Have you ever felt like a slave to your phone? All my phone has to do to get my attention is make noise, and mine does so more than a crying whiny baby—this phone call, that text message, the other app notification. It’s no wonder my generation’s attention span is so short. If you’re like me, you enjoy surfing the web and spending time on social media. The new Screen Time feature on Apple devices that tracks usage is extremely eye-opening. Is the time we spend on our phones bringing us closer or further away from the person we want to become?
I recently made a habit of going off the grid for stretches of time. When my personal phone was my work phone (bad idea), this wasn’t possible, but it’s not anymore. And I realize that virtually nothing is ever so urgent that it has to be addressed by me right this second. I tell people, if you have an emergency, call 911. I’m available the majority of the time, but I won’t be available 24/7. If family or some other reason motivates you to stay connected around the clock, that’s totally understandable. I’m just sharing what works for me, and may work for others—especially young people.
Today I often silence my phone or leave it in the car when hanging out with friends, working out, or tackling a project. Before bed, I typically shut it off and charge it in another room. This frees up my mind to be fully present for those around me. And to fully experience the present moment even when it’s just me, myself, and I.
Going off the grid can also be a purity aid. The internet is as much a treasure trove of knowledge as it is one of lewdness and obscenity. And many temptation triggers beat content filters and accountability mechanisms. If you want to avoid temptation, I suggest spending less time online, especially if it’s not for an expressly productive purpose. As they say, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground.”
Let’s be intentional about how we live our lives. It’s OK to be counter-cultural where we find the cultural status quo lacking. If you like this post, check out Americans are Starved of Nature.