The Digital Detox

Remember the old days where people would sit on a bus or a train and simply read a book or look out the window? Remember the days when if you were in a restaurant you would actually talk to your friends for the whole meal instead of looking down at that little screen?

Don’t remember it? Us neither.

Try ignoring your phone for 20 minutes, it’s impossible right? The average person checks hers or his phone more than 110 times a day, and if it’s not glued to your hand, you’re usually itching to pick it up.

In a UK study 53% of people had anxiety when they couldn’t use their phones and compared this anxiety to a trip to the dentist, or even their own wedding day.

So we want to set you a challenge, can you survive a week without using your smartphone for unnecessary scrolling? Yes, we get it, you need it to arrange meeting times and work phonecalls, but apart from that zilch, nada, can you do it?

First we took to Twitter to ask if anyone else had taken up the challenge and received the following responses.

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This wasn’t going to be easy.

We asked Louise Brown one of our feature writers to take on the challenge.

Day One

As soon as I wake up, the realisation comes over me that today is D-Day, Detox Day. I would normally spend 10-minutes in bed scrolling through my phone, going through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and then eventually my e-mails, before I even dared to get out of bed but this morning I lie there and stare at the ceiling and after a few minutes, get up. I’m put out.

How will I know what Kirstyjgreen is wearing today or watch countless videos of the Kardashians saying nothing to each other?

Glumly I drive to work, my phone remains silent for the entire morning. To the point where I’m actually staring at it willing it to ring just so I can pick it up.

I’m in meetings all afternoon so the time flies by, on my way home, my phone automatically connects my podcasts so I just let it, technically I’m not staring at it.

Thank god I’ve signed up for Zumba, rather than just going to the gym. A night without recording my results and plugging in my music would have been unbearable.

When I get home I sit and watch the TV, yes sit and watch it without scrolling through my phone and I am so so tempted to just pick it up. It’s crazy when you think what control a little handset can have over you.


Day Two –Three

These days fly by as i’m in and out of visits and meetings with work, I’m still slyly listening to my podcasts though.

On Day three I go for a meal with one of my close friends who is probably on the same level of phone obsession as me. When you aren’t going through your phone it’s crazy to watch someone who is, and for probably 50% of the night I sat and watched her text on her phone whilst I looked round the restaurant and sipped my drink. It strangely spurred me on.


Day Four- Five

I’m actually feeling really good, granted I haven’t quite shaken off the urge to pick my phone up at every single opportunity, but what I think is key to my increased level of happiness is that I’m not spending my week comparing myself to other people.

I used to get so annoyed when I’d be sat on the sofa bored on a night time, whilst the world seemed to be having a party without me.

Also another thing, for the last two nights I got to sleep so quickly. Literally my head touched the pillow and I was gone, there really might be something to this not playing on your phone.

So after day five I know I’m never going to be perfect and I’ll probably succumb to using my phone 70% of the time, but I have set myself some new ground rules.

  1. No phones in restaurants. At all. (Unless something really juicy has happened and I need my phone to show screenshotted evidence.)
  2. Not every music concert I go to needs to have every minute documented. I’m allowed my favourite song and a few photographs.
  3. No late night scrolling. When I get in bed, my phone goes straight on charge.
  4. No group chats during work, reply to everything when I get home.
  5. Never have a conversation whilst staring at my phone screen.


So there’s no promises on how well I’m going to keep to these, but go on and have a try and let us know how you get on.

SharpLifeThe Digital Detox

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