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A New Challenge

One of my favorite parts about getting online is checking to see what  new articles or blog posts await me in my RSS reader. I don’t always have time to read every single item that I subscribe to, so I usually skim the headlines, open a couple in new tabs in my browser, then bookmark other interesting-sounding ones for later.

I’ve noticed a trend in what I’ve been saving for later, as the majority tend to focus on an issue that seems to be plaguing our current culture: Dependency on cell phones, and how they affect our daily lives.

I know I’m guilty of using my phone as a crutch to kill time, avoid awkward situations, and just in general spend too much time simply checking my screen to see if there are any new notifications for me. At work, I often find myself going through an endless loop of just checking the various social media accounts I have to see if anyone has posted anything new. Most of the time, that answer is “NO.”

In the past, I’ve tried to go on a phone fast of sorts, and did manage to go one entire day without any screen time, which was hard but it was amazing how much other stuff I was able to do when I didn’t have a screen I felt obligated to check on throughout the day. Seeing the number of emails, texts, and other notifications at the end of my 24 hour screen-fast gave me a little bit of a rush, and I plan on partaking of similar experiments to help curb my phone usage, or rather my using of it so much as a crutch or time killer.

Right now I don’t have a solid plan in mind to prevent myself from looking at the screen mindlessly a million times a day, but step one (which I already did) was remove the shortcuts to Facebook and Twitter from my phone. I’m not ready to take an actual hiatus from those places, but now I’m forcing myself to only visit from a web browser, making my visit to social media intentional rather than as a way to waste time.

The overall goal from my new challenge– one I’m not setting a time limit on, because I want to be less dependent on my phone for longer than 60 days– is to just be more aware of what I’m doing with the technology in my hand, and why I’m doing whatever it is with said technology.

Unintentionally I already did a trial run of this challenge, as my older sister’s house is lacking in decent data coverage, so on my recent visit there I was forced to put away the phone and interact with other humans– which I planned to do anyway on that trip. It was actually pretty refreshing to not have the feeling of having to check in online constantly, and was definitely part of my inspiration for this new challenge.

Anyone else out there feel like joining in on my challenge (and maybe help keep each other accountable)?

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