174. My summer 2021 success: Reducing my smart phone use

Uncategorized Oct 08, 2021

By: Michael Beiter

It took me about 15 weeks to get my daily screen time down from 4-6 hours on my smart phone to less than 1 hour.
I essentially had to make my phone dumb again. I removed social media, email, and my work applications.
I limited my internet and YouTube time to 30 minutes. I restricted access to the whole phone to 12 hours daily. Between 7 am and 7 pm.
An average millennials checks their phone close to 200 times per day. I dropped mine to less than a couple dozen.
I thought this was going to be easy.
It was one of the hardest things I have done.
The withdrawal effects are as real as they were for quitting drinking and nicotine.
I had to FIGHT the urge to turn every experience I had into a captioned moment to be consumed and judged by others.
I had to FIGHT the urge to pick up my phone when I was driving, stopped at a light, waiting in line, in the shower, in my bed, with my girlfriend, while walking my dogs, and when I ate and exercised.
If those urges were not bad enough, I had to retrain my ability to converse with people the way I liked. By looking them in the eye, shaking hands, hugging, and going back and forth in real conversation. Tech can support that. But never replace it. I had been lead to believe it could.
Yes, my smart phone had crept into every otherwise private aspect of my life.
What started as a sabbatical from social media one day a week has blossomed into a hugely reduced digital footprint.
Once I got through the urges I noticed some wild things.
My concentration was light years better. I could remain focused and engaged on things for much longer periods before needing a distraction.
My ability to sleep deeply increased by 10 - 15% per night.
My RHR dropped and has remained at its lowest level in years.
My enjoyment of the simple pleasures is far greater. 
I attribute all of these things to changes made in my digital life.
I admit I was afraid at how things would go when I reduced my activity digitally.
I believe this is due to the conviction that we are working when we are on our devices.
I know I felt accomplished the more messages I received and responded to.
It didn't take long to realize that was just another belief we are taught that keeps us reaching for our phones and giving our attention to the best bidder.
Reducing smart phone time has made a massive impact in my life.
I am more than happy to share with you how I did it if you are interested in experiencing more enjoyment, happiness, energy, attention, and focus. While having less anxiety and compulsion to use a device that hurts more than it helps.
Now I log my food on my phone, take calls and send text messages. Less than an hour a day circa 2008. And I promise, it is great.

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