So after going back to the iPhone (when the Sim started wiggling and I realised that my attempt to actually break my addiction from my iPhone was futile), my friend Leah, who incidentally is a 1 on the enneagram and one of the most pragmatic, straight shooting and straight thinking women I have in my tribe saved me with one simple idea. I was telling her about my challenge to try and reclaim my off button and change the way I engage with my iPhone and all the fun apps on it and she says “Babe, turn off all your notifications, trust me, it will totally work”. So I jumped in and turned off my notifications, what I wasn’t expecting was that all those little red numbers in the corner of every single app on my iPhone would swiftly disappear and a good amount of anxiety I had no awareness or understanding of would disappear with them. Who knew? Who knew that the dozens of tiny red numbers were subconsciously causing so much angst and hyper clicky franticness!
The next few hours I was consciously delighted every time I picked up my phone, I’d just put it straight down again, there was nothing to respond to! I hadn’t even realised those little red dots were subtly saying ‘hey, there’s stuff for you to attend to here; and here, and here, and here oh and…here” subconsciously guiding me from one app to another as I get rid of each of the red icons and then eventually put the phone down.
The next 3 days were absolutely sublime, that simple ‘off’ had actually helped me find my self control! Not having those little red icons like little alarm bells going off on my iPhone meant that I didn’t feel compelled to keep clicking, scrolling and clicking in and out of apps absently mindedly on some sort of unconscious quest. I mean check it out (below), bestill my beating heart, isn’t it a vision! Nothing. Not a single thing to deal with or answer to. Well there is, but instead of it blinking and notifying me, I can check in with it on my own clock, consciously.
The other unexpected outcome was my new unwaivering attention span (whoa, instant!). I sat down today and read “the subtle art of not giving a f!ck” in just 4 hours, cover to cover without once breaking to look at my phone or check in on social media.
After reading the book, I had this sudden clarity. As the book explains, it isn’t about not giving a f!ck about anything, it is just paying attention to what you do give a f!ck about and making sure you’re not giving too many f!cks especially to things that don’t matter – like call centre employees who are just trying to do their jobs or parking inspectors or that friend who bought the same top as you. It is about working out where to give your f!cks so that you’re not caught in conditional love cycles or relationships where equal f!cks are not given. It’s about thinking about death and life and making sure in the context, that you give f!cks to the stuff that matters.
It’s about consciousness.
I looked at my iPhone. It’s practically my 3rd child and definitely gets more 1:1 attention than anything or anyone else in my life. It reinforced why I need to continue on this journey, to ensure I am giving my f!cks to the right things at the right time.
So, as 2017 comes to a close, I am thinking about what I gave a f!ck to this year (bit too much technology and work on there) and what I want to give a f!ck to next year.
Here are a few of my tips to help you give less f!cks to your iPhone next year:
- Number 1 hot tip from Leah is to turn off ALL notifications on your phone.
- Download “Moment” and benchmark your current iPhone useage – incidentally, I am picking up my phone 33% more this week than last week, but spending 25% less time on it, a good start!
- Create a folder on your iPhone called “IphoneappsIneveruse”.
- Buy a stack of books, have them ready to read so you can pick up a book during the day when you have 10 minutes or of an evening instead of your phone.
- Delete all the apps that you never use.
- Put apps like “facebook, Instagram etc” on the very last page of your apps (if you have multiple pages).
- Keep trying (even if you pick up your phone a lot, try minimising the time on the phone each time as a start, then the number of times you pick it up, celebrate small wins).
- Charge your phone overnight in a different room (put it to bed as Arianna Huffington suggests).