Breaking Up with My Phone: Days 20-21

Here we are…

Time to turn off your phone…

No pressure…


As challenging as this may be, this can also be exciting as you (and myself) will have much more time to work on other things.

You have the choice to turn off your phone either today or tomorrow, and then Monday I will be back with the updates (who knows, maybe I will do both days).

Don’t put your phone on Airplane mode; turn your phone off completely AND hide it somewhere, out of sight.

What To Expect

Some of you might find the Trial Separation to be less difficult than you feared. But you may also be surprised by how hard or uncomfortable it is. In addition to their many practical purposes, our phones distract us from our emotions.

You may feel irritable and impatient because it’s like a withdrawal from something you use everyday. Individuals who quit a substance (cigarettes, alcohol, etc.) go through serious withdrawals when it’s cold turkey, and unfortunately, cellphones have become an addictive drug in their own way.

Also, you may find it hard to maintain enough focus to do the things you said you wanted to do, even if it’s just reading a magazine. If that happens, use it as inspiration to do one of the attention-building practices that we mentioned back on Day 17 and Day 18.

Before I get into what to do during this peaceful time, it’s important to address this:

What To Do In An Emergency

Robber: Give me your money!
You: Okay!
Robber: And don’t even think about calling the cops.
You: I can’t anyway, I’m on a 24-hour phone detox.

If you have an emergency, then of course you should use your phone! Don’t lie in a pool of your own blood trying to call an ambulance via smoke signals while your phone sits in its charger nearby. Also, if you’re nervous about leaving the house without your phone, remember that if something happens, everyone else around you has a phone.

What To Do With Yourself When You Don’t Have Your Phone

During your Trial Separation, you can use your newfound free time to do whatever you want. Here are a few suggestions:

Make Room for Serendipity

Serendipity is the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

When you have the internet in your pocket, there is no room for serendipity. What you have are correct answers found on hundreds of reviews on multiple websites.

These are complete stranger’s opinions online, yet we trust them because they are on the internet. They hold more weight that way.

Barry Schwartz, psychologist and author of The Paradox of Choice, refers to this form of researching as “maximizing.” Not only is it exhausting, but it can also steal the wonderful feeling of discovery that comes from stumbling across things by accident.

Your Trial Separation is a perfect opportunity to allow serendipity to reenter your life. Take a walk in a new neighborhood. Try a restaurant you’re curious about. Look at the event listings in your local paper and go do something new. No matter what you do, it’s likely to be more memorable than staring at your phone.

Have A Fleeting Relationship

I’m bored and don’t have my phone to feed my boredom. I think I’m going to cheat on my partner.

Not what we’re talking about here!

A fleeting relationship is a brief interaction, often with a stranger, that creates a sense of connection. For example, a pleasant exchange with a waiter, a group cheer at a sports bar, or one of those oddly personal chats that seem to occur between strangers on a plane.

The last time I was traveling alone, I sat on the inside, a young woman sat in the middle, and an old man sat on the end seat. I’ll talk to somewhere here and there, but most of the time, I like to be in my own world reading, writing, and/or listening to music. I would overhear the two of them conversing, and the old man was telling the woman about his granddaughter’s high school graduation ceremony and she invited him to a show she was performing in in New York.

This shows that the more time we stare down at our phones, the less time we have to make new connections and develop new interpersonal relationships. Try to create at least one fleeting relationship, and see how that moment affects your mood.

Do Something Fun with Real People

This one is self-explanatory.

For my own personal experience, I will be spending it alone for a couple reasons. Besides plans falling through, I have a paper I need to write anyway, and I think I want to challenge myself more.

For me, it will be much more difficult to not want to be on my phone when I’m alone than if I were spending time with other people. Hopefully this will resemble a peaceful getaway and not a rehab clinic.


Here I go…

Turning off my phone…


But before I do that, if you are enjoying this journey and want to follow it on your own terms, you should by “How To Break Up With Your Phone” by Catherine Price, it’s a great read. You can purchase it through my link below:

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