I Went 7 Days Without My Phone

The thought of this experiment both intrigued and terrified me. Before jumping into it, I really had to consider what owning and using a phone means to me and how it impacts my day-to-day experiences. And I wouldn’t really know the answer to that until the week was over.

The idea of cutting myself off from the world (in one way at least) seemed strange. Sure, I could still access some social media through my laptop, but I would no longer receive notifications the moment someone messaged me or when my favourite YouTubers uploaded content - or even the latest news on my mobile news apps.

So… after getting my head around all that, this is what I learned from one week without my phone.


I have a serious problem

From day one, I noticed just how often I go to grab my phone - to fill the silence with YouTube videos during meals, to routinely scroll through my social media apps, or to answer the random yet pointless questions that pop into my head and won’t stop irritating me until I Google them.


I immediately realised that having a mobile phone is the equivalent of having a constant stream of limitless information at arm’s length, a privilege we all take for granted. It’s interesting to think you can only stay fully connected to society with a smartphone in your grasp.


Your thoughts aren’t your enemy


When you’re suddenly forced to be alone with your thoughts for most of the day - commuting, chilling or cooking - rather than killing brain cells looking at memes or however else you use your mobile data, it's worrying to realize how little time we seem to spend just thinking. In reality, even for those who don’t experience the nicest of thoughts, everyone’s mental health could benefit from dedicating some time every day to being free from distractions, listening to your own inner narrative, and, if you can’t bear that any longer, going outside to appreciate the world beyond a 5” screen.




Boredom = productivity


My phone ban made me much more productive - but not in the way you would expect. It’s not simply being less distracted while studying. Even when I’m trying to avoid doing work, there’s nothing I can do without fully committing myself to the guilt of not studying. For example, deciding to watch a film or play the PS4 isn’t an option for me when deadlines are too close because it’s obviously unproductive. But you don’t always place ‘browsing the internet for half an hour after dinner’ in the same category. It’s not committing to procrastinating in the same way as it’s not committing to studying. Now, without that limbo activity, I’ve ended up washing my dishes and getting on with the task at hand.


Wow, I feel like I’ve actually slept!


For the first few days, I just about fought the instinct to sit on my phone for hours in bed at night before passing out, only to reach for my phone again upon waking up. It’s a terrible habit and I have tried many times before to ban the blue screen, but it’s such an embedded habit that I always convinced myself it was the only way I could fall asleep at night.


However, I’ve been strict and I think outrightly banning phone use in bed has allowed me to get up a little earlier each morning and only get into bed when know I’ll fall asleep straight away, helping me achieve a better quality of sleep!


Everyone should try this…


...and make it into a permanent habit. I don’t mean cancelling your contract, throwing your phone off a cliff and saying goodbye to your family as you go off to live in the mountains.

Let’s face it - in this day and age smartphones are incredibly convenient and useful devices for endless reasons.


Yet, I feel like this week was more enjoyable and less stressful than many weeks at uni, and surprisingly, I wasn’t eager to tick off the 7 days and reunite myself with my phone. In fact, this was an extreme (but necessary) introduction to a future life (hopefully) much less dependent on technological distractions, which could do many of us a world of good.

Edited By Niamh Perry