During September, I decided to follow Scroll Free September by drastically reducing how much time I spent on the internet. I tend to browse the news on my phone while on the train to work, but it's also crept into looking at it while eating and doing other things, so I thought I'd do something about it.
And here's the thing - I didn't think I used my phone that much, but when I consciously took stock of how and when I was using it, I was shocked. So I decided to leave it alone for a while and get back to doing things the old-fashioned way.
The results have been pretty dramatic.
1) I read two-and-a-half books.
I love reading, but since I've had a smartphone I don't read as many books and I never buy a newspaper. I subscribe to The Economist, but sometimes find that I don't read a good portion of it. During September, I not only read every issue cover to cover, but also read The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (a wonderful book, which I'd been meaning to read for ages), re-read A Walk In The Woods (brilliant), and started reading Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics (very interesting).
In short, I rediscovered why I love reading so much.
2) I got things done much more efficiently and effectively.
It's amazing how much time we spend staring at screens. When I stopped, I felt like I had much more time to do things, which is because I really did have more time. Less time wasting time staring at a screen = more time to do other things. Like spending time with my family, exercising, writing, working on some personal projects, reading (as mentioned), learning, cooking, and more.
3) I noticed, and appreciated, much more.
When you're not looking down, you look around much more. This isn't just good for not bumping into things or not getting hit by cars, but also for noticing and appreciating things around you.
I love sunsets, for example, but during September I just enjoyed them without whipping my phone out and getting a picture for Instagram.
4) I was far more relaxed.
Having more time meant I didn't feel rushed all the time, and it was wonderful.
In short, I want to keep this up. I'll keep my phone in my bag rather than in my pocket, and check it maybe 2-3 times a day to see if I have a message or phone call.
I recently wrote about wanting the new Infobar, but now I'm seriously considering going back to a function phone. Whatever happens, I'll go on enjoying reclaiming my time and all the benefits that come with it.