I want you to hide your smart phone from yourself.
Yes – like a junkie desperate to go temporarily clean might hide his own stash.
Like a compulsive gambler might hide his last Jackson.
Just for a week.
Just to see how you feel and think and work without this MASSIVE distraction, draining out your precious attention resources and testing your baseline sanity.
I’m not talking about going cold turkey and talking on pre-paid “dumb” burner phones. I’m not even talking about giving up the use of your phone for more than a few hours … or even a few minutes if you so choose.
This suggestion is just a nudge. And a small one at that.
I tried the same exercise recently, and I liked the results so much I’ve implemented it permanently.
This exercise is a two-parter. The first is the most realistic, but the second can work wonders if you let it. Here goes:
1. De-emphasize your smart phone’s place in your home.
Where do you keep and charge your phone? Chances are it’s in a prominently visible place in your home. For me, it was a charging island near my front door, very near where I place my wallet and keys. That’s too prominent for my cell phone or yours.
When you arrive home for the evening, I suggest taking your smart phone off your person and relegate it to a place where you can’t immediately see it: maybe a guest bedroom if you’re lucky enough to have one of those. Maybe the laundry room. Ideally, you’d have a charging outlet in one of your closets and could stick your phone there.
That’s right. Stash the phone away. Turn the noises and vibration off. And go on about your life.
You can always check your phone whenever you like, it will just be a little harder to do so.
If you’re like me, this simple change will start a behavioral feedback loop where less checking leads to less need to check.
Again, you can still check your phone any time. It will just be a little more annoying to do so.
Which is the point.
2. De-emphasize your smart phone’s place in your office.
Depending on what kind of job you have, this may be easier to implement for some than for others. But the principle is the same.
When you settle in at the office for the morning. Place your phone in a filing cabinet only reachable by standing up from your desk.
Try not to check until lunch.
But if you can’t wait, it’s no big deal. Just stand up, interrupt what you were doing, and go engage with your phone.
You’d do it anyway, but now you will be just a little more mindful about it.
Good luck. And let me know how the experiment goes.