Member of the LOG OFF Writers Group, Olivia Bancel, offers advice to those looking to distance themselves from their smartphones.
Just the other day my friends and I talked about what makes our phones so addicting and why we feel constantly drawn to them. With further discussion, we all agreed that the closer our phones are to us, the more pressure we feel to go on them.
As someone who is rarely on my phone, my friends asked me how I manage my time on mine, which I answered with “my phone has a room.”
A little over a year ago, I began to feel myself relying on my phone too much. Over time, I realized that my issue wasn’t that I was addicted to my phone but it was how close my phone was to me at every moment of the day; the more I saw my phone, the more I felt the need to go on it. When walking around my house, my phone was always in my back pocket. When getting out of the shower, my phone was waiting for me on my sink. When doing my homework, it was always by my side. Rather than carrying my phone around when it was necessary, my phone started to feel like a requirement. Just like the clothing on my back, I began to feel dependent on my phone and could never go anywhere without it.
As I began to grow awareness of how often I was on my phone, I tried figuring out a system that would help me go on my phone less and allow me to not feel the need to be on it.
I decided the smartest way to do this was to find a room in my house where I would leave my phone for the majority of the day and not have to carry it around with me. By doing this, I would be forced to step away from my phone and spend moments that I would normally be on my phone with things that would bring me joy and are more productive.
I chose the laundry room in my house to be the room that my phone would stay in. Within just a few days, I could instantly feel the time on my phone decrease.
Every day after school, rather than bringing my phone with me to my room, I would stop by the laundry room and drop it off. While my phone was normally my source of distraction, I could finally feel myself focus more on the things I had to do when I didn’t have my phone staring at me on my desk, waiting to be picked up. Throughout the day when walking up and down the stairs, I would sometimes check my phone to see the texts or calls I had received and quickly answer them, without ever leaving the room. No matter how long I stayed in the laundry room to check my phone, it would always stay in its room. Already, after only a week of leaving my phone in the laundry room, my screen time had gone down by half.
Over time, keeping my phone in the laundry room forced me to be on my phone less outside of my house as well. I started taking walks and running errands without my phone, which showed me how often I would normally have gone on it during those times.
Not taking my phone places and leaving it in my laundry room has allowed me to reflect on how much of my life is spent on my phone. Constantly feeling attached to the world my phone has created for me, I began to lose connection to the world around me by being on my phone so often. By noticing my actions and making the choice of building distance between myself and my phone, I’ve been able to enjoy my phone in a healthy way and not feel the attachment I always used to feel from it.
If you’re anything like me and you feel the constant pressure to go on your phone just because it’s in front of you, I highly recommend trying to find a room in your house that isn’t your own and turning it into a room for your phone. By doing this, you might also be able to notice how often you normally are on your phone and begin to see the advantages of being away from it just like I had.