We’ve all been there. Picking up our phones a hundred times a day. Looking at thousands of push notifications. Staring for hours upon hours. We’ve all changed.
We’re living in the smartphone era. Whether you were around before or after the release of the original iPhone, your habits have evolved because of the device in your pocket.
And that’s okay. But okay wasn’t enough for me.
I discovered “How to Break Up With Your Phone,” by Catherine Price, in the fall of last year. The yellow cover and title drew me in. At the time, I was already starting down the path of figuring out how to cure my smartphone addiction.
It’s not like I wasn’t able to focus back then. At least, I thought so.
It took me 30 days—the book suggests the same amount of time—to finally break up with my phone.
I won’t go into too many details, as the book is a great resource, and I recommend reading if you’re interested in this lifestyle change.
I started this journey by deleting all social media apps and turning off push notifications for nearly everything else.
I kept my phone as far away as possible during work.
Even after I finished my work day, I’d still keep it in the other room as I was eating dinner or binging a show with my wife.
I gave up on everything that was clawing for my attention.
Immediately, I felt a sense of clarity.
Any stress related to checking my phone disappeared.
I even experienced colors differently. I saw things in real life more vividly. Signs stood out more. Trees, leaves, and nature looked more vibrant. It was amazing.
Admittedly, the color experience didn’t last more than a week or two, but the thing that stuck was the focus.
For the first time, in a long time, I didn’t feel distracted.
There was nothing pulling me away from what I was doing, whether I was working, reading, writing, or spending time with my loved ones. I felt, and still feel, as if I’m able to focus way more.
The two reasons why I think my focus has stuck:
I gave up the biggest distraction in my life. My phone. I discovered how much extra time I had during the day.The hardest part of this experience was figuring out how to spend my extra time now that I wasn’t glued to my phone.
I dove into what all of the articles, books, and people that advocate for breaking up with your phone get wrong about how you should spend your free time here.