How Our Smartphones Became Weapons Of Mass Distraction

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

In preparation for operation social media break for the month of February, reflection upon the last year has begun. While some major changes occurred (i.e. deleting 14 years of Facebook), some aspects still need tweaking (i.e. Not refreshing Instagram ten times in a row).

For one month, I go radio silent on all social media outlets (except for posts that automatically get sent there). I performed this experiment last year and am  in desperate need of another detox to get my mind focused.

How Am I Spending My Time?

Each time I pick up my phone, it is all about being aware and remembering what positive changes took place over the last 365 days.

My phone is no longer welcomed in my bedroom at night. Facebook is out of my life for good. It’s been 2 months since I deleted my account and there is a sense of finality. When I’m playing with my kids, the phone is out of sight, so I can focus on them. All notifications are off my phone and I’ve gotten down to the bare minimum of apps on my home screen.

Coincidentally, I reinstated my Twitter, but only for posting articles and a short quip here and there. Instagram is my main squeeze as is checking my email or picking up my phone to see the time. My guilty pleasure is playing one game, Homescapes, and an intervention might be needed with this one.  I check my phone first thing in the morning to see what I’ve missed overnight.

And yes, I still, eek, check my phone in the car. I know, I know. This is where awareness is key to immediately throwing my phone in the backseat so the temptation is gone.

On the flip side, my phone stays home when the dog and I go on walks.  I have drastically reduced my friend lists on my social media platforms to be in somewhat control of what I see. Although, a twinge of anxiety still arises when I think of pulling the plug. I’m not ready to let go for marketing reasons which is why it hasn’t happened yet.

Getting Out Of The Habit

In the long run, I am looking forward to taking a month off from being constantly plugged into my phone. From doing this experiment last year, I learned a lot about my social media usage and how I really wanted to spend my time. I came back with a plan in place of how I wanted to utilize my time on social media. It worked really well for several months but then the bad habits came creeping back.

Picking up my phone became less of a reflex since becoming aware of my habits. I still touch my phone when I walk by, but the difference now is I know I’m doing it.  I’m able to get myself out of a constant scroll when I notice I’ve been on too long but it is still a method of distraction from my work (or family…).

Have you ever wondered how often you are picking up your phone? At 10:45am, I had picked up my phone 22 times. And most of the morning was spent getting kids ready for school, doing yoga and walking the dog. I wasn’t even around my phone that much but the habit is there and needs another chance to be broken.

This February, my goal is to become more aware of my triggers. I’m taking bets that it’s boredom and out of sheer convenience. It’s time to embrace the boredom so my mind is able to let in the creativity.

Focus On Priorities

Lately, I’ve had a mental block and I believe it has to do with being on my phone more than normal. This exact thing was why I decided to go on a social media break last year. My anxiety rose when I was around my phone becoming impossible for me to step away from this thing that had a hold on me.

The less I am on my phone, the more ideas I get for my writing. Those moments of instant creativity come when I’m able to be alone with my thoughts. My smartphone has become a distraction for my purpose in life once again and I’m fed up. Instead of clicking through apps over and over, I will attach myself to a pen and paper and write.

What I want most is to be a good model for my kids. I know they do as I do and our bad habits have crept back in. When I go to make adjustments on myself, they will likely follow suit. No one likes to be second best to someone’s phone, so the is time is now to get a fresh start. It’s time to be present for my family and let go of the distractions that are stunting my growth. February, I’m coming for you!





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