Smartphone use is making us dumber.
There, I said it.
And I know what you might be thinking: “But I can do so many incredible things with it!”
And that’s true. You can. The problem I see is, we don’t know how to have self-control as a culture. Just walk down the street in a busy section of town, or look at people sitting around you at a restaurant, and you’ll see a myriad of people staring at their phones, with the people they supposedly love sitting across from them.
I’ve been that person. And so have you. I completely understand that there are moments that it might (and that’s a strong might) be necessary for you to be staring at your tiny screen at dinnertime. But those are very tiny exceptions. Or should be anyway.
Smartphones are one of the most incredible inventions and allow you to do some futuristic things with such a small device. But, as with everything, there are downsides. One study I found said that we touch our phones over 2,600 times a day! That’s crazy!
Apps on our phones can be extremely helpful, but some can also cause major distractions. So I want to issue a challenge this summer.
I dare you to make your phone distraction-free for 30 days.
But what does distraction free mean? Oh, I’m glad you asked.
Distraction free means (if it’s not clear in the name) that your smartphone distractions are GREATLY reduced (if they don’t completely disappear altogether).
Here’s what I recommend: Remove the web browser, turn off email, and delete infinity apps.
1. Remove the web browser
The web browser on your phone is one click away from an endless supply of information and distractions. “Who played in that one movie where the guy gets the girl? Hang on, let me google it…” And there goes a decent conversation with a friend.
Removing the web browser from your phone takes away the ability to search for everything you can possibly imagine. Seriously, just wait until you get home.
2. Turn off email
We live in an always-on world that seems to demand our attention 24-7. Unless you decide to buck that trend and take back your life! Which you totally should.
Email is one giant sucker of time. It’s a never-ending barrage of people wanting your time or your money, and sometimes both. Do yourself a favor and turn off email on your phone. Did you know, there once was a time when we had to write letters using ink and paper and send those letters through the postal service? It’s called snail mail. Probably wasn’t called that back then, though.
3. Delete infinity apps
Not gonna lie, this might be the hardest for you. An infinity app is anything with a “stream” or an endless supply of information. Think Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Netflix, news apps, games…anything that can suck you in and keep you there. Get rid of it. These platforms are designed to keep you engaged (re: steal your time and attention). They don’t make money unless you use their platforms, so they do everything they can to keep you coming back. Which is exactly why you should remove them from your phones.
People in your life are very important. Way more important than notifications and dings on a phone. Life is to be lived, not notified. The world is to be explored, not googled about.
Do yourself a favor and just TRY it. Please! For 30 days. Heck, try it for 7 days. Give it a chance, and see what happens. You might get bored for the first time in a long time. And that’s a good thing! Use it as an opportunity to smile at someone on a bus, or laugh awkwardly at something funny with a stranger who saw the same wacky old person you did at Burger King (or Whole Foods…whichever is your jam).
Leave a comment below if you’re committing to going distraction free! Even if it’s just for 24 hours.