WDYT 6/2020: When was the last time that you switched your phone completely off for a whole day?

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Can you even remember? Do you think you actually ever have? Let’s change that!

Our smartphones have become an integral part of most of our waking hours and nearly all aspects of our lives. Phones can be useful tools that give us access to a wealth of information and allow us to communicate instantly with nearly anyone in the world. But, they certainly have a downside. When our phones are on, they demand our attention. Rings, chimes, and buzzes pull us away from where we are and what we are doing to shift our focus.

Even when we turn off all the notifications, there is a constant temptation to check email, read the latest news, or browse social media. The marvels of technology can quickly become a source of stress and distraction, stealing our focus and time, preoccupying us, and keeping us from being present in our life and work.

What if we just turned them off? What would happen? Those who shut their phones off for extended periods will realize that the world keeps moving, barely noticing their „absence“. In the meantime, people who take a break from their devices find they can quickly achieve a higher level of focus. They might also note a stronger feeling of resilience. The assumption: The lack of distraction allows them to better handle stress, anxiety, unexpected changes, and maybe life in general.

So, a piece of advice: Try turning off your phone at least one day a week (or start with once a month). Enjoy the silence and lack of distraction. It may take a while to get used to it. You may find yourself reaching for it or thinking you hear a notification. That will fade after a while. Before you turn it back on, reflect on how the day without your device was different from other days. See what you learn about yourself and your phone. What do you think?

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Christian is a manager, activist, author, lecturer and curator. https://christianhei.se

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