From yesterday afternoon until this afternoon, I went 24 hours without using my phone. I did this voluntarily, not because my phone was dying and I didn’t have my charger with me. I wanted to spend quality time with my boyfriend without the distraction of my phone, and to see what a whole day without my smartphone would be like.
It was a liberating experience. I felt less anxious and stressed. It felt good to ignore any texts or calls (which I knew wouldn’t be pressing) that I would otherwise reply to right away out of a sense of obligation.
I gave my boyfriend more of my undivided attention and just lived in the moment fully, truly enjoying the day with no commitments beyond the time I was spending at my boyfriend’s parents’ house. It was quite a relief not being practically tied to my smartphone.
During those 24 hours, I modified some of my smartphone-reliant habits. Instead of relying on my phone for the time, I put on my watch that I only wear to tell time at work. Instead of bothering with news apps, I was fine just watching “Hardball with Chris Matthews” and “The Daily Show.”
I only got on Facebook on a computer once in those 24 hours to show my boyfriend a funny post I had seen before. I didn’t even peruse my news feed on Facebook. Instead of having my phone to set an alarm for the morning, I relied on myself to get up at a decent time. I got up only 10 minutes after I usually have been getting up in the morning. Again, I had nothing important to attend to that day, so I didn’t need too be up at a certain time. As for e-mail, I checked it once the next morning on the computer. It felt kind of nice checking my e-mail on my own time and not being constantly notified of new e-mail.
I did get a little anxious to finally use my phone again about an hour before my 24 hours were up. I anxiously awaited checking any missed calls, texts, or e-mails. But other than that, the day without using my smartphone was quite a pleasant experience where I felt more calm and happy.
I believe that being constantly connected to so much information does subconsciously stress us out. Several hours, or even a day, without using a smartphone can be quite a beneficial experience.
As a result of this experience, I have changed my notification settings on my phone. I turned off notifications for Facebook and I set my e-mail to fetch manually. I think it will prove to be less stressful to just check my e-mail on my own time. I think it will also prove to be less invasive (quality time-wise) to check Facebook for notifications on my own time, too.
Smartphones are a great invention, but if we let them, they can become too invasive and cause some anxiety and stress.