I sometimes wish cell phones didn’t exist, or that I hadn’t upgraded from my flip phone to a product that is a lot like a small computer. Since I’ve developed a career in writing, I’ve found it critical to use time wisely. For a while, it felt like being on my cell so often hindered my ability to focus for long periods. I’d be in a good flow of work and hear the vibration or see the light. Then, it would become more important than meeting deadlines or having dinner with family.
With social media accessible 24/7, people expect fast responses. I’d worry that if I didn’t reply to a tweet or a Facebook post within a few hours, I was rude or disrespectful somehow. They say you’ve got a four-hour window where you must interact. If I wasn’t available 24/7, then I didn’t matter to people, a personal issue I’ve dealt with as someone that (used to) feel the need to be in constant contact. Now that I’ve gotten back to my roots and am a full-time writer, I’ve come to learn the importance of strategizing.
My relationship with my cellular phone has changed over the last two years. The internet robs us of many things we don’t realize. Time is one of them. When I’m writing a novel or working on something that has a deadline, I unplug the internet entirely and leave my phone in the other room, volume off. I have a schedule that allows me to be selective and draw boundaries. It’s important to honor your time, especially if you work from home. As a creative person, I find it’s critical to keep my attention on one thing only. There are about five things I’ve noticed, though, since I’ve cut back on phone usage.
1. Enhanced Creativity
Keeping my phone in the other room while I write and the internet unplugged has boosted my creativity. My imagination amplified to the max. I have a period during the day when I spend on writing only, zero distractions, which keeps ideas locked in my head so I can get them out. I’ve become more original, uniquely me and express this in my work.
2. Happier and More Relaxed
When I’ve achieved the intentions I set for the day, the joy after is my reward. Obsessively playing on my phone doesn’t lead anywhere. If anything, it’s only made me feel bad because I’m not on some exotic island sipping on a pineapple smoothie and lying in a hammock. Limiting social media has improved my mental health, reminding me of what my purpose is, and that working is rewarding (and yes, a vacation once and again is rewarding too).
Balance in daily life is essential but means different things to everybody. For me, it’s knowing when to say no to the unnecessary things that prevent me from doing important things. In the day hours, not only am I focused on work, but I’m also managing my health. Swimming. Exercising. Yoga. Relaxing. Setting a schedule for activities helps a great deal. Phones do nothing for our well-being, and truth told, I used to stay up in bed for hours at night browsing social media or the internet which affected every aspect of my health after a while. Sometimes, if my mind is racing (and has been lately), I’ll want to silence these disquieting buzzing thoughts. My phone did a good job of that, shutting up my mind. But there are other ways to do this. Instead, I do deep breathing exercises, repeat affirmations, and remind myself there is enough time in a day (if you’ve established a good balance).
4. Increased Work Flow
Since I’ve been leaving my phone behind more often, I’ve noticed a huge increase in my work flow, allowing me to accomplish an abundance of goals. It’s unbelievable sometimes. As a writer, it’s key to completing a lot. For instance, I write from 8:00 in the morning until 12:00 noon. I’ll be running with creativity, cranking out work or articles, and accomplishing tasks. I’ve got sharp focus.
Cutting back on my phone has had dozens of benefits, but most importantly, I get so much more out of my daily life.