Life Lessons We Learned From A Three-Week Phone Detox
On social media, you constantly hear influencers discussing the benefits of a digital detox, and TBH, we often roll our eyes at the concept. Not because we don’t see the value of getting off of our phones, because let’s be honest, we’re almost chained to our phones at this point. BUT, because we’re very aware of how much our daily life relies on our phones that keep us connected 24/7. Seriously, even getting from A to B would be almost impossible, not to mention life without Apple Pay (a mess), mobile banking, and, TBH, access to social media, which is essential for our job. The reality is, we use our phones to manage pretty much everything, in fact, the average person spends up to 4.8 hours a day on phone apps, according to the BBC.
So, a month ago, when my phone was stolen, you can imagine my panic… And so that was the beginning of my three-week phone detox – definitely, involuntary – and frankly, I learned a lot. Obviously, we wanted to share the experience with all of you to give you an insight into what a digital detox really entails, no BS.
Lesson 1: You’re More Present Without a Phone
As an – overall – positive person, we’ll start with our biggest, most positive lesson. During this three-week period, we were more present than ever before. Without the constant distraction of our phone, we were more engaged in whatever we were doing. There’s literally always something happening on your phone, whether that’s someone’s Insta-story or your upcoming schedule. Without a phone, the rest of the world’s noise is silent, and you concentrate only on the task at hand. Whether that’s giving your friend your FULL attention or just sitting down and eating more mindfully. We can’t tell you how much it changed our eating habits as we sat and just ate, no longer wolfing down our meal while tapping but instead eating slowly and with intention. It sounds kinda preachy, but it’s true!
It also gives you the space to think, ponder, and daydream, and that was one of the best things about the whole experience. We became more comfortable and at home in our thoughts, and as an extrovert and someone who struggles to be by themselves, this was major.
Lesson 2: Our Phone is Often a Comfort Blanket Against Social Interaction
In the first week, post-phone incident, there were SO many moments that felt kinda awkward. For instance, when you’re first to dinner waiting for your friends; without a phone there’s no distraction and you feel like a lemon! Or at a work event before your work-wife gets there, or even in the lift – for real, where do you look? So often, our phones become this comfort blanket, almost acting as a barrier against unwanted social interactions. But PLOT TWIST: after a couple of weeks, we began to actually enjoy it. Those moments became a chance to chat with a stranger, and more often than not, it was nice.
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Lesson 3: Daily Tasks Become Very VERY Difficult
Okay, now to the complaining section of the feature. Simple tasks like booking a cab, transferring money to a friend, telling the time, or looking up something online ahead of schedule were no longer a possibility. As a result, we became heavily reliant on a meticulously composed schedule that was made from the confines of our home. If things went wrong (which they often did), we were in serious trouble. This often meant we became reliant on our friends, family, and even strangers, which actually brings us to another more positive point… In most cases, people were happy to help, perhaps by booking a cab or allowing us to make a phone call on their phone. The kindness displayed was – cheesy, we know – truly heartwarming.
Lesson 4: Time Becomes Yours Again
This is almost laughable, but without a phone (and obviously no watch), we were rarely aware of the time. Obviously, in terms of scheduling, this was a bit of a nightmare, but it also meant that we – cliché incoming – lived in the moment more. When we were having a good time, the clock rolled on effortlessly, and when we were not, we were aware and left.
We realize this sounds silly, but when our lives are super hectic, and we have so many responsibilities and obligations, sometimes what we want to do at that moment is put on the back burner. Sometimes a quick coffee with a friend turned into a three-hour-long meet-up when we were admittedly supposed to be catching up with life admin. Similarly, at another social engagement, we weren’t feeling it, so instead of checking the clock and waiting for an appropriate amount of time to pass, we said our goodbyes.
Lesson 5: Back-Up Your iPhone Regularly
Seriously. Back. It. UP! As soon as we realized our phone was gone, our minds started scaling back through all of our recent photos. We’re not talking about the Insta-ready snaps; it was those stripped-back moments like cooking at home or our first-ever selfie with our partner that remain unposted and on our phone only. The lesson here? Back your phone up once a month, pop it on the cloud, and your future self will be eternally grateful.
Have you ever done a phone detox? What was it like? Let’s chat in the comments.