When I first started this digital cleanse in April, because remember, this is day two of me being recommitted to my flip phone. So when I first traded in the iPhone for the flip phone back in April, the first couple of days were rough. I'll be honest, the first couple of weeks were rough. And I thought I was anxious with an iPhone!
Everything about the flip phone made me anxious: the texting, the tiny screen, the texting, the degraded sound quality, the texting. I was sharing with a friend when picking up our kids after school and she said, "Well, anxiety is a very common result when breaking a habit." And she's a therapist so you know that's a bona fide statement.
Then the anxiety shifted into anger. "Why the !%@? is he texting me?! He knows I have a flip phone now! Everyone should just stop texting me and call me if they want something. Everyone!" Hair-triggered wasn't the word. It was more like, what's thinner than a hair? A filament? Can we be filament-triggered? Then, yes. I was filament-triggered.
Because everything to do with the phone was not easy or efficient anymore, the result made me ANNNNGRY. But then I stopped looking for a flip phone to do what a smartphone does. I realized I just needed it for an occasional phone call or text. I remembered what this whole experiment was about: to reclaim my attention, and focus, and time from my smartphone. It was so completely in charge of me and my reactions, voluntary and involuntary, Pavlov's dog would have suggested I seek help-with his sweet little paw sign language, of course.
It's much better now. Two days into my re-commitment and I honestly can say the flip phone does not hold as much sway over me as my smartphone did. Have you seen the research about that phenomenon? We are not as present if our smartphones are in view, even if their notifications and sound are turned off.
I remember having to put my phone in my bag at my former job or else I would find myself involuntarily reaching for it throughout the day. Suddenly, instead of whatever else I was supposed to be doing, I'd be looking at my phone. It's like they're always silently whispering our names. According to the research, that's the pull they have on us. Having your smartphone in view is the same as someone always calling to you. How deep into a meeting, a task, or an old-fashioned face-to-face conversation can we get into if we're constantly hearing, "[INSERT YOUR NAME HERE], pick me up. Touch me, [INSERT YOUR NAME HERE.] You may or may not have something to check and reply to on me, [INSERT YOUR NAME HERE.]"
I have to say, I don't miss that siren's song.