No service: a week without a phone | The Triangle

No service: a week without a phone

Wikimedia: Tomwsulcer (Licensed under Creative Commons 1.0)
Wikimedia: Tomwsulcer (Licensed under Creative Commons 1.0)

Starting last week, for seven straight days, I tried to drastically minimize my cell phone use. My goal was to increase my productivity and learn to survive awkward situations without pretending to check my email. No Instagram, Snapchat, selfies, group messages, or, much to the “disappointment” of many local females, Tinder.

The cell phone diet worked. On the diet’s first day, I didn’t bring my phone to work. I didn’t mind that the SEPTA bus was late for my commute because I didn’t have my phone clock to know that it was. I didn’t take any morning Snapchat selfies on the bus either, so I looked a lot less like a societal disappointment to other SEPTA patrons. Overall, I was much less time-sensitive and therefore, much more relaxed.

Work went fast. There were no distracting group messages to catch up on at lunch or during break. Even my manager noticed “that kid” was making improvements in job performance. Or was that Kenny from compliance?

I actually did find that without my phone, I was simply forced to be productive. At night, I had more time to read, exercise, and spend time with my friends. And when I was doing these things, I enjoyed them even more because I wasn’t interrupting the experience with glimpses at the small screen.

To my surprise, I missed Instagram the least. I suppose seeing a feed of people at their happiest gets a bit depressing after awhile. It was nice having a break from that. Plus, girls always get like 300 favorites on their pictures. I did not miss seeing those texts saying, “Can u like my pic thanksss!”

The phone diet helped reduce my narcissism. I got out of the habit of taking selfies and posting Snapchat stories I thought scores of people were interested in seeing. Of course, we enjoy social media because we want to see what happens in our friends’ lives. But I now realize we mostly enjoy sharing things for the pleasure — and attention — we receive for doing so.

To be honest, I didn’t miss seeing pictures, group texts, and blog posts from my friends for a week (aren’t those Odyssey articles the best?) and you know, they probably didn’t miss me either. A lot of us just think about ourselves, anyway. We are busy college students, after all.

I encourage everyone to do a phone diet, even if it’s only for a few days. People won’t batter down your dorm room door just because you’ve refrained from texting and Snapchats for a few hours. With more time and less pressure from seeing what your friends are always doing, you really benefit from the diet.

I have only one word of advice: make sure you tell your girlfriend before you start one.