We spent the weekend in Lake Erie and I left my phone at home. I was without it for an entire weekend.
It was embarrassing for me to admit this was going to be hard. But, I knew I wasn’t alone. Did you know that the average person reaches for his or her phone 50 to 300 times per day?
Think about that for a moment. Think about how attached we’ve become.
I guess it’s not surprising. I rely on my phone for so many things — for directions, for inspiration, for entertainment, for “connecting.”
So, why did I decide to leave it behind?
I was in a bit of a rut these past few weeks and I didn’t know why. I started questioning my work, my worth — everything, really. Eventually, it clicked.
I spend an exorbitant amount of time on Instagram — 9.5 hours per week, to be exact (also embarrassing to admit). That’s about an hour and 30 minutes per day. And that doesn’t even include the time it takes for me to plan and shoot content.
When you spend so much time scrolling through strangers’ heavily-curated highlight reels, it’s easy to feel like the work you’re producing isn’t good enough. Like you’re not successful enough, not pretty enough, not fit enough or not where you “should be” in life.
While we’re on the subject of “enough,” I decided I’d had enough of this twisted way of thinking. Because you are enough, and if your phone habits are making you feel less than, it’s important to reevaluate. We all have unique talents and strengths, and it is ridiculous that so many of us, myself included, seek validation through social media.
I was ready for a break from it all, and it was really nice.
Here’s what I learned during my weekend away:
1. I Felt Less Stressed
There’s this undeniable pressure to always be “on.” To respond to emails right away, to post three times per week, to be connected 24/7. When you cut ties with technology, you cut ties with all of that pressure you put on yourself. It’s freeing, and I plan to do this more often when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
2. I Listened
We went to a friend’s house on Friday night. I sat around the table with people and actually listened. Fully listened, without feeling like I needed to reach for my phone every 10 seconds. Think about how you feel when you’re telling someone a story and they’re glancing down at their phone. Doesn’t make you feel that great, does it? It was nice to be present in the moment, and I think everyone else appreciated it, too.
3. I Slept REALLY Well
I am not a sound sleeper. I usually toss and turn. Maybe this is because I stare at a bright screen before I go to bed? Maybe it’s not related at all. But what I can tell you is without my phone, I slept more soundly than I have in a really long time.
4. I Got Bored
I actually experienced boredom. Typically when I’m bored, or waiting in line for my coffee, I’ll whip out my phone and mindlessly scroll. I couldn’t do that this weekend. But honestly, these were the moments when I also felt the most inspired. Without having something there to distract me, I was able to think and use my own imagination as entertainment. You know, how we used to when we were kids.
5. I Noticed Everyone Else
When you’re not staring at your screen, you start to notice how much everyone else is. We’re walking around like zombies. It was a wake up call. While I can’t change everyone else’s habits, I can slowly start to change my own.
6. I Made an Action Plan
So I made an action plan to limit my phone use. I am going to allow myself 30 min/day to scroll and will be shutting it off before bed.
Technology, it isn’t you, it’s me. And I’m ready to find my true self again.