flight so much more bearable.
However, I armed myself with two really good magazines and an interesting book, I was excited to get stuck in. I raced through the magazines reading nearly every article (unheard of for me!) and then moved onto the book. By the time I arrived in Copenhagen I was feeling super smug at my reading consumption. Perhaps removing my phone made me make an effort.
There were pretty much no downsides to doing this experiment. It just confirmed to me that, yes I love my phone, but the extent I use it is completely unhealthy, uncreative and unnessary and I have way better things I could be doing with my time. Any emails or social media comments, whatsapp or text messages I need to respond to can easily wait for the next day. Going forward I will make a point of turning my phone off for periods of time to give myself a break.
Juicy reading material for the plane
And for those who haven’t been following, my friend Debbie is also doing a six week reboot alongside me. This week she set herself the task of doing an hour of chores a day in the hope of using her time more effectively. It didn’t work out quite as positively as she had aniticipated. Have a read: ProperFoodie
And Week Six of the reboot challenge is another digital detox but I’m taking it a step further. Not only am I going to stick with my phone curfew from 8pm – 7am, but that’s now going to include no other digital screens. So no telly or computer either. I’ll let you know how at get on.