A few weeks ago, I became aware that I was overloaded and falling behind on assignments. I repeatedly tried catching up during weekends, but I seemed to only be getting deeper and deeper into the pile of work.
I needed to fix my life.
I admitted to myself that I was getting distracted by my phone. I decided the best way for me to get back on track with my work and my mental health is to constrain the use of my phone for some time.
Below are the steps I took to disconnect, as well as the pros and cons I faced.
I recognized that I had a problem.
It was a difficult step for me to recognize my addiction to my phone because I kept thinking, “No, I’m not addicted. I can put my phone down whenever I want.” However, when the time came for me to let go of my phone and focus on homework, every small notification from the phone would result in me using it for another 15 minutes before being able to put it down. The minutes added up. Even when I put my phone on Do Not Disturb mode, I would still check it every few minutes.
I was falling too behind on work and I needed to put an end to my addiction. What to do, what to do. I knew I could not simply progressively reduce the use of my phone because I would just fall back into my old habits. I knew I would have to completely cut myself off.
I completely disconnected.
I signed out of my Instagram and Snapchat accounts for a 2-week period. I proceeded to buy an app which locked my phone for a time period I chose. With these methods in place, there was no way for me to get distracted. I could finally attempt to focus my attention on work.
During this time, there were no streaks I needed to worry about and my closest friends knew about my cleanse (they called me in emergencies instead of texting). As a result, I was able to disconnect completely from my phone. The only reasons I used my phone during those 2 weeks was to set an alarm and check my schedule during school.
I reconnected with myself and the world.
When the disconnecting period came to an end, I was already caught up on all my work. I was even ahead on notes in a couple of classes. During those 2 weeks, I had been going to bed earlier. Since there were no distractions during the day, I was able to finish my homework quicker. I also felt much more rested. The use of my phone may have been straining my eyes a significant amount, and reducing my phone usage may have improved my sleep quality. After discovering how good I felt mentally and physically, I continued to restrain from using my phone as much as I used to. The decrease in my phone use has impacted my health positively, and I encourage you to try it too! A social media cleanse is a good place to start.