I open my eyes, staring up at the dark ceiling. Automatically, almost subconsciously, I reach for my phone and turn it on. I blink multiple times in succession, trying to get used to the bright light. Once my eyes have adjusted, I tap on the Facebook app and scroll through my feed.
Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. We wake up and then automatically reach for our phones. After checking the time, we scroll through the notifications, both a time killer and a time waster. Before we know it, we realize that we’ve been laying in bed for two hours, doing nothing but aimlessly going through our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram notifications.
I realized that doing this was cutting out valuable time that I could be using for something else. Instead of going through my Facebook feed, I could be playing with my daughter. Instead of trying to take an Instagram worthy picture, I could be singing to my baby boy. Instead of trying to craft the perfect tweet, I could be taking a walk. We spend so much of our lives on these devices. What good does it do knowing how much time we are spending in these virtual worlds?
The past few days, I’ve been keeping my phone off. No, this isn’t some heroic attempt at cutting out all social media.
I’ve been keeping my phone off to conserve battery life. A few days ago, I realized that my phone charger wasn’t charging at all. The only way that it would charge was if I held the charger cord a certain way. Even then, it wouldn’t charge fast enough. I’ve been charging my phone every morning while taking my daughter to school. The rest of the time? I turn it off. My phone has literally been reduced to a home phone from the nineties.
Of course, I still check my social media notifications at night before I wake up to teach. I wake up to nurse my baby boy, and then find myself with nothing to do. So I turn my phone back on and quickly look through the notifications for an hour or two. But the rest of the time? My phone is off.
I’m finding that I actually like it. I like turning my phone off. With my phone off, my daughter’s not begging to use my phone to play one of her phone games. With my phone off, I am not obsessively checking my notifications for an image, post, or tweet that someone posted. With my phone off, I am just living in the moment.
Living in the moment and focusing on the present has given me more time. I have more time to play with my kids. I have more time to clean the house. I have more time to write a blog post. I have more time to learn about social media. And soon I will have more time to work on that children’s book.
Being without my phone has literally given me seconds of my life back.
I am not in any hurry to buy a new charger. Eventually, I probably will buy a new charger. But until then, I am fine living as if I’m in the nineties.
I am fine living without a phone permanently glued to my fingers. I am fine living without obsessively thinking about what my notifications could be telling me right now. Because at the end of the day, they are just images and words on a screen. What’s most important are the people and things that are around you.