How to Break Up with your Phone

It was the title of this book that grabbed my attention. Break up? What a cool idea. I immediately picked up this book, and read it over the summers of 2018. Since I was on an extended summer break, I actually managed to stay away from my phone for two months. Those two months for me were the most beautiful months because I wasn’t glued to my phone. I was experiencing something called life!

This book is ideal for anyone who is seeking to reduce the amount of time they are spending on their phones. It will help you understand the intricacies of our cell phones, the way it keeps us addicted to it and why it causes stress and sleep deprivation.

No Need to Throw your Phone under the Bus

It is important to realize that the author states very early on that the “point of the book is not to get you to throw your phone under a bus.” Rather, she advocates the good usage of smartphones- camera, music, checking the news, keeping in touch. “The problem isn’t smartphone themselves. The problem is our relationship with them.”

“Breaking up with your phone means giving yourself a chane to stop and think. It means setting boundaring between your online and offline lives.”

 

The Wake Up

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The first part, titled The Wake Up, covers various issues such as Why Social Media Sucks, Your Phone is Killing Your Attention Span, Stress Sleep and Satisfaction, Our Phones are Designed to Addict us and so on. These short chapters have enough information to change your perspective towards your phones. She equates breaking up with your phone to breaking up with a boyfriend/ girlfriend, and your best friend takes you aside and helps you understand why the boyfriend/ girlfriend was toxic for you in the first place. In the same manner, the author spends time helping us understand why smartphones can be a source of anxiety and stress for us.

 

The Break Up

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The second half of the book tells you exactly what to do for 30 days as you break up with your phone. It is a day by day guide, with each day giving you specific steps to take to help you. It is a gradual process to reclaiming your life and using your phone in a better way that is sustainable and makes you feel good.

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Personally Speaking

  1. I downloaded this app called Moments. I was shocked to notice that I used my phone up to 13 hours in a day, with 100s of pick-up each day. I was just plain shocked. I asked others to download this app and see what their results were. Turns out they were equally bad as me. Thankfully, because I’ve been very mindful now, my total phone usage in a 24 hour period has dropped down to 3-4 hours. Thankfully because now I have lot more time to do other things and enjoy life.

 

  1. My phone is NOT being charged next to my bed. SO my phone is NOT the first thing I see in the morning, or the last thing at night.

 

  1. I deleted social media apps—yes Facebook and Instagram- for 30 days. I used these apps when I actually sat down on my desktop computer. But for those 30 days, I actually felt like my phone was useless and is only good for making calls. I realized then how social media apps are like junk food and how cleverly they keep us addicted. I did go through my FOMO period but that has now developed into JOMO. (I have reinstalled both the apps, but I’ve trained myself now to not keep on checking it all the time)

 

  1. I’ve modified the notifications settings on my phone. The fewer notifications I receive, the easier life becomes.

 

  1. Am much more mindful to keep the phone away when hanging out with friends, or not take the phone with to the cinema. Human interactions are the best things in life. Why waste the opportunity to spend time with other people by being on your phone?

 

Ideal World

If it were an ideal world, I would happily get rid of my smartphone—oh wait—I already did. I used to have two numbers—one for work, and one for personal use. Now I’ve got rid of my work phone and just my personal number for everything. So, one phone out of the way.

However, I wish I could get rid of my personal number too and not have a cell phone at all. It’s easier said than done.

I will say that my relationship with my phone has improved vastly. No longer am I running after it, checking for all notifications, checking for updates—I only access my phone when it’s something important.

This has freed up a lot of time for me to pursue so many other activities and I am so grateful for that.

 

Finally….

Again, the idea is to not throw away your phone, but rather, to reassess your relationship with your smartphones and reclaim your life.

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