I started my journey in the simplest way possible. From the depths of my hip pockets. I wanted to shrink the size of my wallet. Get rid of unused loyalty cards, or business cards I had accepted out of politeness upon my travels. My wallet is for the things I need these days; Money, ID, Bank cards and health insurance.
The more daunting task was the mobile though. The thing with smart phones? They really are smart. Without realising it that little device wriggles its way into your life more and more. Slowly popping up with abundant frequency. Apps we install get permissions to interrupt and shout at us, at all hours of day and night. We go to sleep to the same glow we wake up to. Where to start though? I was never a massive smart phone guy so surely there is nothing that isn’t worthwhile donning my menus and folders?
Well I soon realised how over time, it collects. I started with emails. I had a hard think about work emails. Why can I receive them 24/7?! Work emails can now only be received between 7am and 6pm; a little before and a little after my regular office hours and probably a little later for my early mornings. That was a liberation in itself. To know that once I got home and switched off from work, my phone did too. No more emails I can’t action popping into my evening only to make me more stressed about forgetting to action the thing I had read about seconds before. Now, I get that email at the perfect time, where if it’s important, I can take action immediately.
Apps are a tough one, there are a few that I need on a daily basis, and some that I use infrequently but are valuable. Banking and my work ftp are two examples. What I didn’t need is games I never played, unless I was looking to distract myself. Social media apps I used when I could be actively involved in something else, I wanted to turn to acting rather than distracting. I said goodbye to Facebook and Reddit. I can now only check those websites on my laptop as a personal control. Which conveniently means that if I am watching Netflix or television, I’m no longer juggling two screens at once.
Now for the truly revealing revelation – I don’t miss any of it. My life has infinitely improved now that I have broken the hold of my phone. Notifications other than those for phone and messaging, are removed. Now I can feel assured my phone will only shout at me, if someone wants to talk to me. The positives didn’t end there though. Running out of battery used to be a common occurrence, I blamed my phone for having a poor and useless battery life, yet now I can charge my phone once every two days. Saving my attention and lowering my power consumption.
Reducing your phones ability to creep into daily life doesn’t only improve your own life though. Now that I can happily not glance at my phone, I can be a more productive team mate at work. Rather than scrolling through Facebook in a zombie like stupor during moments of down time. I can ask others if they need help with their jobs, if there’s any way to make their day easier. By rejoining real life I have become a better team member and worker, and in return, those same people are willing to offer me more help when the situations are reversed.
This is easy to try with no lasting repercussions. It just takes a bit of willpower to not find ways to break the pact with yourself, but it most definitely is worth it.