And then there are our phones. Oh, our phones. Those blessed, cursed, brilliant, soul-sucking devices. This little piece of plastic that stays near you at all times is, I feel, really at the bottom of all that I wrote before, and all I continue to write, and all the articles in the world that address being too busy.
So here is the thing that all my reading both told me and made me realize (after telling me multiple times). Phones keep us connected to work, meaning we are technically available 24/7 and occasionally peeking at it to make sure we aren’t missing anything “important”. They keep flashing news at us, keeping us constantly updated on the state of the world. And they connect us to social media. Which, I have been told and learn more and more, is a great way to keep up with family and friends on our own time, in our own way, without actually connecting with them. Not to mention all the pressure I wrote about in the last post.
As said in the shadow article, “And while we were formerly forced to largely work during regular work hours and shop during regular business hours, technology allows us to produce and consume 24/7. We never fully clock out from our “real” jobs, nor do we ever fully take a break from the marketplace. Even when we’re not actively engaging in shadow work, in the back of our mind there’s that ever-present niggling: Is there something I need to buy? Is there something going on I should know about? Should I check my phone? We’re always “on” and constantly mentally switching between roles.”
So, I recently spent a day away from my phone. A full 24+ hours. The number of times I reached for it was insane. The previous note was so true on constantly switching roles, constantly deciding whether to do something with my phone, stopping myself from doing it – it is exhausting and energy-draining.
But the life and energy I felt when I suddenly had so much more time in the afternoon and, even with the desire to check my phone, the pressure to check it being gone? It was almost exhilarating.
Hannah Brencher, author of Come Matter Here had an enlightening series of blog posts about social media burnout and phone addiction. And her article really got me thinking. She said, basically, you have burnout if you have the following symptoms:
- You’re constantly checking your phone (There is nothing more enlightening on this point than taking a day away from your phone – believe me. I just did it, as I mentioned)
- You are avoiding your feelings (remember the comment I made about curling up on the couch avoiding what I thought I should be doing? Also goes for when I’m frustrated, or stressed, or don’t want to make a decision, or anything else.)
- You are not loving what you used to love (this point really spoke to me – you should read her description of it)
- You aren’t present anymore (You know all those friends who scroll through their phones while you are watching a movie “together”? Oh, wait – maybe that’s me . . .)
- You just don’t care as much (So true. I am starting to roll my eyes at all the “causes” out there. I don’t even want a cause anymore because I am always exposed to so much stuff on the internet that I can’t handle it anymore)
- You’re worshipping the pressure to be more (I already talked about this a lot previously).
So, the result of all this is – I’ve decided that my phone is the biggest culprit of my overwhelmed feelings, my lack of motivation, my loss of direction in life, and the feeling I will never be enough. Therefore, I’ve decided one day off my phone wasn’t enough and I am going to make it a goal to do phone-free-Fridays. I am going to try to take every Friday off my phone – and I know that isn’t realistic and won’t always be the case. But even if I take two Fridays a month, I think my life will be better.