Recently, I noticed that my phone was always in my hands, even when I didn’t need it. Checking social media and other updates on my phone became my priorities so I challenged myself to leave my phone at home for an entire day and reflect on what I learned:
1. I began to notice everyone on their phones.
I noticed when my friends would be in the middle of a conversation with me and mindlessly pick up their phone, even though the sound was on. Usually, I wouldn’t mind this because I know I do this too, but I realized how rude doing this was as well as how often we tend not to notice.
2. There’s more time in the day that I remembered.
This day went on FOREVER. I was waiting in line for a bagel at Einstein’s and not being able to check my phone was awful. I thought that I should try and be social, but everyone around me was on their phone. I was extremely bored.
3. My hand naturally looks for my phone.
There are so many little moments throughout the day when I’m used to just mindlessly reaching into my pocket and checking the time or seeing if I got any messages. Watching how many times this happened was annoying but also eye-opening. Why did I always need to know the time anyway?
4. I don’t know what to do with my hands and I look down a lot.
I think this is a side-effect of constantly checking my phone throughout the day, but these mannerisms became habits that I wasn’t previously aware of.
5. I’m really bad at paying attention.
I’m not sure if my short-attention span is an effect of being used to instant gratification from my phone all the time, but not having my phone made me realize how bad my attention span really is. I craved my phone, especially in the moments when I needed to discipline myself and pay attention like during class or writing this article.
6. I hide behind my phone.
There were many times throughout the day when I wouldn’t want someone to talk to me so I tried to reach for my phone in order to pretend to look busy. Not having my phone made me open myself up more and be honest with the people around me. I was more personally invested in my conversations and in turn actually whole-heartedly enjoyed them more.
7. Social media had turned into a responsibility instead of a leisure activity.
When I came back home to my phone, I found myself very frustrated at how many posts on Instagram or tweets I would have to catch up on, but then I realized something else- I didn’t have to catch up on anything. If something was important, then I was there in person, witnessing it for myself. I love Snapchat and Insta as much as the next girl, but this experience helped me remember that social media is an accessory on our phones, not a necessity.
I didn’t know what to expect when I left my phone at home for a day, but I’m glad that I did. I learned a lot about my habits and tendencies. This experience as a whole was incredibly eye-opening. I think that it is important for our generation to recognize the beauty and opportunity that technology brings, but every once in a while, to step back and celebrate the way life was before it and to remind ourselves that we can survive without it.