Our attention is the most valuable things we have. We experience only what we pay attention to. We remember only what we pay attention to. When we decide what to pay attention to in the moment, we are making a broader decision about how we want to spend our lives.
And with that quote, I knew I had to read this book, How To Break Up With Your Phone.
Ok so I didn’t really break up with my iPhone in that I no longer use it or that I went back to a 90’s flip phone (that would be too drastic lol). But I can easily say that after a cooling off period, I now have a much healthier relationship with my phone and subsequently I feel much more balanced than I have in a while. And not coincidentally I have recently decided to say no to any more gifted items and cool it with acquiring more items for review (though I’m finishing up my backlog of reviews still). I wonder if the lessening of my materialistic impulses are related to less social media and marketing exposure? I think so and that’s just one of several benefits I’ve found from being less addicted to my phone.
Another benefit has been a generally better attention span: I can finally sit down again and read a book for prolonged periods of time. I used to be a voracious reader but I haven’t really read anything except magazines lately. And everytime I started a book, I never seemed to finish it. Well now with more time and the retraining of my focus, I’m back to reading (and so get ready for some other reviews of book in the personal growth genre). And I also rekindled my love with my Kindle. I find I’m enjoying TV shows more now as well because I’m no longer multitasking or multi-screening while I watch (currently watching Homecoming on Amazon Prime and it’s getting good though it starts slow!). I also watch less TV because I’m not just letting the shows run on while I stare at my phone.
Anyway these are just a few of the benefits I’ve seen already in the 3 or so weeks I’ve started working on separating from my phone. And I’m hoping that this is just the start.
I highly recommend reading this book if you find yourself spending way more time on your phone than you’d like, if your attention span is not what it used to be, if you look at your phone first thing in the morning and the last thing at night, or if you find yourself feeling antsy when you’re away from your phone for prolonged periods of time (this was me to a T). But for those who just want to know what were some of the tips that made the biggest difference in my iPhone seperation read on:
Tip 1: Ask yourself “What do you want to be paying attention to?”
So of course relating to the quote above, but the important point about this is that you can’t just quit your phone for no reason. If you don’t have a plan of things you want to be spending your time on rather than staring at your phone, your motivation for less phone-time weakens. For example, the next time you find yourself with some time on your hands you might be tempted to go back to your tiny screen so instead have a game plan (like a book) waiting. She recommends writing a list of things you would do if you had more time. For me that includes reading, working out, cooking, spending time with friends and family, volunteer work and crafting.
Tip 2: Monitor your screen time
You need a starting point letting you know how bad is bad. My starting point was 7 hours and 45 min a day of screen time. Eeeek! The new iPhone iOS has Screentime built in now. I was at first resistant to setting it up because I just didn’t want to know (ignorance is bliss, right) lol. But you have to do this because you need to know. For those with androids, the book recommends an app called OFFTIME.
Tip 3: Changing habits by reorganizing your phone
So she recommends deleting social media for awhile but I just couldn’t. Of course I justified it by saying it was a tool both for my blog and for our Airstream business but really I’m just weak and couldn’t do it. But I did move it from out of my menu bar (the one that’s at the bottom of every screen page) and into a folder on my third screen page titled “UR Life=UR attention” (lol a reminder of that quote). And you can see all the other past and potential time suck apps included in that folder: