I performed a little experiment on myself last week: I set rules for when I could and could not use my phone during the course of the day. Here’s what I found out:

  1. I am more attached to my phone than I thought. I like to think that I’m less obsessed with my phone than most people (like that makes me awesome, or something). But, as I discovered last week, that is not the case. I turned my phone on silent while I was at work and forced myself to look at it only twice a day (about 3 out of 5 days last week, this did not pan out), and I was itching to check my texts anytime I had a bit of a slow spot during the day.
  2. I sleep so much better when I leave my phone alone for at least an hour before bed. I’ve read this in various places before: you should not be looking at your phone, tablet, TV, etc. before bed because it keeps you from falling asleep. But it’s so hard to forgo screen time (especially Netflix!) at night, especially if that is how you wind down. I’ll tell you something, though: I really believe this now. I forced myself to put my phone down around 9pm each night last week and, for the most part, I fell asleep more quickly and stayed asleep all night.
  3. I do more things for myself without my phone. I felt like superwoman last week: I did several loads of laundry, did some major cleaning that I had been putting off, cooked more, and read more at home. Sometimes, I get lost on my social media apps or a silly game on my phone when I could be doing something else way more productive. I’m not bashing those things (because, believe me, sometimes I just need to sit down with Angry Birds for awhile and not think!), but they don’t have to be my go-to activity every time. And, just as a disclaimer, I’m sure that I won’t continue these feats of amazing productivity each week :).
  4. I talk to my friends and family and am more engaged in the conversation. I had to cheat a little and use my phone to discover this, but there is one key aspect of that statement: I actually called people instead of texting them. I am the queen of texting–if I can text someone instead of calling them, I do it. I know that sounds terrible (and I’ve felt guilty about this for years!), but once I made a conscious decision to forgo texting for an actual phone call, I felt that I was really able to catch up with my family and friends.
  5. There is no hard and fast rule for everybody. Don’t feel guilty if you use your phone a lot! Don’t feel guilty if you don’t! Do what works for you. I wanted to test out some options to improve my personal well-being and there are some I’ll use and some I won’t. That’s life and that’s the way it should be–everyone should do what works best for them and their life situation.

Has anyone done a phone “purge” in your life? Any results, good or bad?