How giving up your smartphone for a day helps you

The other day I posed a question that I had been thinking about for a little bit on my personal Facebook page.

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For anyone who knows me, they will know I love technology and I LOVE my iPhone. I’m on it all the time but, to be fair, part of my job is Online and Social media so I need to be on it to an extent. Because of this, spending a day with out it would be really challenging.

However, I do love a good challenge so after I got many nay-sayers wondering how I could spend 5 minutes, let alone 24 hours without one, I decided to do it.

And this is what I discovered about myself:

  • I problem solved differently. This was very interesting for me as I found out just how often my 1st reaction when I needed to find out answers was to grab my smartphone and look it up. I have become so used to asking Siri or Alexa questions I wanted to find the answers to that I had to think how I will accomplish something differently. For instance, instead of looking at my weather app in the morning, I had to turn on the news or listen to the radio. In another instance, I had to find directions an old fashioned way. Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 11.33.31 AM
  • I thought about things a lot more. Not having your phone on you at all times gives you time to think. How many times do we stand in line waiting for something or when we are in the bathroom (guys do this all the time – you can admit it) that we just pull out our phone and look at it. When we don’t have the phone on us we can daydream, process and come up with new and different ideas. One of the best parts of my day was when I was waiting for my rental car to come and I sat there…by myself…for about 10 minutes…sitting and waiting and thinking. It felt so weird, but it was really cool as well!
  • I had more conversations. Because I couldn’t text and I didn’t use Facebook Messenger on the web as much either that meant that I had to actually talk to others…in person. I know it sounds weird but texting people has become my 1st option for communication. I don’t have a lot of actual voice conversations with people as much…especially on the phone. So I called a few friends on the phone and I talked to my co-workers more a lot more. And the cool thing was, when I was talking to them I was focused solely on them since I didn’t have my smartphone to distract me. It was a very nice change.
  • I was more productive. I don’t have a lot of notifications enabled on my smartphone but it was great to see that when you don’t have all those dang notifications going off, it was amazing how focused I was that allowed me to get a lot of stuff done.  Not only did it cause me to be more focused and productive at work but it caused me to be more focused while driving without being distracted…and that is always a good thing!
  • I was bored at times. The sad thing about this was that I got my work done for the day and then I didn’t know what to do with myself. I have become so used to checking my phone when I’m bored or sitting in line somewhere that I didn’t actually know what to do when I couldn’t do this. So, I had to figure out other things to do which was hard to do because I’m not used to it. But, I bet, if I had a few more days when I went without a smartphone, I could definitely enjoy those “bored” times more. 🙂

Technology is great in so many ways.  We can do more through all the advancements in technology than ever before. And that is all good! But what has become very clear to me is that I depend more and more on technology and smart devices than I probably should. I have become so used to checking my smartphone for everything that I can forget that I don’t need it with me at every moment. I can be just as effective without it, if not more in so many different ways.

At the end of the day I was so glad I took the day off from my smartphone. It really helped me realize I don’t need it nearly as much as I think I do and having a break from this form of technology is helpful for anyone.  So the question is, who is with me the next time I do this? I think it could be a really cool thing we all do from time to time.

What do you think? Have you ever tried giving up your smartphone before? How did it go? Share your experiences below or on social media adding #daywithoutasmartphone to it.

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Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at YMSidekick.com and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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