We see it everywhere--while waiting in line at the grocery store or driving to work or eating out at a restaurant: people’s eyes seem glued to their cell phones. We’re not sure if it is because folks are too scared to have a genuine conversation with the stranger standing in front or behind them, or if it’s because they actually have important emails and text messages to send. It has become part of the social norm for individuals to be attached to their phones, constantly checking, typing, scrolling.
In addition to our daytime cell phone use, the problem has continued or almost increases after work hours. For many of us at the end of a long day, it has become customary to sit on the couch and aimlessly scroll social media. You have every intention to go to bed early, but by the time you check the time, 50 minutes has passed, and it is now almost 11pm.
This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to place your phone out of sight (perhaps a totally different room) for at least 15-minute increments. This may feel uncomfortable at first since we are so used to having our phone by our sides all day long; however, the time you spend disconnected from your phone is actually liberating. Throughout the day, find opportunities to put your phone aside and be present in the moment.
Listed below are some great moments to detach from your cell phone:
· When you’re at dinner with friends or family, have everyone stack their phones on the side of the table or elsewhere. That way you can hold each other accountable for not using your phones.
· Delete your Facebook app for the week so you are not checking Facebook every five minutes when you are away from home.
· Do not answer calls and texts while exercising if you are using your phone for exercise apps or music.
· Leave your phone at home while running errands.
· Embrace your surroundings: look at everything around you and try to find peace in these moments without your phone.
Here are some helpful tips:
1. Put your phone on do not disturb or schedule set hours in settings.
2. Switch to airplane mode.
3. Turn it off completely.
5. Check out an article on Buzzfeed that actually lists 22 ways to break up with your cell phone.
Remember, this week’s challenge is not a complete digital detox; it is just a way to spend more time focusing on the people you are with or on the tasks you are doing. Who knows, maybe after the challenge you’ll want to keep the trend going so you can inspire others to put their phones away and be fully present. Technology and social media are amazing innovations with positive rewards; however, it is essential for our own health and well-being to take a phone timeout every now and again.