I admitted it on March 1, 2019: I am addicted to my smartphone. When I started to search for a solution I found out that I was not the only one. That creates a bond. “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” (Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist). So I got this link to an article in my e-mailbox and started the smartphone detox.
Procrastination and instant gratification
My addiction is that I grab my smartphone many time a day. Not even consciously. Why? It could be that I procrastinate. I live a very conscious life. Most of the times. I know how to deal with silence. I can be still. I meditate (and not need an app for that anymore). So I know it is not about that. I don’t need to be entertained. And I am not afraid to deal with boredom.
But why do I procrastinate if my days are full of joy? Interesting question that needs research. That’s why I started the smartphone detox. So this is actually a way to come closer to the real question. And if I am procrastinating, why do I get pissed when I can’t charge my phone on a train or a plane? Instant gratification?
But why do I never reach to my phone when I am in a conversation with someone? Or sitting in a restaurant of cafe by myself? I something forget to take my phone with me when walking the dog(s). Or take pictures when other people tell me to take more pictures (I don’t have a camera)?
So before having a diagnose, I started with the treatment. LinkedIn thought I would like this article. And I did. That was exactly what I needed. Because having a business also means that you have to be present on social media. I cannot just stay away.
Of course I had to do it my way but I liked the steps he took. My problems were also not the same as Kevin’s but I liked the approach. I immediately started my smartphone detox. It’s not a fancy program that will cost you hundreds of dollars. It is a very practical way of dealing with your addiction.
Since I use ‘screen time’ on my iPhone, it is easy to monitor which apps I use the most. Some apps are a necessity to me (I need to call and use Whatsapp or Messenger). Those apps are also not part of the problem. I ditched my most ‘harmful‘ apps and left only one for my special moments. Because I also learned not to be too hard on yourself.
One of the most harmful was Facebook, LinkedIn second. If you cannot use Facebook and LinkedIn on your phone, you can still use it on your laptop. Which is fine. Instagram I kept because it only works on your phone and it was not a necessary action to take that away.
I turned off all notifications (other than incoming calls, calendar and messages). The apps I kept, I put in order of use on the homepage of my phone.
The next step is not taking my phone to my bedroom. This was a hard one for me. I decided to charge my phone in another place during the night. Because of this study I also learned it makes you more happy.
Because I am a traveler, I can not pick one place where to charge my phone. But I decided to charge it in a place that would not be too obvious. So I would not pass my phone going to the bathroom in the morning. That place differs from location to location. At the moment I charge my phone in the dining room which I only enter after I have done my morning shift.
I also added something to the challenge that was not on Kevin’s list: not using the smartphone when you are watching television. Really? Yes really! When I watch television (which I don’t do that often) I like to watch entertainment programs. Like The Voice. I don’t need to see everything, just hearing it could be enough. So the tv is on and I am on my smartphone. It’s bad but even worse now I am writing it down. Or pathetic actually. From now on I only watch tv consciously. Without any distraction. Or I turn the tv off.
The next step would be filling my free time with useful things. Useful to me. Something I need to think about. Maybe Google it …