I Turned My Phone Off for a Day & It Was Great​

Phones are great. We need them for communication, cameras, alarms and locating the port authority buses. But we don’t need access to them every minute of the day. I “challenged” myself to turn my phone off for one day from 6:30am to 10:30pm. (I put apostrophes around the word challenge because anyone who knows me knows that I rarely use my phone throughout the day; making this more a removal of an annoyance than a challenge).

On average, I use my phone for one to three hours per day. During class, I find there is no need to use it and when I study, I don’t find my phone to be a distraction. Nowadays, these statements are rare. How did I go a day without using my phone? It was actually quite easy.

6:30am: Woke up to the alarm set on my phone.

6:31am: Answered phone call for two-factor authentication for “my.pitt.” I hoped that login would work for the rest of the day.

6:32am: Goodbye, rectangular time-vacuum.

8:30am: Needed to walk to my first class. Without music? Nah. I whipped out the Purple Dinosaur, aka my iPod Nano. #HatersGonnaHate

9:00am: I hoped none of my clubs or jobs needed to reach out and change schedules.

11:00am: It wasn’t that bad, kind of calming.

1:00pm: Nano battery was still going strong.

3:00pm: I was too preoccupied with classes and studying to actually care about checking my phone.

5:00pm: Finished classes. Felt less stressed and calmer than I normally would have at that time.

7:00pm: I would text people and ask if they wanted to study together or go to the Union and study alone. Instead, I decided to take a gamble and see if they were in their usual spot at the library.

10:30pm: Was it ten already? Why do days run together in college?

11:00pm: Turned my phone back on only to be bombarded with messages from family, friends and clubs. Not answering messages until late at night was not a problem for me because the people I am close to know I stay busy with school. The greatest challenge of the day was remembering when to leave for classes, since I usually set phone alarms like it’s my job.

Final Reflection

Why are we so consumed with our phones? They are tiny robots that make our lives easier to stay informed and connected. I enjoy the amenities of phones, but I try not to forget to use the main platforms those apps were invented for. I still read the newspaper to engage in current events.

Technology is interwoven into our lives, practically unavoidable. Social media, games, and other distractions are avoidable. Although I don't normally spend time on social media, this challenge definitely helped me prioritize my time and recognize what is most important to me. If I did need a break, I turned to my book of the week: Jaws. Books can be great substitutes to phones. Think about it— what do you do when you wait in a line, wait for class to start, ride the bus or eat alone? I bet using your phone is a top answer. Instead, why not try utilizing your time by reading a book? You might surprise yourself.

 

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