Untethering from my iPhone

Me and my iPhone need to break up (or at least see each other less).

On Wednesday (28/6/17) I went along to a monthly Creator’s Club where the guest speaker was discussing Futurism and the rapid increase in computing power and emerging automated technologies. The talk itself was mind blowing, to have it put into perspective just how much technology is going to change the world and everyone’s lives is both terrifying and exciting.

I will talk more on my opinions on this subject (the increase use of technology to automate human tasks). But for this article I wanted to focus more on a discussion I was having with people after the talk.

The Addiction

Me and a few others were talking about how addicted we’ve all become to our phones and more worryingly, only just realised this.

I shared a story about how I went out to the shops and accidentally left my phone at home. By the time I realised I was already driving and couldn’t be bothered to turn around. The reaction from the others was literally “WOW! What was that like?”, quickly followed by laughter when we realised that the shock of this was utterly ridiculous.

But it’s kinda true though. When was the last time you went out without your phone? When did you last not check WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram for an ENTIRE DAY.

Now, I was only out a short period of time (an hour or so – WOW big deal) but I can tell you that being without my phone felt AMAZING. It sounds crazy but I felt free! Free from having to think “has anyone messaged me?” or kill time walking between shops by refreshing my Facebook feed.

We underestimate the scenarios when we check our phones. One time I even caught myself checking it when I was waiting for my receipt at a shop. In literally the shortest wait time, I had my phone out and avoided any kind of conversation with the cashier.

And because we check our phones so often, it becomes muscle memory, we load apps, refresh feeds, without thinking.

You might not even think you’re that addicted to checking your phone but I bet if you asked someone that doesn’t own a smart phone, they would disagree. I know some people that don’t have an iPhone and they get SO frustrated with people around them always being on them. It’s been pointed out to me and I honestly thought I wasn’t on it much.

Consuming vs Creating

I think part of the problem is there’s so much activity going on throughout the internet, we don’t want to miss out. We crave to consume more. More information about each other’s lives, about what’s going on in the world (mostly negative – what do you think that does for us?), about health, or any subject that we’re passionate about. When all that information is effectively on tap, why wouldn’t you indulge yourself all day every day?

Let’s put it another way, when was the last time you created something? And I don’t mean a Facebook post about what happened on Eastenders last night. Something that really got your juices flowing – drawing, painting, writing, journalling, singing, photography, i.e. made something, anything that challenged your creative mind! We’re more consumers than creators nowadays and that, I believe, is an issue.

Baby Steps

For me, I’ve tried to take steps to stop being distracted by my iPhone, reduce the temptation of looking. The process is gradual but here’s what I did/am doing:

1. Turned off MOST notifications

This took a little time as I needed to do it for each individual app. But it was worth it! The only notifications I get are if I receive a text/iMessage or if I receive a phone call. The great thing is most people I know use WhatsApp and now I can choose when to check the app for new messages.

Not having my phone buzz or ping all the time massively helped reduce the temptation to look at my phone.

2. Deleted Apps

This is a biggy.

Try deleting the Social media apps from your phone. Then you’ll really suffer withdrawals. Why not? If you really want to check you can either load up the internet on your phone and login, or check on a computer.

3. GO OUT WITHOUT YOUR PHONE

Yep, just leave that puppy right at home.

4. Leave it in another room

Find yourself carrying your phone with you all around the house? Yep, me too. Leave it in a room you barely go in. Better yet, overnight leave it to charge in any room apart from the Bedroom. You can get an alarm clock for £3 on Amazon.

Give those a go and see what difference it makes to your daily life.

Cold Turkey?

I can’t see me completely getting rid of my smart phone, although I know that’s what others have done and feel amazing (Ed Sheeran famously got rid of his phone). I run a business after all and aside from carrying a laptop around everywhere, a phone is a good mobile computer to interact with customers if there’s a problem.

I think it’s time we took control back from our tech. It seems to control us right now without us realising it. Technology/Social Media definitely has a use, but distracting us from going about our lives and being creators, is not it.

That’s my thoughts on the subject! Feel free to post yours below 🙂

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