24 Hours Without a Phone: Here's What Happened

As a 2000’s kid, I have grown up with the constant changes in technology and have seen the very first iPhone come into existence. I was given my first phone (my sister's old pink flip-up phone) when I was about nine years old, but I had no real use for it so that hardly counts. I got my first proper phone when I was 11 and it was a Samsung Galaxy Young. I’ve still got it now and occasionally look back through my old photos, especially the bad quality One Direction concert videos I have stored. Since then, I've had two iPhones and I genuinely don’t think a day has passed where I have not been on my phone. It’s crazy to think that phones used to simply be for ringing people; now they do almost anything imaginable. Most teenagers admittedly use them in awkward social situations, such as when a conversation goes quiet or they're waiting at a bus stop. But, we are literally attached to them. So, I decided it was a time to have a break from my phone. To make it even more difficult for myself I am trying this out whilst back at university, during winter, in a pandemic when there is not much to do.

Here’s how my 24 hours without a phone went:


8:30am – Woke up and immediately went to grab my phone to check Snapchat.

At this point I could already tell it was going to be a difficult day, since I forgot my challenge within the first 30 seconds.

9:10am – Put washing on, but I had to the break the rules and use the circuit laundry app unfortunately.

9:20am – Made my bed and tidied my room.

9:25am – Started watching Malcolm and Marie on Netflix.

Simply sitting and watching a film without going on my phone was a challenge. However, it resulted in me being more engaged with the film and paying a lot closer attention.

10:25am – Showered.

11:05am – Looked through old photos on my laptop.

Tell me I’m not the only one who likes reminiscing.

11:30am – Watched more Netflix.

12:15pm – Made lunch.

I chose to actually cook something to fill the time, which helped me feel more awake for the rest of the day.

12:40pm – Watched more Netflix.

13:10pm – Watched a lecture.

Interestingly, I found myself drinking more during this time. I think this might be because I often find it difficult to just sit and listen without doing anything and going on my phone is normally the habit, so instead I was repeatedly grabbing a drink.

14:45pm – Finally finished the lecture.

I noticed myself becoming quite frustrated at this point because this is normally when I would relax and watch TikTok on my phone.

14:50pm – Watched Netflix.

15:30pm – Decided to do my makeup.

16:05pm – Curled my hair.

16:50pm – Completed a reading for one of my modules.

17:25pm – Watched Netflix.

18:15pm – Unfortunately,I had to break the rules again to FaceTime home for my Dad’s birthday.

19:20pm – Made my tea.

20:00pm – Took the bins out.

20:15pm – Watched more Netflix until I went to bed.


These 24 hours were tough. However, not as tough as I thought it would be. I reckon this is because of the availability of other technology and the ease of just switching on Netflix to pass the time by (which I clearly do a lot). The times when I normally would scroll through my phone were the hardest because I had to find something else to do to replace it. For instance, the morning was probably initially the hardest for me because I don’t normally get much done in that time, procrastinating on my phone. But, being away from it meant that I actually had a productive morning which then set me up for feeling better for the rest of the day. Furthermore, I found that at the end of the day I had less of a headache than usual. This could be due to two factors that day: drinking more water or not being on my phone. Either way it definitely proved to me that there are some lifestyle changes I should make.

Overall, I didn’t find this challenge completely life-changing; I think to feel a bigger change I would have to completely rule out technology and maybe for longer than a day. However, I do believe this has helped me realise that I am actually able to go without my phone and therefore I will try to cut down on screen time in the future.


Words By: Chloe Hill

Edited By: Dasha Pitts-Yushchenko