After a cracked screen and a whole bunch of annoyingness, I ended up receiving a brand-new phone (and Otterbox case, no more cracked screens please and thank you) at the very beginning of the 2020/2021 school year.
Anytime there is a fresh start – a new move, a new school year, even a new day – I see it as an opportunity to reset and to change any habits that need changing. A new phone is no exception.
This summer, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my phone. During the time of COVID-19, my phone has been a lifeline – a chance to connect with friends and family at a time when it’s challenging to spend any time together. My phone has been my way of connecting with community service work, via text banking, calls and e-mails to government officials, SURJ tasks, etc. I use it to educate myself through articles, podcasts, and audiobooks.
I use it for freaking everything. And it gets to be way too much. I find myself getting annoyed when I see others obsessed with and absorbed by by their devices, and I realized that it’s because I know I do the exact same thing.
These are the ways I want to change my relationship with my phone:
- It is a tool; it is not the boss of me and it should not dictate what I do all day long.
- There are other devices that can be used for certain things. I can listen to podcasts on the Alexa in my kitchen. I can check e-mail on my computer. That’s still using technology – but it breaks the pattern of using my phone for anything and everything, which contributes to my feeling that I need to have my phone within arm’s reach at every second.
- Which brings me to – I do not want to have my phone within reach at every second. Too often, I find myself absorbed with something on my phone when I’d rather be fully present with my boys. And it’s often accidental – I glance down at my phone to check the time, and I see a text or an e-mail, something that has to be dealt with, and then before I know it I’m taking care of something that really could be dealt with later.
- There are better systems that I can implement for staying organized and getting things done. I tend to fall back on systems that DO NOT WORK – like setting alarms on my phone to remind me to do something. This system has never, ever worked for me, but my phone’s always close by, so when I think of something that needs to get done, I default to old methods. If I change my relationship with my phone, I believe new and more effective methods can be implemented.
The biggest reasons I want to change things up are actually my two biggest buzz words of late: intention and mindfulness.
If I want to listen to a podcast while I unload the dishwasher and the boys play, that sounds lovely – as long as it’s done intentionally. The thing that bothers me most about my phone is that I often end up reading an article or going down a social media rabbit hole WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING IT’S HAPPENING. I can read an article on my phone. I can read an ebook on my phone. I can Face Time, or text, or WHATEVER – but it really bothers me when this all happens in a mindless and unintentional way, as if my phone is stealing away minutes and hours of my life without my even realizing it.
Which relates directly to the mindfulness aspect of it all. For years, I’ve been working on improving my ability to be mindful and present. When I am constantly checking my phone and multi-tasking, I’m not fully present in my day-to-day life.
It’s September 2020, and I have a new phone, an awesome new Otterbox Defender case, and the following new habits:
- My phone will be plugged in on the kitchen counter while I’m in bed sleeping. No more checking social media as I’m falling asleep at night or immediately when I wake up in the morning.
- My phone will be plugged in on my nightstand during the day. I’ll have the ringer on in case Tamara calls, and I’ll check it periodically when I decide to check it.
- I’m going to try my best to diversify and use other devices (Alexa, laptop, iPad) for some of my entertainment or productivity needs. (My goal here is just to shift my total reliance on the phone for everything, so that it’s easier to set it aside and know that I can still get things done that need doing.)
It is going great so far, and it feels really good to be making this change. NEW YEAR – new phone – new habits! Happy September!