This month I want to talk to you about simplicity. I think one way that we can get more time, more freedom, more headspace, therefore more simplicity in our lives, is to have a bit of discipline around mobile phones. I’ve recently read a great book called ‘How to Break Up With Your Phone’ by Catherine Price, a journalist based out in the States who I interviewed for my podcast series several months ago – it’s a brilliant book which I’d recommend. It is literally dog-eared from the notes I’ve taken from it for my interview, but also our rescue dog Kami got her teeth into it – so we’ve both read it, both enjoyed it, and both got through it.
I was talking recently to a client of mine who said that he lost his phone last week and therefore wasn’t going to have a mobile phone for at least another week. He was describing the extra freedom he felt he had – after a bit of anxiety, a separation anxiety from the phone – but more freedom, more headspace.
If we feel anxious when we’re separated from our phones, that’s because we’ve been conditioned to release adrenaline and cortisol when we can’t check them.
My client’s concentration was better, sleep was improved because he wasn’t looking at a device and getting subjected to all that blue light at night, and generally feeling a little bit more relaxed, a little bit less stressed, particularly at the end of the day, which of course is when we want to be getting ready to be sleeping to go to bed.
What kind of relationship do you have with your mobile phone? Is it healthy? How is it affecting you and your relationships with the people who are important to you?
My challenge to you is this, can you do one of two things?
First option: Do a complete 24-hour digital detox. Could you go without your phone for a 24-hour period?
Second option (the lighter option): Turn off all the notifications on your phone so you don’t get any dinging, whirring (nothing except perhaps text messages and phone calls) and have a curfew. Literally put your phone to bed at 7:00pm or 9:00pm so that you can start withdrawing from that blue light and winding down mentally, getting yourself ready for sleep.
If you want some other ideas on this, then I’d recommend Catherine’s book – a lot of ideas, and some really eye-opening discussions around Facebook and Instagram and the other social media sites whose sole job it is to get you in the app and also keep you on the app looking at different things, posting, messaging, liking, sharing. They are making these things addictive, and that’s the point.
Simplicity for me is going to be back to the mobile phone. See what you can do, see if you can do the full digital detox or try the light version… good luck!
This article first appeared in the September 2019 issue of SE22 magazine.