As an only child in the early 2000’s, I grew up spending a large amount of my alone time on self-reflection and creative exploration without the presence of a smartphone. I would watch endless cartoons, read loads of adventure books, play video games, and write in my Barbie & The Pegasus journal. I then spent my remaining free time actively befriending kids of the same age, and I was able to juggle my free time between playing with friends and spending time by myself. However, as I grew older, I slowly witnessed a decrease in the time I spent on self-reflection as my schedule became more jam-packed with a never-ending list of important tasks. This change was further hastened by the sudden rise of mobile technology, hence the reason I decided to test my cognizance by simply abstaining from it.
Prior to this mini self-experiment, meditation was something that I thought so little of, in regard to productivity. I’ve always encountered various TV/media personalities rave and swear by its importance, but I just saw it as another bit of celebrity hype. It wasn’t until I tried it firsthand that I realized how much it helped me get into a clearer and more focused mindset. I started by scheduling this day on a Sunday, which is usually the day of the week when: A) I don’t have school or work and B) nothing eventful is happening. I prepared for this day the night before by going to sleep at the same time I usually do, around midnight. Then, I woke up at noon and spent the rest of the day chipping away at my mountain of homework assignments; I surprisingly managed to stay off my phone and social media the whole entire time. My productive day went by very fast and ended in the late evening when I used my phone to order dinner through a food delivery app.
Listening played an important role throughout this day. I’ve always been aware of the fact that I’m talkative, but I realized that I have not been as attentive or aware of my surroundings as I’d like to be. Going on a day without touching my phone helped eliminate any frantic thoughts and instead replaced it with focus. The feeling of silence and not constantly engaging in any online activity (i.e. scrolling through my feed or sending texts to friends) felt unfamiliar. I soon realized that my unhealthy smartphone usage has been an immense hindrance to my productivity. I accomplished more during the time I was away from my phone (even just for 7 hours) than any other time I tried to study since I started college.
I realized that much of my dissatisfaction in life is due to my constant need to update myself on what’s happening in the world instead of working on skills that can help me change it for the better. It’s absurd tune in to every pin drop within the world of social media when I could spend that time working on self-progression instead. The last thing that I realized was how grateful I am to receive the best support from my loved ones; the activity definitely made me value them more. Overall, this mini self-experiment was calming, wholly enriching, and (as cheesy as it sounds-) life-changing. Since then, I have incorporated this habit of unplugging into my daily routine and I couldn’t be happier.