Last week I read this article in Stylist magazine. And it really resonated with me, as I’m sure it does for a lot of people.
I’m hugely guilty of mindlessly flicking through my phone most nights, not with any real purpose, but just because it’s there. I’ll play a couple of rounds of Candy Crush (don’t judge me!), look up TV characters on Wikipedia while we’re watching a show, or scroll through Twitter activity. I keep promising myself that I will take my focus away from this mindless behaviour and do something more constructive, like read a book, but it rarely happens.
Even if we’re watching a film, I can never fully immerse myself and concentrate if my phone is on the sofa next to me. I get twitchy. I should probably just banish it to another room.
I’m not glued to my phone, but I do use it as a crutch – if we’re in a pub and I’m sitting on my own while someone’s at the bar, for example. And that’s just normal behaviour now I think.
One place I do totally switch off is on holiday, yet only when I’m abroad, weirdly. It used to be because the cost of using internet was so prohibitively expensive, but now it’s because of that feeling of getting away, being totally separate from everyday life, and not knowing what inane crap is going on in the real world. I relish it. I actually get quite cross with people who are very socially active during holidays. Get out there and live it people! Upload your photos when you get home. We’ll all survive if we don’t see your hotdog legs/roman ruins/swimming with dolphins pictures within a minute of it happening. The news that Mount Fuji is to get a WiFi signal because people are disgruntled that they can’t immediately upload selfies when they reach the summit is ridiculous. You’ve just conquered a mountain. Breathe in the air, check out the view. Don’t start pouting and posing and making sure you look your best for your audience at home.
Admittedly, for some reason on breaks in the UK, I do dip in and out of social media and emails. I have no explanation. Maybe it’s because they’re usually just a couple of days (I don’t know why that would make a difference). Maybe it’s because, geographically, you don’t feel as far away and therefore not as removed and switched off. Maybe I’m just a hypocrite.
However, whilst in Wales this weekend the signal was so intermittent that I hardly bothered. And it was liberating. Knowing that I couldn’t use my phone was so much easier than making a decision not to use it. Although on the odd occasion the signal did reappear I felt compelled to check in, just in case (of what, I’m not sure!)
Anyway, I’m going to try and make a change. Ditch the phone and be more productive. Now let me just go and check my texts…