Now and then I miss those times when smartphones weren’t even a thing – and yes, I’ve been there. What I mostly miss about that time is being bored. I almost had tears in my eyes a while ago when I reminisced about those childhood moments when boredom was all around you and you literally just had nothing to do. Remember Summer holidays? I thought about how I hadn’t experienced that feeling in such a long time and how, although boredom sounds quite negative, it was actually a pleasant feeling, a lingering emptiness that provided new energy and set up unusual ideas.
To cherish that feeling of boredom, but also to embrace peace and quiet in my body and mind, I’m taking some steps to be offline more and to not be clamped to my phone all day long.
Being connected all the time stresses me out more than I know. Especially with a job that includes social media management – a.k.a. being available online all the time – it’s hard for me to take a moment off the phone or laptop to let everything sink in and really chill down. However, it was a goal I’d set myself a while ago. And since I find I’m doing quite well right now, I thought it’d be nice to share what changes I’ve made so far in order to take more offline time.
First things first
A big chunk of my online time used to be right after I’d wake up. A very unhealthy habit, but one I believe a lot of people have. Your phone really shouldn’t be the first thing you see in the morning. Scrolling your Instagram feed before even leaving your bed doesn’t give your body and brain time to really wake up in a relaxed way.
My problem was mostly that I used my phone to check time and as my morning alarm. So the easy solution: I took my old radio clock out of storage and installed it back on my bedside table. That way I banned my phone from there every night and I now very nicely wake up with a simple buzzing sound. No Instagram scrolling or checking my emails in bed anymore as I simply don’t take my phone to bed. A small change that made the biggest difference for me!
I’m pretty sure that there’s a big chunk of apps on your phone that don’t really have to be there. For me it helped to make a list of what apps I did really need every day. Instagram for social media management, social media management apps, some photo editing apps, Messenger and WhatsApp, Google Maps, Google Drive and Outlook.
The main similarity of all those is that, apart from Instagram, none of them are apps on which you can endlessly scroll and waste your time. I threw Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter off my phone for that reason: I could easily spend hours just scrolling on them without any goal. I still check those websites now and then on my laptop, but I don’t waste any hours on my phone anymore. That already makes me a lot more productive during the day and adds to my mental and physical calm. In short: Marie Kondo your apps.
Turn off notifications
This should be an obvious one but I know for so many people it isn’t. I never had social media notifications on my phone but I still had every email popping up on my screen and I believe that was a big wrongdoer for me. Not only did it distract me from whatever I was doing every time a notification turned up, it also kept me working all day long as work emails came in during the evening as well. By turning those notifications off I found a lot more peace and I can now really switch off when I decide to end my work day. I can still check my emails on my phone, but it’s a pull-situation instead of a constant push.
Indulge in an offline hobby
I’ve never been a hobby kind of person. I never did any cool sports nor was I in any groups or after-school activities as a kid. I mostly spent my time off on the internet, writing blog posts and reading others and generally scrolling around. But now that the internet is actually my day job, I thought is was time to indulge in offline hobbies and maybe learn some skills that have nothing to do with my job – a.k.a. offline skills.
So far I’ve asked my grandma to teach me how to sew, my boyfriend taught me how to bake really good bread and I’ll hopefully learn how to grow my own vegetables from my latest e-book. I’m cooking more and with a more mindful approach, I’m doing yoga classes now and then, taking long walks every day and I value doing fun offline things with friends and family a lot more now. This all really helps to get my head off the internet and be less connected with my phone, but more connected with myself.
I’m super curious to hear about your offline stories. What’s your advice for taking more time off your phone – from little changes to big adaptations? Let me know!