I executed on my morning routine after 8.5 hours of high-quality sleep. My mindset and perspective were primed for a successful and productive day. After eating my typical lunch, it was time to head to the gym.
Toward the end of my training session while jumping rope, my phone took a fall to the hardwood that created multiple cracks on my screen. However, the music kept playing, so all was well--or so I thought.
Thirty minutes later in the car, I could see only one-10th of my screen while the rest was pitch black. The phone stores were already closed. Feeling adventurous the next morning, I decided to prolong not going to the phone store for 24 hours. I felt an unfamiliar sense of calm that day, which led to my not going for one week. One week ended up becoming 60 days without my smartphone.
From that time, here are three benefits I noticed and why you may want to consider a "smartphone detox" yourself.
1. You'll become bored.
While in line at a Starbucks, I noticed how every individual had their head down, entrenched in their smartphone. With nothing to distract myself with during the waiting period, I became bored and noticed my mind wandering through all sorts of topics.
Boredom is typically something we avoid at all costs. However, boredom is, oftentimes, the perfect way to elicit a breakthrough on a business idea or project.
When entering into a state of boredom, you're allowing your mind to relax and escape from the realities of today (i.e., ground zero) to the infinite possibilities of tomorrow (i.e., the 40,000-foot view).
Transitioning to this new state allows you to enter a space where innovation and new ideas are fostered, which can then be brought down to ground zero.
Being detached from my smartphone, I noticed that my quality of decisions was higher, which resulted in my getting a new idea for a project that is currently under way.
2. You'll be able to dramatically reduce your "work" hours.
A 2015 study by Nottingham Trent University appearing in Plos One found that adults ages 18 to 33 checked their smartphones 85 times a day, or once every 10 minutes, with total daily smartphone usage totaling 5.05 hours. Also, 55 percent of all smartphone activity was less than 30 seconds in duration.
As I learned during my experiment, placing some distance between myself and my device helped me fall into deep (and more focused) work more easily. Checking your phone for 30 seconds seems innocent, but that is still just enough time to break up your flow.
By not having my smartphone, my distraction time went down and thus my hours of work were spent more efficiently and effectively. On numerous occasions, I found myself wondering what to do with the afternoon since I had already completed my high-impact tasks for the day.
With extra time, you can finally get back to those hobbies that unintentionally fell to the back burner.
3. Your mental well-being will receive a boost.
Obviously, without a cellphone, I experienced a lack of negative news and comments. While that helped cause a dramatic boost in my mental well-being, the biggest reason for it was truly connecting to people.
In the digital age, especially for people who don't commute to a work office, socializing through direct messaging and other digital communication becomes your dominant outlet.
However, nothing beats true face-to-face human contact. I noticed that being devoid of the digital space led me to seek out more human connections in the real world. I went to more dinners with friends, asked more questions to strangers out of curiosity, and even attended new networking events that led to unexpected lunch meetings--which translated to more business.
While it's a gift to be able to send a message to someone across the world in seconds, don't forget the face-to-face human connection.
Commit to your own smartphone detox
While I have my smartphone back, largely to make my communication life easier--I have noticed a behavior change. I don't consume and mindlessly scroll. In fact, it actually feels weird to be on my phone for a substantial period without an objective.
While 60 days may be unrealistic for many, you can still create your version of a smartphone detox. A few ideas are:
- Live one day out of the week with no phone
- Put your phone in a basket once you get home and don't look at it until the next morning
- Make a rule that everyone in the house doesn't use their smartphone after dinner
- Delete all apps and only use your phone for calling and texting
As I've learned in today's world, the biggest factor to accomplishing our biggest goals isn't lack of information--it's controlling where our attention goes.