Thursday, March 10, 2022

I followed a "Break Up With Your Phone" Challenge and here's how it went (Final Week & Book Review)

And just like that, I've arrived in my last week (ish) of the challenge. I'm kind of scared about the "after" when this whole thing ends, ngl. If there's one thing I've been able to conclude by now is that I know exactly when my triggers act up, i.e. what situations I reach for my phone in the most. 

Day 22: Trial Separation Recap 

The first Monday after the trial separation weekend is reserved for reflections. Price asks a series of questions to dive deeper into the trial separation challenge, and see how it affected you. I actually did an exercise similar to this on Sunday, so I'm definitely familiar with my feelings regarding the separation. 

Day 23: Phast 

The point today is to make it a habit to implement the idea of trial separation day during our everyday life - so turning off our phone for certain periods of the day. I don't believe I will physically turn off my phone before bed for example, or for two hours in the morning, but I will definitely implement the 24-hour phone detox at least on a monthly basis - it was very refreshing. 

Day 24: Manage your invitations

Similar to one of the prompts during the first week of the challenge, today is all about acknowledging the urges your brain creates that make you pick up your phone, and making a conscious decision to resist that urge. Honestly, I think Price is running out of prompts at this point and kinda recycling theories that we've already practiced, but I guess it's good to use this opportunity to remind us of the WWW (Why now, What For, What else) exercise. 

Day 25: Clean up the rest of your digital life

As the prompt title suggests, today is about organizing our digital space. I am a constant victim of digital clutter, and always have to remember to delete what needs to be deleted, and organize what needs organizing. Thankfully, I got a head start to my inbox a few weeks ago, but the rest of my laptop and phone definitely need some TLC. 

Day 26: Check your checking

Price again reiterates the importance of managing urges to pick up your phone, this time by imposing the question: "What's the best thing that could happen as a result of your checking?". This is very similar to day 24 and carries the same notion that we need to be in charge and set boundaries with ourselves when we're reaching for our phones.  In practice, I do check myself from time to time, but I definitely don't remember to do it every single time I pick up my phone. 

Day 27: Digital Sabbath life hacks 

As the prompt title entails, Price gives us a few hacks if we want to practice another full day of phone separation. I think it's good to give us examples, but some of them did seem a bit overkill (for e.g. buying separate devices for all needs: a separate alarm clock, a landline phone, an iPod, or other music listening devices). When I decide to do another phone separation day I'll just stick to the practices I did the first time around which are letting people know that I'll be unavailable for the day, and planning ahead. 

Day 28: The seven phone habits of highly effective people 

Today Price lines out the seven phone habits we should aim to implement in the post-challenge period in order to maximize the outcome and really make progress in our phone break-up journey. Some of the habits are setting healthy phone routines, exercising our attention, and practicing pausing, as well as giving ourselves some time to just indulge in our phones without it leading us down a rabbit hole. I guess this is a nice reminder just before the challenge wrap-up that we need to keep in mind some of the challenges that were set in the past 30 days. 

Day 29: Keep yourself on track

With the challenge being almost over, Price has given a few writing prompts that make us reflect on the month and inspire us to move forward, such as how do I want to change my relationship with my phone, what are some of my goals etc.

I think these will make for great reminders when I'm journaling, perhaps like a once-a-month kind of thing. 

Day 30: Congratulations! 

And just like that, 30 days have passed and the challenge is over! Or should I say, the challenge is only beginning, as I will be left to my own devices from now on? Yikes. Price suggests a few more writing prompts that make us reflect on the month and how our relationship with our phones has changed.

Final thoughts & book review: 

I think this was a much-needed experiment that challenged my own willpower when it comes to using my phone. I think the 30-day challenge was the real highlight of the book, as it makes you take proactive steps towards improving your relationship (or should I say addiction). What most stood out to me was the Trial Separation exercise because it challenged me in a way that surprised me. Spending 24 hours without using a phone is like a breath of fresh air, and quite fun in a way.  However, towards the end, it just seemed like Price ran out of things we could do and just repeated previously stated exercises. This ultimately made me fall back a bit more into my old habits as I wasn't pushed to implement new things. 

Overall, I definitely noticed changes in my behavior. I am MUCH more aware of how much I use my phone, and try to keep it to a certain limit (as opposed to my previous delirious and unmanaged use). I really appreciate that Price doesn't paint out phones as these horrible, joy-sucking machines that have to be completely removed from your life, but rather that we must control our usage in a more optimal way. However, I'm not sure that everyone would have the same outcome as I did when it comes to this particular book. If you're looking for a phone break-up book that will freak you out with hard facts, statistics, and theories, this is probably not for you.

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