Here are yesterday’s stats:
Screen Time: 3h 8min (2h 8min)–> yesterday: 3h 14min
Pickups: 47 –> yesterday: 52
Yesterday I used my GPS for 1hr so technically my screen time should be 2h8min! I still find 2 hours a lot of time to be on my phone but hey! It’s better than 3 hours the day before!
Day Three (Wednesday) –> Start paying attention
The next stop of the Technology Triage is to continue your mindfulness practice by paying attention to how and when you use your phone, and how you feel when you do so.
Over the next 24 hours try to notice:
- Situations in which you nearly always find yourself using your phone. (For example, waiting in line, in the elevator, in the car.) Also note the first time in the morning and the last time in the evening that you typically look at your phone.
- How your posture changes when using your phone
- Your emotional state right before you reach for your phone. (For example: bored, curious, anxious, happy, lonely, excited, sad, loving, and so on.)
- Your emotional state right after you use your phone (Do you feel better? Worse? Did your phone satisfy whatever emotional need cause you to reach for it?)
- How and how often your phone grabs your attention (via notifications, texts and the like).
- How you feel while you are using your phone — as well as how you feel when you realize that you don’t have your phone. The point here is to start to become aware of when and how your phone triggers your brain to release dopamine and cortisol — and when you feel like when that happens. (Very generally speaking, cravings are a desire for dopamine, dopamine itself feels exciting, and cortisol feels like anxiety.)
I’d also like you to pay attention to:
- Moments — either on or off your phone — when you feel some combination of engaged, energized, joyful, effective, and purposeful. When that happens, notice what you were doing, whom you were with, and whether your phone was involved.
- How and when other people use their phones — and how it makes you feel.
Lastly, I’d like you to choose several moments in your day when you seem to pick up your phone the most often, and see if you can identify a consistent trigger that makes you repeat this habit. For example, maybe you check your phone first thing in the morning because you’re anxious. Or maybe it’s just because it’s on your bedside table. Maybe you check your phone in the elevator because everyone else is also checking their phone. Maybe you check it at at work because you’re bored with whatever you’re supposed to be doing.
We’re not trying to put a judgment on any of these triggers; we’re just trying to become aware of them so that we can begin to identify patterns.
As a warm-up, try this slightly modified version of a “phone meditation” exercise suggested by David Levy, author of Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives.
First, notice how you feel right now. How is your breathing? Your posture? Your sense of focus? Your general emotional state?
Now take your phone and hold it in your hand without unlocking the screen. Notice any changes in your breathing, posture, focus, and emotional state.
Next, actually unlock the screen and open one of the apps you use the most frequently (for example, email, social media, or the news). Spend a few moments scrolling through the feed. If you’re looking at email, answer a message. Then scan yourself again for any changes.
Lastly, turn off the phone and put it away, out of sight. How do you feel? Is anything different?
Personally, I’ve noticed that while it can initially be pleasant, I hardly ever feel better after I use my phone — an observation that has helped me catch myself when I’m about to pick it up out of habit.
How to Break Up With Your Phone by Catherine Price
I now have an elastic band around my phone and I’m going to start being extra mindful! Wish me luck!