Your journey with your technology is personal. You are the one spending your time on each of your devices. This usually makes it all the more harder to make any changes. These devices are inherently addictive by triggering activity in our reward cycles. They also bring out our deepest insecurities about ourselves and about being alone with ourselves.
But who does not know this already? Most of us are aware of the impact phones have on our minds, bodies, and lives. The purpose of this blog is (1) to help you have control over the technology you use, where you make the active choice to pick up the tech instead of the tech driving you to pick it up. Eventually, I hope (2) to help you move towards the bare minimum of technology (like using a flip phone).
Some of us spend more time with our phones than our significant others, family members, or friends on any given day. Screen time hours rack up between 4 and 8 hours, often more time than allocated for the workday. For many people, this time is spent listening to music, communicating with friends, but frequently ends up evolving into endless scrolling through email or social media.
I remember the mush I felt in my brain after being on Facebook or Instagram for an hour and then how hard it was to set it down. Even when I mustered the energy to set it down, I would often quickly pick my phone back up and get back into it. After three or four times of this, I would finally be able to set it down or turn off my phone. I thought the mush was just from social media, but for me, it was the whole device.
When you actively reduce the amount of time that you are on your phone, you have to confront your own deepest fears and feelings. You are forced to be alone and twiddle your thumbs. And you must keep your head high but your eyes wandering in every awkward cafe or airport line.
This is not an easy process. Frankly, there are very few people excited to experience these feelings. This is an enormously difficult process, but after embarking on this journey, you will reap a lifetime of rewards.
You will be able to stop and think about why you are reaching towards your device. You will have set up alternative things to grab that will give you a similar sense of reward, albeit more longitudinal rewards.
Slowly, you will be able to gain the confidence you had as a child to start a conversation with a random stranger. You will know to look for strangers who also are not on their devices to strike up a conversation with.
You will feel more comfortable in this world of vulnerability. I am certainly not comfortable in this world of vulnerability, and I’m not talking to strangers left and right, but with these goals in mind I can push myself further.
For me, the most important thing about embarking on this journey is how much my anxiety has reduced. I used to feel a lot of anxiety when people would not text me back, when wondering many people would check my social media posts, when hoping for emails back from my boss, and when looking at other people’s glamorous and “successful” lives on social media.
Most importantly, my social life did not fall apart when I switched to using a flip phone. I continued to be in touch with family and friends, and often spent more time calling than before because it was difficult to text. Your social life will not fall apart either.
I hope you will join me on this journey. Welcome aboard.