I Turned My Phone Off For a Day and Here’s What Happened

Last week, I did what some would say is the unthinkable — I turned off my phone for a full 24 hours and went through the day iPhone-free. Here are some things I learned about myself and my phone addiction.

I’m not as addicted as I thought I was.
This doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard, but what I realized throughout the day was that checking my phone is more of a habit than a hobby. When I was a passenger in the car, I looked out the window and observed things instead of checking social media. This was different but didn’t feel difficult. In fact, it was pretty enjoyable, and I would recommend we all break the habit of picking up our phones whenever there’s a moment of downtime.

I learned how much we all rely on Facebook.
One rule I had for the day was that I was still allowed to use my laptop for school work and other activities like online shopping (because sales). I realized I couldn’t avoid social media altogether because I had to communicate with my group for a class project over Facebook and make announcements on my sorority's page. Just because I can live without my phone for a day doesn’t mean I can live without Facebook, which I think is pretty sad.

Seeing messages come through on my laptop was the hardest part.
I have iMessage on my laptop as well as my phone, so every time I was on my computer I could see the messages flooding in and I felt helpless not being able to answer them. It was a true test of willpower to not cheat and text on my computer.

I realized the true benefits of my phone.
One of my best friends lives four hours away, and my other friend and I rarely get to see her. But nothing ever changes because we all talk every day. Thanks to my phone being by my side, I can shoot her a text or Snapchat every time something funny happens as a way to stay connected. Our constant communication, despite distance has definitely strengthened our friendship and made us more a part of each other’s lives. Being able to communicate with people so easily is actually pretty cool, and my experiment was a reminder to appreciate that we have the ability to do so.

I was more present with my family.
My family and I are very close, and I would never say that I am on my phone so much that my relationship with them is hindered. However, I don’t think I realized until I didn’t have my phone how much I’m missing by being on it when I’m with my family. It’s great to be able to communicate with friends while I’m home, but next time I’m only going to pull out my phone when I have a purpose, not just to check social media and waste time. I think I’ll find that I'm living more in the moment, which is important to me.

I became more aware of how often I’m on it and am actively trying to change my habits.
Now that I experienced being without my phone for a whole day, I realized that it is definitely possible to get through the day without being so reliant on it. Although it’s not necessary and often not realistic to cut out our phones completely, doing it for a short period of time showed me that it is important to cut down. I’ve found that since I turned my phone back on, I’m not on it as much throughout the day, and I’m much more aware of when I’m using it out of boredom and to pass by time.

I survived.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I got through the day completely alive with no harm done. Contrary to what some of us may believe, we can live without our phones. Realizing how much more there is to life than social media could be really life changing for many of us.

Maybe you won’t resist using your phone for an entire day, but I challenge all of you to go some period of time without your phone. Reflect on your reactions and feelings during that time, and you might learn something about yourself and your relationship with technology that you never realized before.

Photo credit: byu.edu