Being more present in life and less connected to my phone is something I strive for on a daily basis. In fact, the only time I’m not thinking about it is when I am completely hands free. When I unplug my phone and put it out of sight, or leave it at home on date-night, I hardly remember why I have a hard time disconnecting.
At the beginning of a digital sabbatical, I sometimes reach for my phone even when it isn’t there, but after a few hours, I don’t want to go back. After 24 hours or more, I feel refreshed, connected, and present.
When I read my friend Erin’s brilliant post, The Digital Breakup, these words resonated, “The mind is full, but lacks clarity.”
That’s the problem with always having more at our finger tips, we lack presence and lose clarity.
When I open my phone, this is the first thing I see …
It’s a reminder that nothing is better on the other side of that screen than what’s happening right in front of me. Even though I know that’s true, a visual cue encourages me to either turn the phone off, or ask myself why I grabbed the phone.
- Is someone calling?
- Do I need to send or respond to a text message?
- Is it for a mindless email check?
- Am I posting a picture to Instagram?
Are we really addicted to our phones?
I have to believe this is a real addiction because how else can I explain people checking their phones while driving down the freeway, risking their life and others for an email, text message, or Facebook? Is there another reasonable explanation?
I don’t use my phone when I drive, but can see how my phone is like an addiction. It’s like sugar. The more sugar I eat, the more sugar I want. The more screen time I have, the more I want. And on the flip side, the less I have, the less I want. Instead of more sugar or screen time though, I want more eye contact, more soul-stirring and heart-opening, more creativity, availability, and clarity.
I hope I don’t make this sound easy, because it isn’t. Quitting sugar is hard (physically and mentally) and quitting or cutting back on screen time is hard too. It’s all hard at first, and then miraculously, it isn’t.
Like many addictions, quitting together is easier too. If you have a friend that will cut back with you, or your family will unplug all day every Sunday, or if you start an online challenge, the support you create will give you strength to protect what matters most to you.
A hands free weekend for a hands free life.
I’ve said before that simple moments create a simple life, and perhaps a hands free weekend can create a hands free life.
I started working with the lovely, kind, gentle Rachel Macy Stafford last year when she became a contributor for A Simple Year, and I am in love with her story and her writing. Her first book, Hands Free Mama is a New York Times best seller and this week she released her new book, Hands Free Life which inspired this post.
It’s a beautiful book with 9 essential habits that Rachel says, “will ignite a sense of urgency—urgency to live … love … dream … connect … embrace … forgive … and flourish.”
Consider a 24 hour digital sabbatical and use that time to enjoy Rachel’s book and outline rules for a #1monthdigitalbreakup. Use Erin’s rules or create your own. Include rules that will reduce distraction and help you feel more connected to your life, and your loves.