I have an addiction.
To my iPhone.
I came to this realization after watching a viral video at the end of last year during which author Simon Sinek discussed the issues facing millennials today as they try to navigate their careers and social life, particularly pertaining to the work place, and how screen addiction is a big problem. I’m at the very top age end of the millennial generation so figured I was above all that (after all, I didn’t own a cell phone until I was 18 and didn’t get my first smart phone until I was 28). So, I figured I’d watch it to get tips on how to raise my daughter without a screen addiction.
But instead I myself identified with the video.
Not for everything, thankfully. I am able to hold a conversation and cherish my in-person, phone-free conversations with friends. But I definitely could relate to the parts about feeling anxious without my phone, or immediately getting on my phone if a dining partner goes to the bathroom or if I’m stuck waiting in a line.
But what really got me was when he said the magic of thinking happens in those quiet moments when you are just stuck sitting, waiting, a bit bored maybe…but that’s when the brain starts working and that’s when the big ideas come. If you’re always on your phone and never give your brain a chance to be still, those magic moments don’t happen. As a creative, I immediately thought: Is my smart phone killing my creativity? Do I not know how to be bored anymore?
One thing I read again and again in parenting advice columns (on my smart phone) is the importance of teaching our children how to be bored. And that when they’re bored is usually when the creative play comes out, which provides excellent learning opportunities for their developing brains.
How is my daughter ever going to think being bored is ok if my cell phone is always in my hand?
Kids learn from watching adults and I’m on my phone far more than I want to be in front of her. Sure, usually I start out by going on it to check something for work, which as a WAHM I deem ok and necessary, but more often than not my fingers will mindlessly go to Facebook and then click on one article and then the next – articles that I don’t really need to read, I just do because they’re there. And then I wasted minutes or more that I could have been doing something actually productive.
When I started looking critically at the time I spent on my smartphone and what I was doing on it, I realized I was wasting hours of my life every week.
I’m always complaining I don’t have enough time in the day….so how much more time would I feel I have if I weaned myself off of my phone addiction?
Probably a lot.
So what to do about it?
I decided after watching that video (you can watch that video here) that I will break my smart phone addiction. It isn’t healthy for me — or my daughter.
It was supposed to be my New Year’s Resolution, but…I kept pushing it off because addiction.
Better late than never, right? So maybe February will be the month I break my cell phone addiction.
But it’s not going to be easy. At all.
But I figured by putting together some guidelines for myself for how and when I can use my phone and then blogging about it, it would help keep me accountable.
I’m sure it will be a learning process, but here’s what I’ve put together so far for my smart phone guidelines.
I can check my phone in the morning after I wake up for 10 minutes. That is plenty of time to check emails and see the Facebook posts that are important. Facebook’s algorithm works pretty well so anymore scrolling is just going to take me to stuff I probably don’t really care about or need to be reading at the moment. Eventually I’d like to cut this to 5 minutes and then no Facebook.
When at home, my phone will be put on top of the refrigerator until naptime (aah, this sounds impossible! But it is needed). When my daughter and I are out and about, I’m actually pretty good about leaving my phone in my purse. Every hour I can check emails (whether at home or away) to make sure nothing important has come in for work. Better yet, I check work email on my desktop when at home.
While it’s hanging out on top of the fridge, my phone will have the vibrate function off so I can hear it, but I’ll set it to only chime if I have an incoming call or text coming through (in which case I can check my phone), but no noise notifications for Facebook notifications or any other apps.
During naptime, I can spend 20 minutes on my phone scrolling through my Pages app (I need to check articles for work and find it much easier on my phone than my desktop.) I’ll be utilizing Facebook’s Save Link function and will be catching up on any article reading during the weekend
Throughout the day, I can use my phone to take notes or pictures, or look up directions or a quick question that needs answering, but not for anything else. If I do, I dock myself Facebook time the next morning.
When I’m driving somewhere with my husband (he usually drives) my phone will stay in my purse and I’ll use this time to actually speak with him and take in the beautiful surroundings where I live instead of mindlessly scrolling through articles and pictures on my phone.
At night, I can check my phone after my daughter goes to bed for 15 minutes and then stay off it for the rest of the night. I’ll have to have my husband police that. Before bed, I’ll start reading a book instead of reading my phone.
So…that’s the plan as of right now. Any other suggestions to break this phone addiction? Tactics you’ve maybe tried that work?
I may be planning big to kick this phone addiction, but honestly, just thinking about this whole “no phone during the day” gives me mild anxiety and “but what will I do all day?” thoughts, which is obviously an excellent indication that I do have plenty of time in my day that I’m wasting. Being at home all day with a little kid can sometimes get a bit mundane, but I’m hoping we’ll read more stories, do more crafts, and get outside more with this plan. Maybe I’ll even read an actual book or start writing that book I’ve been talking about while she does independent play instead of zoning out on my phone! You never know, it could happen (the independent play part – I hear toddlers start to do that as they get older…right?)
I’ll be posting an update next week on how my first week went. Stay tuned!
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