When Brian and I first moved in together, we talked about keeping phones out of the bedroom, but we still needed them as alarms so we took no action. I'm the number one offender when it comes to scrolling through my phone first thing when I wake up, last thing before going to sleep, and even in the middle of the night when I'm up for a bathroom trip.
When I returned home after my last trip to China, my boyfriend had purchased an actual alarm clock for the bedroom, signifying the start of the new rule! At first, I thought, this couldn't have come at a better time. I had just returned from a strenuous trip and stress levels were at an ultimate high. I was already on the prowl for ways to detox and simplify my life. Although the new rule waltzed in like a knight in shining armor, it did not come without withdrawal symptoms.
I was waking up more than usual in the middle of the night due to jet lag. When I woke up, I would reach over to my bedside table expecting to grab my phone, check the time, and peruse my social media, text, and email collection. But the phone wasn't there. Once realization hit, I had to fight myself not to get up out of my warm bed in our cold SF apartment to retrieve my phone from the living room. Instead I remained steadfast and forced myself to either go back to sleep or get up for the day.
But by the end of the weekend, I somehow felt well rested and hadn't missed out on any critical info. Here's how it went down...
I still checked my phone at night before heading to bed but had much more focused sleep and resting time. The new rule also motivated me to get out of bed and be productive in the mornings because I couldn't just lay around idle with my phone as a distraction. Once up, I still used my phone throughout the day, but I made an effort to only use it with purpose (not just scroll around in emails and social media aimlessly). I checked my email once a day. I didn't read all the emails, but just scrolled for my boss's name or anything sounding urgent. Then on Sunday night Brian and I agreed on a little time slot we were going to devote to work. It was much better than being on all the time. Because I was set up and focused with my computer, I got much more done in that one hour than I could have done from my phone intermittently throughout the weekend. I also felt very accomplished and ready for Monday once it was over.
In the end, this was an uncomfortable change that took self control to make. I lost nothing and gained presence during the day, better sleep at night, and more purposeful work/social media time.
As you may know, I have an unconventional work/life situation with weekends spent in San Francisco, weekdays spent in Los Angeles, and international trips sprinkled throughout. For now, this change is here to stay on the weekends as that is my most valuable time with Brian and friends. Next I will be evaluating how this would work out with my schedule in LA during the week. Have you ever tried a technology or social media diet/cleanse? What has worked for you?