My Two Week Experiment - And The Surprising Results
So I’ll start off by saying this post is pretty ironic considering I’m writing about my own technology experiment as I share it on social media.
I will be the first to tell you that I fully support time to yourself, browsing through emails or Facebook feed. Checking out a cute picture on Instagram.And after a busy day, encouraging your kids to watch something so you can whip up dinner. And having time to look on your phone when you didn’t get a chance to all day.
And even after the results from my little experiment I will have evenings when I just need some down time with my phone. And that’s okay. But I wanted to see what would happen if I put my phone out of sight after the kids went to bed. That meant two hours of no phone time.
And what happened was pretty amazing. I will say (like any addiction) it took a couple days to not feel the withdrawal symptoms. I found myself looking for my phone by my side as I watched tv. I would reach for it and then quickly realize it was out of my sight for the next two weeks. Gradually it wasn’t a big deal to not have my phone right there. Eventually I even forgot about it.
Here are some of the most significant changes that occurred over the two week span:
1. TVS SHOWS WERE MORE ENJOYABLE: There’s a show my husband and I have watched for the past eight years. It was one of those “yes, it’s wednesday!” Type shows where we couldn’t wait to see another witty episode. However, we both swore over the past year or so it became less funny and we were ready to call it quits. So when we tuned in and watched the show during this experiment we kept saying things like “that was a pretty funny one” or “the last couple ones have been so much better.” It didn’t really occur to me until I reflected later that it wasn't the show that all of a sudden was better. It was that we were actually paying attention to it while it was on. We weren’t multitasking on our phones. We were engaged in the experience.
2. WE WERE MORE PRODUCTIVE: We still had writing to do, websites to work on, and bills to pay. We did use the computer to work on projects but we found ourselves accomplishing so much more without the constant distraction of new emails pouring in in our phones.
3. WE WERE MORE PRESENT: I found myself engaged more to my husband, laughing over small things, talking more. It was so refreshing to just be in the moment. Even if it was a simple show we were watching we were both fully engaged in that show Even if it were bills we were paying we were both focused on going through bills.
4. BETTER SLEEP: I’ve always been a light sleeper. Even before kids, I struggled with nighttime anxiety. I could usually go to sleep but staying asleep could be difficult and my mind sometimes races for hours. I found myself less anxious. Most likely because I wasn’t reading the latest real life homicide story or school shooting. I filled my head with safe and positive thoughts and that seemed to help with my nighttime anxiety.
5. ASKED MORE QUESTIONS: Since I didn’t spend as much time in social media I didn’t really know what was going on as much with my friends. So when I saw my friends, I found myself asking more questions about their life. And in doing so I believe I became a better listener. My childhood and adulthood are so polar opposite when it comes to life with technology. My best friend and I would mail each other letters when we were young and life really was simple.
Now as an adult, technology has become so central in our life that it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t have a smartphone. It’s become part of our existence and even a big part of education. But like everything, moderation is key.
It really was quite refreshing to take a break from my phone. I liked the results of the experiment so much I vowed to myself I would PDMP (put down my phone) at least a few times a week, especially after bedtime.
The results were just to good to let something that fits in the palm of my hand take over my life. Well, at least too good for most nights.