Is This Serving Me?

How I Got Intentional With My Smart Phone Use

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Before I became intentional about my phone use, I often missed precious moments with my kids. There but not there.

Last week I challenged myself to start and end the next seven days phone-free.

More specifically, I would not consume any social media, email or other electronic “input” for the first and last sixty minutes of each day, thereby starting and ending each day on my own terms. This was my chief goal, and anything else would be a bonus.

My decision came about as a result of the simple question, Is this serving me?

I began to tune in to how I felt whenever I checked my phone; and how I felt afterwards. From there I also started noticing how I felt immediately prior to picking up my phone.

Since my phone is also my alarm clock, I was sleeping with it (albeit in night mode) beside my bed. Naturally, then, it was the first thing I reached for each morning as I turned off my alarm. Then, once it was in my hand, of course I checked my social media, What’sApp messages and emails.

And for the rest of the day, I’d rarely be without my phone nearby.

I knew this wasn’t serving me; in fact, I suspected my behaviour patterns were serving the cell phone!

My decision to try a new pattern for 7 days and declare it publicly via my Instagram stories, helped hold me accountable. I also thought 7 days would be enough to answer the question of whether my phone habits were serving me, though possibly not long enough to form a new habit. But I was going to take this one step at a time.

The Outcomes:

The outcomes of my phone-free mornings and evenings far exceeded my expectations, and I was amazed to notice differences after just one day.

1. Dreams:

After putting my phone away an hour before I planned to go to bed, I had the most vivid dreams that night. And I should add here that I hardly ever dreamt anymore. This vivid dreaming continued every night of my 7-day challenge except for the one when I slipped up and was browsing Instagram just before bed. More about that later.

2. Increased Presence:

Getting my kids’ breakfast cooked and getting them out the door was suddenly much easier and actually enjoyable. I was focused and connected to the boys as they got dressed, ate, and got ready for school.

In fact, my intention to be fully present for them for those 45 minutes each morning also caused me to see other ways in which I was stuck. My inability to drink a hot cup of coffee in peace had me caught in a pattern of frustration. So now I brew it once they’re out the door at 7:20.

3. More Connected:

Before consuming any distracting INPUT, I spent some time quietly setting intentions for the day. There was no “noise” drowning out my inner voice. Previously, emails and social media posts had the potential effect of derailing my focus and mindset.

Bonus surprising outcome:

4. Unhooking From My Phone:

Occasionally I found myself reflexively reaching for the phone, only to find it wasn’t there. This in itself was alarming and helped me understand how in some ways I was serving my phone instead of the other way around.

The pay off from smoother mornings and being more connected to myself and the people around me served to positively reinforce a new way of being, namely where I was healthily detached from my phone.

Turn Struggles Into Opportunities:

I slipped up once … which quickly led to a second slip up.

Having checked an Instagram DM one morning, I quickly got sucked into the vortex of checking all my messages. That evening, figuring I’d already “broken” my clean streak, it was that much easier to check my messages before bed.

But instead of beating myself up over my “failure,” I was kind to myself. If my child had slipped up trying to create a new habit, how would I talk to him? With that as my guiding question, I simply reaffirmed my intention to do well by myself. I then looked for what I could learn from the slip up. I realized I was more addicted than I thought, and I figured out what one of my triggers was.

Your turn.

Is there something in your life that you suspect might not be serving you? Your technology use? Alcohol? Snacking? Cigarettes?

I’ve prepared guiding questions for you to journal on and take your own exploration to the next level. Download your FREE pdf journaling questions worksheet here

And then I’d love to hear from you! Head over to the blog and let me know in the comments whether something has shifted for you with either the journaling questions or your own 7-day challenge.

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