The title may sound slightly dramatic, but it’s very common that most people couldn’t leave the house without their phone or they aren’t able to go without their phone for a day. It makes me think about when I was younger, we would normally ask our friends at school if they would like to come over to our house. The friend would ask their parents, and then they might give a call from the home line to confirm, or just let us know the next day at school. I think perhaps, there is now more of an urgency and ability to receive information instantly, that we lose that sense of patience, waiting and receiving news a little later.
It’s a wonderful tool, yet everything requires balance and moderation. I did an experiment as I sat at the cinema waiting area today. The observations I made, was that every single person within one minute of sitting down would normally use a technological device. It may be their phone, tablet, music player or similar. They would normally be looking down and scrolling, reading something, watching a video, playing a game and so on. There would sometimes be friends side by side, silent, whilst looking at their phones. There would also be friends that laugh and watch a video together, sharing experiences together through technology.
There would be people taking photos of the cinema, perhaps to send where they are and what they are doing. There were kids on the phone playing a game, while their parents sat beside. It made me realise how much our devices are a part of our lives (as I type this on a laptop), and how much we’re not always conscious of its existence in our lives, because it becomes a habit and norm. Recently, I find it’s been a really great action to take when I leave home, to simply leave my phone at home. This means, I walk to uni, go to my classes and study, without feeling the need to check my phone. I look at the clock around the room to check the time.
When I took away that aspect for most of the day, I realised that at the end of the day, I can check everything in one go. My messages, emails, notifications and so on. It took away this sense of needing to check my phone, even when I didn’t need it. It made me more observant, present and just embrace the art of doing nothing and just being. I realised how much my phone can sometimes give me slight anxiety and urgency, take away precious time and that the less I use it, the more I feel focused on tasks and the more I don’t allow it to fill up to many spaces in my day.
I do miss the days where phones weren’t such a huge part of lives, that when we left home it would only often be the keys on us that were most important. There was a sense of interaction that is not as common now. I remember talking to strangers more and making friends through the same silence, and simply breaking it. However, now it’s easy for many people to avoid the silence by using their devices. Many people attend to a notification straight away, a text is replied immediately and there is this online noise that is ongoing. I think to simply minimise one’s use of their phone is to consciously decide to.
You could remove apps that you don’t use often, but may check sometimes, but aren’t hugely important. You could leave the house one day without your phone, and note how you feel during the day. Presence is truly key. When you realise that you don’t need to capture this moment, message someone about something right this very moment and escape the silence, you enjoy the moment. I like to take those moments to just pause, go for a walk just with myself, read a book, cook a delicious meal, pat the cats and play the piano. There are endless things to enjoy without the presence of our phones.
What are your thoughts? How do you minimise the use of your phone?