Things I Learnt By Not Being On My Phone As Much
If you’re a follower of my blog, you may have read one of my previous posts entitled “Enjoy the Moment – Tips to Get Present” a few weeks back. In this post I talked about my frustrations with smart phones, as well as ways to become more mindful and present in every day life.
I wanted to continue with this theme today. I have been spending a lot more time in ‘the real world’ and less time hooked on my phone (hooray!). This post will provide a little bit of detail on what I have discovered in the last few weeks.
First, I made myself really accountable and downloaded a free app called Moment. This tracks how many minutes/hours you spend on your phone a day, as well as breaking down how much time you spend on each app. There are some paid options in the app if you want to take it further (such as setting daily limits on your phone usage), but I found the free content sufficient for my needs.
When I first looked at my results I was HORRIFIED!! I spent an average of 5 hours 19 minutes on my phone a day during the week. O. M. G. Admittedly, I do most of my work from my phone (from planning classes to answering emails and posting on social media), but this single statistic made me realise just how much time I spend scrolling through social media and other rubbish.
The good news is that that was my wake up call! I gave myself a daily technology ban from 8pm onwards, where I simply put my phone on airplane mode and don’t pick it up until the next day. The amount of time I spend on my phone each time I pick it up is greatly reduced, as I’m a lot more aware of how I would rather spend my time.
Thanks to my efforts, I have managed to get my phone usage down to 1 hour 52 minutes at best. I still have some work to do – I generally average at 2-3 hours a day.
Some of the benefits I have noticed include:
I have gained 2-3 hours extra a day to myself. This is genuinely huge, and I spend more time doing meaningful activities and relaxing. Until I found out how much time I spent on my phone, I hadn’t realised what a big time-drain it was! Now I make more of a conscious effort to put technology down and do things that will actually benefit me. I feel so much healthier.
Less feeling ‘wired but tired’
You know how when you are so engrossed in something that it’s only when you finally stop you realise how awful you feel? That was pretty much my life for a while! It was only when I cut down on my phone usage that I realised how bad I had been feeling. I now feel so much more relaxed and present.
I’m also much more productive when I’m not scrolling through social media every few minutes (who knew!). This means I am more able to focus on single tasks at a time.
Making healthier choices
I spend more time meditating now, as well as reading, hanging out with my partner and our cats, and generally being more present. I’ve found that this increased sense of presence is helping me make better choices for my health. The benefits of simply not being on my phone so much are spilling over into my eating habits and self care practices. Even my sleep quality is better, particularly with the no technology after 8pm rule.
Rediscovering old hobbies
With all this extra time, I rediscovered former hobbies that I hadn’t thought I had time to do. This varies from getting lost in a good book, to DIY and interior design, all the way through to art and writing. Now I have a clearer mind and more space in my life, my creativity is booming again. I also have lots of ideas for new projects which I am already starting to work on.
People spend a whole lot of time staring at their screens
By not being on my phone as much, I quickly noticed how much time everybody else spends looking at their screens!! One example was a couple of evenings ago. There was the most gorgeous sunset I have ever seen, and I was the only person looking at it. I mean, look at those colours!
I felt so sorry for everyone else on the bus for missing it, and then realised how many equally-magical moments I’ve probably missed myself.
These are just a few of many benefits. Of course, I can’t begin to describe how much more relaxed and free I feel! I actually sat down on Sunday evening with my phone, as I felt like surfing the web for a bit. Of course, within an hour I had an awful headache! I definitely will continue with this journey as the benefits to my health have been huge. I hope I have inspired you to at least take a look at your phone usage time. Do you want to start to cut down on how many times a day you use your phone? Let me know your experiences!