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My Digital Detox Diary

BY: FAVIN THE MAVEN | 5.1.2014 |

My Digital Detox DiaryI’m lucky my phone hasn’t fused to my hand. I use it for everything: music, maps, fact-checking, social-media stalking, and group text messages, not to mention plain old calls. So when I decided to undergo a “digital detox” and give up my phone privileges from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for five days, it felt like I was volunteering to give up a limb.

The goal, of course, was to stop being so “plugged in” all the time and appreciate day-to-day life without my phone’s many distractions. It sounded noble on paper. In practice, it was … tough.

Thankfully, I shared the pain: I got my friends Jackie and Katie to detox with me (you may remember their fabulous brows). On Monday, we tossed our phones into a bucket. Then, over the next business week, I recorded our experiences in my Digital Detox Diary.

DAY 1

Dear Digital Detox Diary,

Today was easier than I thought it would be! Probably a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10. The worst part was posting on Instagram for work and not being able to check my messages. Also, every time the phone lit up in the bucket, my heart hurt.

Katie’s having a harder time. She panicked during a lunch meeting because she couldn’t tell what time it was without her phone—and she didn’t know if she had another meeting to get to. Jackie, on the other hand, hasn’t broken a sweat: “The only reason I really have my phone out is to charge it,” she says. Whatever.

DAY 2

Dear Digital Detox Diary,

I am suffering from severe FOMO. I hate it. I know my friends are making fun of me in our group chat, and I’m not even able to defend myself! Not being able to text my mom is making me feel guilty.

But more than that, I hate that it’s this hard to go without my phone for two days. I knew I was attached to it, but I didn’t think I had a problem.

DAY 3

Dear Digital Detox Diary,

OK, silver lining: I have been more focused at work. And when I rush to my phone at the end of the day, I find that I haven’t missed anything crazy important. I just have to remember that if someone really needed to reach me, they’d call me at the office.

Katie continues to have bad luck. A friend had asked her to watch her dog while she was out of town but couldn’t reach Katie to coordinate—so she had to drop the dog off at a boarding place instead. Woops!

Jackie is still unbelievably zen. Today, she forgot her phone in the bucket when she left work. Unbelievable.

DAY 4

Dear Digital Detox Diary,

If I could talk to my phone, I would tell it I love it, and not to worry. Do you think it’s lonely without me?

Katie’s husband keeps forgetting that we’re doing this detox. Her phone will ring in the bucket, and I want nothing more than to answer it, even though it’s not mine. Then it will stop—and her desk phone will ring. I guess that’s sort of funny.

DAY 5

Dear Digital Detox Diary,

I already cheated today. I’m so over this.

DAY 6

Dear Digital Detox Diary,

Sorry for the short entry yesterday. Now that I have my phone back, I can think about the experience more calmly.

I’m still disappointed that it bothered me so much. I needed this wake-up call more than I thought! I got so stressed because I wasn’t in-the-know, and I also felt like I was ignoring people.

But the truth is, my FOMO was unfounded. Even when I didn’t check my phone for nine whole hours, I didn’t miss anything major. I just thought I did. And while I wasn’t checking my phone, I concentrated more on other, more important things (like my job).

I think I’m going to try cutting down on my phone time, bit by bit. This detox made me want to become more self-aware, less screen-aware.

Katie agrees with me. She said that the detox forced her to be present, once she got over the anxiety of it all. And Jackie says she can downgrade her plan now—she probably only needs 50 minutes a month.

I’m not there yet. But I’m trying!

Photo: Jeremy Hayes, Groupon

Favin the Maven
BY: Favin the Maven Favin the Maven