I’ve seen a lot on social media recently around the concept of ‘spending more time doing things that make you forget about your phone’. I’ve never thought about things in that way before – but it makes a lot of sense. When I’m bored, I can waste away hours scrolling through feeds where I’ve seen most of the content already, just 10 minutes prior. It’s all pointless (though it can definitely be fun).
My phone is constantly flashing up with messages and emails about work, or game notifications or something else entirely unimportant. It’s rare that I need to see those messages.
I decided to set myself a sort of challenge (because I love these apparently!), to stick my phone on ‘do not disturb’ for 24 hours. Not only that, but to put the phone down and try not to pick it up again (though, not being pedantic about this because sometimes you just need to use your phone for something). The point of this wasn’t that I should ignore people if I wanted/needed to speak to them, but to reduce the time I wasted unnecessarily.
How did it go?
So at 18:30 on Monday evening, I switched my phone on Do Not Disturb mode, with the plan to leave it on until 18:30 on Tuesday. At this point I was on the train, so I had the distraction of my current book to keep me occupied…
I was heading out for food with others so I expected not to be looking at my phone for a while anyway, which may or may not have helped the experiment! At this point it was no different – my phone was in my pocket and stayed there until I pulled it out to check occasionally.
When I got home, I actually enjoyed that my phone wasn’t flashing up constantly – especially after I’d gone to bed. I didn’t get woken up by my phone lighting up, I didn’t get distracted. (And I had an alright night of sleep!)
The next morning I was in a bit of a hurry to get ready to leave on time, so I didn’t glance at my phone once. Having do not disturb on almost definitely helped me get out the door.
It was at work where I noticed the biggest impact. It’s really easy to get distracted by messages popping up – and I get work emails sent to my phone too, so it’s hard to avoid my phone during the day. I found myself far less reliant on it, it was sat on my desk untouched for the majority of the day. I reckon that’s a win?!
Overall, I actually really liked not having my phone as such a big distraction – and in just a short time since I turned it back off, I began to feel like each notification I received was intrusive. I actually switched do not disturb on the next day just because I preferred it…
I think 24 Hours is a little too short for a categorical and in depth study of the effects, but what it did was show me that I can be far less reliant on it and that it doesn’t take long to break the habit.