“Why Don’t You Try and Live Without your Phone for a Week?” No. Just No.
“Have you ever considered trying to live without your phone for a week?”
That was an actual real question I was asked recently, as though depriving myself of the ability to communicate with any real efficiency would somehow make me a better person.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m completely reliant on my iPhone. Seriously. I would get lost, never be on time for meetings, never be in the right place for meetings and never actually be anywhere in general that I should be if I didn’t have my little electronic iAssistant to hand.
I’ve tried these challenges before – a week without social media or a day without my iPhone. I usually bail after about 30
minutes seconds when I realise that I feel no more fulfilled as a human being than I did when I had my face in the phone during my commute and was Tweeting about coffee and the weather and last night’s TV.
I recently took a break in the Peak District at a beautiful place called Darwin Forest Country Park. Their website warns that there’s no phone signal and I did contemplate the possibility of being 4 days without social media or email and text messages. I was, in some ways, looking forward to it. However, there was brilliant Wifi – so I had my email. And my social media. And access to WhatsApp and iMessage, so it ended up not being iPhone downtime. That said, I didn’t spend anywhere near as much time on the phone. It was time away from work, for me. So yes, I checked my emails once or twice a day. But, for the first time, I didn’t have to charge my phone in 2 days! It was family time.
I didn’t need a WiFi black hole to police my phone time. Common sense and a genuine desire to spend “real” time with my family is enough to take my attention from social media for a weekend.
Don’t get me wrong. I would be lying if I said I’d never checked my phone in the middle of a conversation before. But I don’t sit with my face in it all day every day. It isn’t my only means of communication. And I’d much rather talk face to face with people. But with friends and family overseas, social media is a great way to keep up.
The ability to access my email wherever I am is a key part of my job and access to the web at my fingertips has become a necessity. On the go task management, synced calendars and to do lists keeps me
sane organised – critical for work.
And yes, ok… I do watch videos of puppies barking at themselves in the mirror, check Coronation Street spoilers and “lol” at irritating memes on Facebook and Twitter. I do that too.
But I wouldn’t give it up for a week. Or a day, for that matter. It seems like a fruitless exercise geared only towards proving something we already know – that we’re addicted, in one way or another, to our phones.
Still, there are worse things I could be addicted to, I guess…