Two weeks ago we announced that we were going to do a cellphone challenge. The aim of this challenge was to focus on being present and less distracted by our cellphones on a daily basis. We gave ourselves guidelines to follow for an entire week and we were off!
So, how was it? See each of our thoughts below:
How did you do overall?
B: Eh, I’ll give myself a B, B-. Some days (like the weekends) it was so easy for me to forget about my phone and social media. But the weekdays were hard. I realized I used my phone WAY more than I thought I did, mainly as a little break throughout the workday.
T: I would love to tell you I rocked this. I totally did not. This was a struggle for sure. By the last couple of days, I was a complete failure as I was traveling for business and I needed to look at my phone to keep up with work email during the day. As a result, I also looked at social media way more than I should have as my habit is to check other things on my phone regardless of the reason I picked it up in the first place!
What was the hardest part of the challenge?
B: Just accepting how often I was checking my phone or social media, as I was sooooo in denial about that. There were some times when I reached for my phone, and I wasn’t supposed to be using it, and I was thankful for the challenge for keeping me present in the moment. Other times I thought, actually, I do want to use my phone now and I think that is OK, such as during the evenings when I was winding down after dinner.
T: During this challenge, we had someone share our site on Instagram and I was itching to check both Instagram and our site for new followers. I also had moments like during a work webinar where I didn’t realize I even ever looked at my phone where I was itching to check it. Several times during this challenge, I picked up my phone and then put it back down realizing I wasn’t supposed to check it.
What did you learn from the challenge?
B: Putting the phone down is scary, but not as hard as I was initially thinking. I do have some habits that I want to change, but I can do it! The challenge did get easier for me as the week went on, which gives me the positive reinforcement I need to break some of my old habits and start new, healthier ones.
T: I learned that I have some ingrained habits such as checking my phone immediately upon waking up or while on a webinar that I didn’t even realize I had. I also realized that there are only a few “danger times” when I look at my phone while I should be being present with work/friend/family. Overall, I am not too bad with my phone. It is more the frequency that I check it than the duration as our 30 minute or 15 minute time frames we set were actually much longer than I even needed. I just wished I could check it more often.
Is there anything you’ll take away from this challenge for your everyday life?
B: I really liked not looking at my phone within the first 30 minutes of waking up. It allowed me to wake up slowly and settled into my day before responding to others. I also think I am generally more aware now of how the phone can be a distraction, which sometimes that is ok, but other times I need to be able to walk away. Being able to tap into that awareness has made this challenge a success for me!
T: Well, I need to work way harder at not using my phone at moments where I’m bored (ahem, the webinar), waiting, or just hanging out. I want to be much more intentional on the use of my phone and that is going to take more than a week long challenge given how engrained it is for me and everyone else! It’s a great tool, but it shouldn’t be something I use to distract myself from being present in real life. I will survive without checking it at stop lights or when waiting in line!