So how did I get on without my smartphone? Did I crack? Did I cheat? Did I suffer any withdrawal side effects? Have we been re united?
Well to cut a long story short, I have survived and yes we have been reunited, but the experiment has definitely given me food for thought.
I first acquired my smartphone for my birthday in March. Prior to this I had been quite proud of being the owner of an ancient phone which had almost no functions at all. A phone which I used for all that a phone was meant to be for, in days gone by. Then, as it began to breathe it’s last, I decided it was time to step into the real world. I thought it would be useful to be able to keep an eye on comments and visitors to my blog, to never miss an email, and to have easier access to facebook etc. I would mean I could just check into wordpress without actually sitting down and formally going online on my laptop. It sounded ideal.
So it was for a while. I did enjoy the way I could see if my blog was getting comments, and I enjoyed being able to tap into twitter or facebook if I was waiting for one of my children to come out of a class, or sitting alone somewhere. Knowing I had emails to answer as they arrived allowed me to plan how much time I needed to address them. Initially it was all good.
However slowly I began to feel things change. I began to take my phone everywhere. I carried it from room to room, even on the shortest car journey it came along too. I was also checking it regularly, whenever I passed it. Then one day I noticed I had it at the dinner table!
Enough I thought. So last Saturday I decided this weekend is a new beginning. I was going to ‘lose’ it. Just to see how bad my addiction was. I hadn’t thought of it in advance, it was a quick decision. I wrote a post on it here, put my phone on silent, and waited for the side effects.
As it happens I had minimal side effects. On a few occasions I found myself sorely tempted. As I saw the small blue number appear next to the facebook icon I wondered who was posting? What was happening? Was I missing something exciting, or something amusing? However I held tough and resisted the temptaion to look or to interact, and it got easier as the day went on. I had time to daydream, to look around, to sit and just be.
You may think that all this sounds good, however there is an underlying deceipt in my answer. What I am not saying is that I didn’t turn off the notifications for my blog, so I could see on the screen how many ‘liked’ or commented on my post. Also this weekend was so very busy that in reality I had very little time alone, or to be tempted to go online. It wasn’t a true reflection of a normal weekend, nor did it challenge me as much as it could have.
However it was a start. I have decided this is something I will do more regularly. I did feel a great sense of liberation without my phone. A feeling of not being ‘on call’, of not having to stay in up to the minute contact with others. It also made me more attentive to the real world. To those around me. I was not distracted by an incoming text or notification of some sort. Nor did I absent myself from present company to converse with someone who was no where near me.
One aspect of being offline for the weekend which I hadn’t anticipated, was that I hesitated to get back online. I felt tired at the thought of it, at the prospect of going back to square one, to being overly interactive once more. However I have tonight bit the bullet and logged on once more, and I’m sure I’ll be interacting as before in no time. Now though I will try to follow some self imposed rules.
1. Limit my online time.
2. No conversing online when I am in company, even if it is less stimulating company!
3. Stop checking my phone so regularly.
4. Turn off facebook notifications.
5. Turn off email notifications.
6. Have time every day without my phone.
7. Take time to sit and daydream in the present.
I’d love to have made it to ten rules, but it’s a phone, there’s not that much to say about it!
So there you have it, I’m back online, blogging as before. It remains to be seen if in fact my online habits have changed. Whether I am a reformed addict or someone who quickly forgets. I wouldn’t put any bets on either way if I were you.