Do you dare to take a plunge and leave your phone at home? If not, what stops you?
I have strong tendencies to do this. To off the phone, find a cupboard and just throw it in. Pretend I never have a phone in the first place. Pretend I’m back living in the 70s. At least for a few hours. A day. A weekend. A week my max. Whenever I feel suffocated by every notification that comes in and that small light emitted, blinking demanding for attention.
When I pay attention to the notifications, I’m effectively giving at least a minute of my time whether to respond to a message, to like a post, to read an email or to simple idle away browsing blogs after blogs, news after news. After a while, minutes turn to hours and whatever that I was doing initially just gets side track. When you go back to it, you wonder with a mix of regret, anger and probably lost at what you were suppose to do. Your focus was snatched away. You convinced yourself, you’ll have more determination the next time, but just as soon as you hear the familiar beep your hands reached out faster than your head can react. It’s a vicious cycle.
Until you tell yourself one day, this is enough. In a very serious manner. I thought about it for a while. I read about digital detox articles. How it is suppose to make you happier. How you make more connections in an actual social setting, where you actually meet someone face to face. How looking at the phone screen less especially in the night can do wonders to your eyes. Make you fall asleep quicker even. And I decided to try out. Just to see if it was true. This is what happen.
It has to be a deliberate intention. Else it’ll fail. I set a target say 2 days or over the weekend. I switched off the phone, dump it into a cupboard that I don’t open unless its for spring cleaning. I think of things that I intend to do to fill up all the times I would use if I had the phone with me. Now that I don’t have it, my hands are so free you won’t believe it. Of course it will be a lie if I tell you I didn’t think of my phone. I do. Especially in the first few hours. I wonder what other people are doing and posting. I wonder if I have missed commenting on a great post. I wonder if I missed the latest news. I wonder where or what my favorite blogger go and eat today. I wonder if my friends tried to make an appointment and I missed it just because they could not get me. In the end, I wonder if people will miss me most. I have to admit human do crave for social interaction, and I just cut all that away.
Anyway, those wonders was only nagging me for a couple of hours. In between, I manage to do more, be more attentive to what I am doing. I get on with my reading with an actual physical book. I could finish a few chapters in one sitting uninterrupted. When I take walks, I reflect more and see the world with a different feeling. When I cook, I don’t cook in a rush. I enjoyed the process just as much as the result. Again, no interruption. When I have a cup of coffee at a fancy restaurant, I’m observing how others are drown into their world with their hands securely wrapped around their phones. No one really talks at the table. It’s so silent, I feel empty on their behalf. Or are they talking in their private chatrooms while sitting side by side? Perhaps typing is easier than talking.
With this deliberate intention, there is no rushed conversations with people. There is no need for me to hurry the conversation just to reach out to the phone. Other people’s conversation is more interesting. You get to see facial expressions, you get instant feedback, you get to be together. You learned to listen and practice the true art of conversation. And I did get to sleep on time. Not dragging on hours later to see the hands of the clock at 3.
At the end of 2 days or over the weekend, I did felt some change. At least, I stop wondering of all the thoughts I had before. Life went on for all other people, people I know and bloggers who don’t know me. Life went on as well for me. Achieved more in the last 48 hours than a whole week combined and the clutches that my Samsung Note 4 had on me, loosen a bit. I can breath again.