Monday, April 20, 2015

Phoneless Friday: An Experiment


Going 24 hours without my cell phone may be inconvenient at times, but it will also help me increase my productivity and focus during my time without it.

A bit of background:

This experiment is a challenge for one of my classes. Each student in the class must go 24 hours without using his or her cellphone, and then blog about the experience for our social media class. I decided to choose a Friday to go without my iPhone, instead of a weekend day, since I have some events to cover for my internship over the weekend and I will be needing to use my phone for taking photos and putting up social media posts.

Luckily, my Fridays are basically planned by the hour since I have most of my classes and work hours on these days. I was both excited and nervous to see how this experiment would turn out for me, since although I have gone without my phone before while on trips and retreats, I have never gone a normal day  full of classes and work without it.

Here is what I noticed during my time sans-iPhone:

I did not look at a screen before bed, which I have read is recommended in order to get a better night's sleep and feel more rested.
I also fell asleep faster since I wasn't checking any social media accounts before bed.
Without my phone, I was able to focus more on the tasks that I had to get done. There were absolutely no reasons for distraction, so I got my work done faster and all in one sitting.
Since I was not looking down at my phone to kill time before class, I noticed just how many people were doing so. It was essentially 80% of the class.
I felt like I was ultra-focused on what was going on around me.
It was really nice not to have to carry my phone around with me... I realized how free I felt without it.

I had to find a different alarm for the morning, and I was so nervous that it would let me down and that I would miss class.
My roommate was locked out and she tried to call me, but I did not know until after she was let in to our building.
I had to email my boyfriend just to try and make dinner plans.
I could not take any photos of the gorgeous day I had.
During the day, I had to explain to at least ten people that I did not have a phone.

Throughout this experiment, I realized that I was more in-tune with the world around me when I was without my phone. My eyes were open to everything around me, and not having my phone allowed me to take it in and reflect more than I would normally, instead of stopping to take a snapchat.

Sometimes, I felt like I was even too in-tune with my surroundings and it made me the slightest bit uncomfortable, especially after having the security blanket of my iPhone every moment of everyday for such a long time.

I also noticed that I had to ultra-plan my day, make sure I had a watch on, and use creative ways to keep in touch. It was a nice challenge that made me realize just how much I use my phone and also how much I depend on it. Taking a step back was both nerve-wracking and enlightening.

When I finally turned my phone back on at the end of the day, I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of texts and notifications that I had missed. Also, having to carry it around with me was a bit of a pain.

Through this experiment, I learned that a bit of distance is good... perhaps, in the future, I will take the time to leave the house without my phone every once in a while.

Are you up for the challenge? See if you can go the full 24 hours... or just a few hours without your smartphone and let me know how it goes!

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