Why time off from my phone helped with creativity, productivity and better sleep. How I plan to take that holiday break mentality into my work year.
TAKE A BREAK, LADY
Something I think we are all okay to let go of this year is feeling guilty for taking time out to unwind. Time out to ditch your phone, instead to go for a swim/ walk or run, to cook/ read/ play with a pet or even just watch a movie. It is 2019, after all. How exciting can looking at our phones be anymore? Haven’t we seen a lot already? We can definitely afford to spend a lot less time committed to scrolling.
And, for my fellow digital creatives, in 2019, it’s time we stop feeling so much pressure surrounding our social performance stats. We can’t control the results after all. Just our attitudes towards them.
OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND
At some point last year I stopped plugging my phone in overnight to charge on a nightstand or someplace nearby where I sleep. It was keeping me awake, even without notifications or sound on. I’d find myself not sleeping, so I’d just scroll through my phone. Awful. Such a dumb solution to not sleeping! Now instead I leave it in my office to charge and forget about it completely. Not checking for updates or bothering to think about emails, replies etc, etc allowed me more time to focus on whatever task I should be doing instead.
The other thing I did was delete apps that I didn’t use or wasted time on but got little out of. Good riddance.
HOW MUCH TIME WE SPEND ON OUR PHONE
I’ve always been aware of how much time I spent on my phone. Dividing between Instagram, emails, Pinterest… etc, I know I would spend x amount of time before and after posting an Instagram and again checking in another time of the day. However, I also found myself over committing. Since it is part of my work too, I’d often wind up in one of those rabbit holes wasting more time than I’d planned. Hence needing to create a new habit of using it less.
It was surprising to me when towards the end of the year when Apple started notifications of how much time people spent on their phone, how surprised a lot of people were with the numbers. I heard people talking about it all the time, in every circle I found myself in. “How can I possibly be on my phone THAT much?” “It says I use it for five hours a day!” etc. Even radio talk shows were asking callers to phone in if they had a high number of hours on average per week.
Did they really not realise? We have convenient apps for everything. We’ve been directed to turn to our phones for tasks all day long. Not to mention the binge culture of watching videos, scrolling through feeds, sending each other memes and gifs. And, I will also mention, that I happen to know a LOT of people who STILL play Pokemon Go. Seriously.
WHY SWITCHING OFF MY PHONE HELPS ME GET MORE CREATIVE
Over the last week or so, I’ve been meeting up with people who have been telling me how lovely their Christmas breaks were. And I’ve noticed a common theme too. They all took time out (and so did I) from using their phones. From posting on social media, or scrolling. There were stretches of days where I didn’t even need to charge my phone. I wasn’t alone either, it’s been so nice to hear from friends who were happily lazy over their breaks and have come back feeling refreshed since.
And I was a-okay about it. Instead, I read, spent time exploring, chatting, having new ideas and of course, sleeping better. If you stop to ask yourself why you reach for your phone, you can consider how necessary it really is. Can you let it go? What is that scrolling time costing you? Can you put that energy and time into something better? I bet you can.
Starting out my working year, I’ve been feeling more creative and have been more productive. The results will start to show soon, as projects come to fruition. Watch this space!
CAN YOU LET IT GO?
It might be a tricky thing to remember but taking time off regularly throughout the year will only help to get that feeling back. Even a little time, like the weekends, or daily after 8 pm. Would you be up to try it? Did you ditch your phone over the break? I’d love to hear if you noticed a difference in your mood, positivity, creativity etc. Let me know below!