I spent a week thinking over what to do next. That week ended up creating a profound shift with my awareness of and relationship with my phone. I couldn’t use it to look up whatever, whenever I wanted to. I couldn’t listen to music in the car. I couldn’t order things on the fly from Amazon. I couldn’t mindlessly check emails, send texts, and fill fill fill while I was watching a movie or waiting in a waiting room. That week revealed to me just how much I use my phone, and not in positive, effective, healthy ways.
I actually wasn’t annoyed that my phone wasn’t working. I was grateful for the poor habits and unhealthy dependency it revealed in me. I highly considered getting a dumb phone, aka flip phone. But could I really get by with not having access to maps and uber and the internet when I’m out and about? The answer is yes. However, I had grown so accustomed to having the convenience of my phone that it would certainly be more challenging and require more planning ahead.
I realized that in moments of stillness or waiting, my initial tendency would be to go to my phone. I could always find something to do on it. My phone was actually REWIRING my brain to become this constant doing machine. It made me see how unhealthy and not helpful it actually was for me. It took me out of a moment when I could just be enjoying the stillness.
I ended up getting a new smart phone. Not the newest version, but a reliable, functioning one. The Universe played another joke on me to prolong the learning and contemplating in that none of my info could be transferred over. So I had this new phone with no contacts and no apps. I also didn’t buy a case for it right away and was scared to take it outside my home in fears of dropping it. So I spent another week leaving it at home because it didn’t really do much and I didn’t want to drop it.
Here is my biggest takeaway from the about 2 weeks I was dealing with Phone Fiasco 2018 as I’ve dubbed it:
The smart phone isn’t the issue, but the discomfort with the stillness and being-ness is.
I have a friend who has a flip phone and he was quite disappointed when I caved and bought a new smart phone. Ultimately, I knew it would be more of a hassle if I didn’t have a smart phone, especially when traveling. However, I also knew I needed to make better choices with my phone so that it wasn’t taking me away from the present and always putting me into a task, monkey-mind mode.
Here are some phone habits I will continue to implement and some new ones that I have chosen to take on since Phone Fiasco 2018.
Turn my phone off at 9 pm each night: I’ve been doing this mostly for about a year. Not religiously, but consistently enough. I’m able to do this because I don’t have kids or really anyone else that has to get a hold of me in the middle of the night. I know not everyone can do this.
Put my phone in the other room when I sleep: This is a newer habit that helps me not go to my phone one or a few more times before I go to sleep. Out of sight, out of mind.
Physically write lists: I bought a mini-notebook to start writing things down that I need to remember, where I used to put it on the phone. This helps me not go to my phone and yet still remember things that come up.
Leave my phone at home or in the car: This newer habit has been huge. Not listening to music or a podcast all the time, every time in the car has actually been quite peaceful. If I do bring it in the car, I leave it once I’m at my location so that it eliminates the temptation to always get stuff done on it.
Turn on my phone after my morning routine: My morning routine, which consists of meditation, prayer, and journaling doesn’t get done once my phone gets turned on. I’m not always good about keeping it off but will continue to implement this healthy and necessary to me habit.
I’d rather be less productive and BE more, than more productive and do, fill, stimulate more (for the record, I’m not against getting shit done, but I think there needs to be a shift in how that looks so we aren’t being consumed with it).
Our deepest, core natural essence is in the stillness, but our immediate natural go to is the over-stimulated busyness. It takes a continuous conscious choice to slow down and not be consumed with the pace and stimulus (influences) around us. There will be push back. Any time you try to slow down and not be consumed by the busyness it will be uncomfortable. But always worth it!
I’ll leave you with a two simple questions:
What are some little things you can do to have healthier habits with your phone?
Are you willing to take a stand for the slow down so that you can BE more?
Be awesome my friends, and just BE.