Digital Minimalism

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I started to notice that I went nowhere without my phone. The toilet, the bus, at my desk, in bed. There was nowhere my phone wasn’t allowed. 

“Do you check your smartphone before you pee in the morning or while you’re peeing in the morning because those are the only two choices,” 

Roger McNamee- Facebook early investor

That quote really struck me from the movie, The Social Dilemma. Why had this become normal? My phone had become my constant companion, and I needed a DTR (define the relationship). My phone felt like an enemy instead of a comrade and I needed a change. 

I started with some rules to help encourage me to put my phone back in its place: 

  • My phone is not my alarm clock. I use an old phone with no wifi and no SIM saving me from distractions as I set my alarm or as a transition from sleep to wake.
  • I leave my phone out of sight as much as possible- in my work bag, in another room, plugged in
  • I have no social media apps on my phone and i signed out of FB and instagram on my phone’s web browser making it harder for me to casually scroll
  • I installed a tracking app that reminds me of how much time I am spending on my phone daily.
  • Permission to think my thoughts: II leaned into a lack of stimulus. When I was waiting for the bus, I didn’t reach for my phone, I thought my thoughts. 
  • I stopped going on my computer/phone for entertainment. This meant no blogs, no youtube videos, no social media. I was allowed to use it as a tool- directions, store hours, bus schedules, but no entertainment

This week I intentionally sat down to catch up on my favourite blog. Instead of going through the home page and opening a bazillion tabs, I opened one article at a time, and when I was finished reading, I closed it. I had to be mindful of this approach and it was a lot slower. However, I didn’t feel like I was consuming and gorging on my favourite material. Instead of gobbling it up, I savoured it. 

I am still figuring out how not to be in constant communication. Whatsapp, messenger, texts, email, they take up a lot of time and attention. I want to be connected but not glued to my phone. The next goal is figuring out how to manage my communication without always being on my phone. 

What do you do to manage your phone time? Do you have any tips?

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