I Went Without my Phone for a Week

I was walking to class like any other day when my phone slipped out of my hand. At first, I thought it would be fine; I had a case on it and my clumsiness meant I had dropped my phone plenty of times before. However, when I picked it up, the screen was cracked beyond repair. It did not even light up when I pressed the home button. Knowing that taking it to a phone shop would be hopeless and expensive, I decided to use my phone insurance and mail it in for a free replacement device. The week that followed was a learning experience to say the least.

I have been off the grid multiple times before. My family travels quite often (I have been to 82 countries on seven continents) and unless we are traveling in the states, I do not have access to the internet. When I am at home, though, I spend hours on my phone, checking the time, answering emails and checking social media. When I was phoneless, my availability for those activities was limited to when I had the ability to use my laptop. The main difference between past phoneless experiences and this one was how much I had to accommodate my daily schedule to account for how busy I was.

Whenever I got a break from class, I pulled out my laptop to check my email, my calendar or what time it was. I became inactive on social media because it got in the way of time I needed to complete other tasks or my homework. Any texts or calls that I got all week went unanswered. That week showed me how dependent I was on my phone and gave me the chance to take time for myself and reflect on how I wanted to split my time going forward. If I wanted to talk to someone I had to try harder to contact them, so that week helped me value my interpersonal relationships more too. Despite the inconveniences from not having access to my phone, the lessons I learned that week were not all bad.

Even if your phone does not break like mine does, I recommend taking a break from it in some capacity. Whether you experiment by not checking it for a weekday or a whole weekend, not having your phone can teach you what matters to you and how you can prioritize those things in your daily, phone-ful life.