What do you do when you have a decision to make? For me, writing it down (as a ramble or a pros and cons list) is the only way forward. It’s never easy to step outside of the situation and think about things objectively, but whether your decision is about a new job, a commitment someone’s asked you to make, or simply whether to have gin or wine, there will always be positives and negatives. Writing always helps. If I’m not sure how I feel about a situation, I tend to find out pretty quickly as soon as I open my diary and put pen to paper – or in this case, fingertips to keys.
I need to decide whether I want to continue to fuel my addiction (yes, dear parents, I’m finally admitting it) to my phone. My current contract with my iPhone ends within the next few months, and I’ve been challenged and inspired by a friend who has given up her smart phone for a brick phone. As much as I’d like to be this bold, maybe for starters I should just try and delete some of my social media apps for a few days, rather than go from a serial Instagram-scroller to nothing all in one go. Without sounding over-dramatic, I know that getting rid of my iPhone would change my life, but I also know it would be hard.
There are many positive things about Instagram and other social media platforms, especially in the creative and journalistic industry that I aspire to be part of. I would struggle (even more) to get any sort of readership for this blog or other articles I write without social media. But does it need to be at my fingertips? I could still have Facebook and Instagram, but maybe I don’t need them sending me notifications and distracting me 24/7. I have to say, I’m now reasonably disciplined at not looking at my phone in bed. I tend to read before becoming so exhausted that I can’t keep my eyes open, but I haven’t always been like this. Before I invested in an eye mask, I would open my eyes or wake up every time my phone lit up. (Seriously, my eye mask was a game-changer.)
At work, I have my phone on my desk, meaning I’m always able to read incoming emails, check who’s messaging me and who’s liking my latest Instagram post. Okay, I’m quite good at not letting it distract me from work, but my eyes are still automatically drawn to it every time it lights up.
I feel as though my generation is turning away from social media and smart phones. Maybe it’s just amongst people I know, but I have a few friends who have deleted Instagram, and they all say they have zero regrets. As we become more environmentally conscious, perhaps we’re pushing back against the constant need to consume. Of course, this goes far beyond owning a smart phone, but all we’re doing every time we pick up our phones is feeding our minds with information, whether this be helpful, unhelpful or somewhere in between.
I can’t really imagine what it would be like to be doing something and not to have my phone in the corner of my eye. That’s really sad, and it means that I’m never fully present in the moment. It’s not that the things on my phone are necessary bad, but if they’re distracting me from the thing I’m doing at the time, they’re not particularly good either. For some people, their phone might not be the thing that distracts them, but for me it definitely is. I imagine that most people have their own vice. This week I’m going to challenge myself to be more disciplined with my phone, even if that just means turning off my notifications for a few days, deleting the Instagram app or keeping my phone in my bag. These things might sound tiny and insignificant compared to giving up my iPhone completely, but at least it’s a start.