“A study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers found the average user checks their phone nearer to 150 times per day. In its annual Internet Trends report, carried out in May this year, found that people check their phones, on average, 23 times a day for messaging, 22 times for voice calls and 18 times to get the time.”
I want to commence my own experiment.
Nearing to year 2016, the rate at which technology is booming and relevant/dependent to nearly every person older than 12 months old, astounds me. I’ve mentioned it before, the liking on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Instagram hearts, the favoriting of tweets on Twitter, pinning on Pinterest, the Tumblrs, blogs, anything social media-dipped has become arguably more real and common than the seemingly medieval face to face interaction.
For example, I made a list of the things I use my iPhone for and I surprised myself with how dependent I have become on my phone.
- Alarm clock
- Communication (family, friends, boss, coworkers)
- Music (iTunes, SoundCloud, Youtube, Pandora, Spotify, Shazam)
- Nike running app
- Bank account app
- Maps (GPS saves me more than anything)
- Mobile Skype
There are billions I could list that people use their iPhones for. The options are endless with an app hungry world. Information at our fingertips, answers to questions we might type furiously into google for an answer.
I was thinking about how many times a day I touch my phone. And I realized, I don’t even want to know.
It’s almost embarrassing how long we can stay away from our phones without checking them. Go into a restaurant and see which ones have their phones out.
This one was Justin Bieber in Sydney when I took my 9 year old I used to nanny to his show, look at the sea of phones.
Now look closer;
Glance outside and see who’s on their phones walking.
Notice drivers with a phone in their hands, texting or talking on their phones.
Watch when two people part and how instinctively each grab their phones as if they cannot be alone for more than 2 seconds.
Months ago, when I decided I wanted to do an experiment on my own, I decided on a 3 day cleanse without my phone. I was going to go cold turkey without social media and peel myself away from using the internet on my computer as well. Turn it off for 3 days, or for the sake of needing it for an alarm clock, merely turning it onto airplane mode and see how life went.
Well, as life would have it… My phone decided to take a dive into the ocean while on vacation, so before I could choose when to start the experiment, mother nature had another plan for me. Since I was in a different country, the absence of my phone was not the biggest ordeal. When on vacation, there is no set time to wake up, no meetings to attend, no communication needed between coworkers or emails to ardently respond to. Life is never real on vacation.
Fast forward 4 days and I land in New York, phone-less.
I have no way to communicate with the outer world, I have no alarm clock or even a work schedule that was waiting for me diligently in my calendar… on my phone. No phone numbers, no cellular connection to post my beautiful pictures from Bermuda. I just sat there and watched my family around me get lost in their technological worlds while I sat and observed, empty handed. Was this device becoming a basic need to function? Such as food, water, shelter and love? I bet I just got matched with a potential love of my life on Tinder! And I will never see it to know.
I arrive in Portland, Oregon at midnight from NYC, feeling akin to a middle schooler trying to find an alarm clock to wake my useless body up to in my local Walmart. How else was I going to wake up in time for work? If I was even scheduled.
Turns out, I missed my 5am shift at my first job and made it on time to my second job just in time to turn around and go back home since the world seemed to be moving underneath me as if I was still on the boat in Bermuda. I guess the color of my face sent me home packing.
A few panic attacks later and some self exploring, I realized the things that I imagined being so vital and important to my life right now, are mostly distractions.
After the initial shock and frustrations of being phone-less, I noticed my stress levels drop dramatically. I was no longer concerned about checking my phone or replying to texts (when I already struggle with the crazy fast response, or 5 days later syndrome).
I was forced to live in the moment, the here and now. Finding a way to tap into mindfulness and focus. It caused me to plan ahead, to cease the endless scrolling from one app to another. In fact, the feeling of being divorced from my phone was freeing. No one could get a hold of me and I could take those few days (before I got a new phone) to compartmentalize what was important for my life right now, and plan for the next important move to guide myself to a brighter future.
Clearly these days without a phone didn’t change my views on owning a one. I think we’d genuinely be lost without these devices, what did we do before?
Losing my phone had me reflect and organize in a way I don’t think I could have without this heartbreaking experience.
Without breaking your phone, perhaps put yours on airplane mode for 3 days (instead of two weeks like me) and see what happens. Humor me, I dare you.
Let me know how it goes.