I think it’s safe to say that nowadays almost everyone would feel like they lost an arm if they were suddenly to go without their phone and everything that goes with it.
I have found myself at night when I’m trying to sleep being met with this ridiculous need to grab my phone to Google the most ridiculous things, how old is that actor, what song is that etc. In fact the only even half decent thing I have wanted to look up when I’ve been trying to sleep is more stuff to do with Japan because I am obsessively trying to plan some form of holiday there. Other than that if it’s not looking up pointless facts that can no doubt wait until the morning it’s checking some form of social media and all I can ask is why?
What is it we all seem to be desperate to know or keep up to date with? The fact is we feel like we’re missing something if we don’t check our phones all the time but really we aren’t missing anything.
As it got near the end of 2017 I tried to make a conscious decision to limit my phone/screen time and focus more on the present moment, on what is around me and ultimately try to get myself into a proper sleeping pattern which I never manage to keep. Due to this I asked for a digital alarm clock for Christmas so that I can use that for an alarm to stop me from “needing” my phone next to my bed. So far I am still trying to get used to it but I already feel a massive relief when I decide sometimes an hour before I plan to sleep that I am done with my phone, leaving it on my desk, far away from my bed to further put me off reaching for my phone when I struggle to sleep.
I know that life now is difficult to navigate through without a phone. The ability to contact anyone with the touch of a button is incredible and it definitely helps having pretty much everything in one place. I can check my bank, message a group of my friends about a dinner plan, stay updated with photos of my niece as she grows up while also being able to check emails and even keep my blog updated! There are great benefits but the unfortunate side is that this then stops people from having specific breaks in their day.
People no longer leave work in the office because they are able to check their emails at home, resulting in people not being able to properly relax and unwind at home. People can’t fully enjoy the company of their friends or family because they are drawn to looking at their phone and messaging the countless other people they can now keep in contact with (as in I could be sitting at dinner with my parents while messaging my friend in Copenhagen without even taking the time to think about how amazing that actually is). People don’t take the time to experience something because they are too busy taking photos or videos of it (tell me honestly, how many of you have filmed a concert and never again watched the videos?).
People then begin this unhealthy comparison to people they know(or don’t). They compare themselves to people they knew from school or their old Saturday job etc. I’ve done it myself! Looked at people I went to school with and they’re all off getting married, having kids while I still happily live at home trying to get myself the job I really want. The problem is you only see what people want you to see.
Keeping all of this in mind I am hoping to stick to my plan by limiting the amount of time I spend on my phone. This means limiting my time on my phone to maybe certain parts of the day instead of whenever the need strikes me because let’s face it I most likely don’t need to be on my phone. So maybe lunch time at work, for an hour after dinner and then maybe a bit again before going to bed, not really worked it out yet. However I do know that taking a break from my phone before I go to bed is the best thing to do, means I get that extra time to myself to read more of the books I said I would get through. Hopefully this will then lead to enjoying the moment that much more.
My biggest challenge is going to be when I’m out and about with friends because once one person looks at their phone then everyone does. This is the time when I should be enjoying the moment the most so hopefully keeping that in mind will help me focus on other things even if my friends are on their phones.
Ultimately there are of course benefits to the level of technology we have at our fingertips but we need to be responsible with it. Teenagers now lack vital communication skills and mistake texting all day every day for genuine friendship. While I find myself beating myself up about my life choices based on the illusion other people give on social media as well as missing out on sleep and not achieving all the other things I could have if I had put my phone down more.