This Is What Happened When I Left My Phone At Home

Life Without A Phone PicYesterday, I did something I have never done before: I left my smartphone at home for the first time since I purchased it in May.

I didn’t realize my phone was not with me until I was in traffic on my way to work, but by that time, I was already 20 minutes in my commute and turning back around to pick it up, would guarantee that I would be late to work. I could not be late to work again.

I became anxious initially, as my thoughts bounced from how could I leave my phone at home to I’m going to drive 35 minutes during my lunch hour to pick it up.

I arrived at work early, with a plan to pick up my phone during my lunch hour. Two hours later, I realized that my day was coming along well without the addictive device. For once, I could think clearly without the interference of notifiers that frequently sound on my Android phone.  A day away from phone was delightful and helped me accomplish the following things.

Listen to my thoughts. 

My phone is an extension of my right hand. I look at it several times per day without the phone prompting me do so. I check e-mail, text messages, and missed calls constantly. I google everything from “temperature in Atlanta” to “why is my MacBook Air not responding to my keystrokes.” I look up people’s numbers in my phone. I’ll use my phone as my journal, as I record important notes and manage a to-do-list.

But today, without the distraction of a phone, I listened to my thoughts. I paid attention to my inner dialogue: how I responded to a conflict, how I reached a conclusion or conjured up a game plan to tackle a problem. I took charge of negative thoughts and found ways to put a positive spin on everything. And it was awesome!

 Savor each moment.

I didn’t notice it before, but my attachment to my phone keeps me from enjoying my day. Today, I ate lunch alone and savored every bit of my egg drop soup and Teriyaki Chicken Taco from Tin Drum. I admired the artwork in my office building. Although I pass it everyday on my way to my office suite, I never noticed it before. I enjoyed watching the leaves fall from the trees during my walk to the restaurant.

Strike up conversations with strangers.

I typically use the 30 seconds I spend on elevators in a day to respond to a text message, but today, I spent those 30 seconds chatting with the person who I shared elevator rides with. I learned names, hobbies, and shared some jokes with whomever I found myself with on the elevator.

And surprisingly, nothing happened. 

Leaving my cell phone at home made me feel as though my world would fall apart: I would miss an important e-mail, text message or phone call.

When I pulled in my driveway yesterday evening, I could not wait to see who had been trying to contact me in the past 8 hours. I charged in the door and ran upstairs to retrieve my phone. But to my dismay: there were no missed calls or text messages.

Then, I came to the following conclusion…

I think I will leave my phone home more often.

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