Personal

Throwing My Phone in the Ocean

I have a confession right now: I’m so sick of my phone.

And the really sad part about this? I have a number of friends who feel the same way.

I recently talked Maxie off of the ledge as she was tempted to trade her iPhone in for a flip phone. I 100% understood where she was coming from and felt pretty similarly myself. The problem, as I told her, was that she was likely going to need that phone at some point.

Yes, everyone survived decades ago without phones… but I don’t think the argument has the strongest legs to stand on given society’s reliance on mobile technology. We’re entrepreneurs where our phones act as the “key” to our virtual office. People cancel last minute because they know they can just text you an update. Banking, transportation, and careers are so intertwined with smartphones. As Maxie and I were texting, it became very apparent that ditching the phone altogether wasn’t going to work.

For me, being on my phone is a HUGE part of my job. Laptops are a staple as well, but I just can’t imagine how I could be a blogger without a phone. Or, I don’t know, hiring someone to manage the phone stuff so I wouldn’t have to. (I actually did suggest this to Maxie who is busy prepping to promote her upcoming book.)

I think I’m feeling the burden of my phone a lot more than usual right now because of my heavy travel. Sitting down at my desk with my laptop doesn’t feel as invasive as walking around a beautiful place with my phone ringing and dinging every two seconds. There was a point this week where I was oh so tempted to toss it in the ocean.

iPhone

To combat the frustration, I have implemented a few things to help. And I’d love to know what you do. Any advice is welcome– definitely leave a comment!

ONE // No Emails

I do read emails from my phone, but I try not to send emails from my phone. I have my settings so that my emails don’t push for new notifications until I do it. It allows me to set the schedule on when I read emails versus hearing constant notifications. (If you’re new here, you should know that I take emails extremely seriously.) Reading emails on my phone only takes a minute or two as I pretty much only scan them to make sure that there are no fires to put out. IF something needs a response immediately, I take a minute to find a quiet spot to construct the email carefully. Otherwise, I wait until I’m back at my desk and properly set up for work.

TWO // Textinggggg

I have a love/hate relationship with texting. Most of the time I don’t mind it. But I get so many text messages on a daily basis that it’s challenging to keep up. I used to try to respond to everyone, but I just can’t anymore. Again, if it’s an emergency or if I’m not doing much and can afford to be a little distracted, I’ll respond. Otherwise, I wait until I’m back on my computer again since I use iMessage on it. I can deal with many texts so much easier that way!

THREE // Social

This is something I’m working on. I took my iPhone into the Apple Store a few months ago to figure out why my battery was draining so quickly. I thought there was a hardware problem. Nope! I was spending an INSANE amount of time on Instagram. Yes, Instagram is a large part of my job, but I know a portion of my usage was just from aimless scrolling. I unfollowed a lot of people, so there’s less to watch and look at in my feed. And I try to catch myself from opening the app up for no reason.

I also turned off all of my notifications from Twitter and Snapchat and other social apps, so there are fewer interruptions. I still have some Instagram notifications because I haven’t found a good way to track when someone comments my name on a post other than my own. (Any tips there?!)

FOUR // Silence is Golden

The best solution that I’ve found for not getting distracted by my phone? Forgetting that I have a phone. Putting my phone on silence is KEY for quieting not only my phone but my mind as well. If I’m working at my desk, I try to keep it off entirely. And if I’m out with friends, I put it on silent, hide it in the bottom of my bag, and enjoy myself! Oh, and if you’re not putting your phone on silent (or better yet, airplane mode) while you’re sleeping… you need to do it!

Whenever I’m feeling worked up or overwhelmed by my phone, I put it on silent too. It’s the next best thing besides throwing it into the ocean.

FIVE // It’s Not That Important

The hardest thing that I’m trying to work on the most? Reminding myself that at the end of the day, whatever the notification is, it’s never as important as it feels. 99.99% of things can wait.

What are your tips?! How can we stay sane without moving to a cabin in the woods?!

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40 Comments

Carly Totten

I have a love/hate relationship with my phone too! I particularly have great difficulty dealing with social media and email. I LOATHE email. I’m 28, and 99% of the time I would so much rather schedule a phone call than read and/or type an email to someone. As a business owner, so much has to be written for documentation, but OMG the emailing. I actually deleted my email from my phone years ago, and I have never missed it once. I have an AOL account still sent to my phone because it’s what I use for completely personal emails, but nothing for my business is pushed through because I do not have gmail set up. It’s honestly glorious because I have to go online and go to gmail’s website in order to view my mail. Because it takes effort, I check it less throughout the day when I’m not properly sitting at my desk, and I’m not bothered by it at all. My view: if someone needs to reach me that badly, they already have my cell phone number. The other thing I did years ago was delete Facebook from my phone. The only social apps I have are Instagram and Twitter, and they are both in a folder on the last “page” of my iPhone that’s titled “Time Suck”. It’s an aggressive name (HA!), but it’s acts as a good reminder every time I want to go on Instagram for something other than work. I also leave my phone on silent almost all of the time, and I “lose it” when I’m home. I leave it downstairs if I’m upstairs and vice-versa. Placing it far away from me is the best when I’m really trying to get something done because the distraction is completely removed (at least from my sightline :). When I’m on vacation, I also tend to leave my phone buried in a bag or on the kitchen counter when I’m at my family’s condo in Charleston. When it’s not with me, I have to be fully present
in order to enjoy the moment rather than
trying to capture it for Instagram. I could
keep going, but you are not alone at all!

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Chlo

Honestly, I really get what you say about us needing phones in todays world – Especially with the job you have. I was never addicted to my phone BUT I was still one of those people that couldn’t imagine going more than a day or two without it. Now, I haven’t had my phone since November 2016 – So, eight months and it’s really done me the world of good 🙂 I have an iPod which I use but, other than that, that’s it. My suggestion would be to leave your phone at home when you go out or at least don’t have any internet on whilst you’re out – Things on social media will still be there when you get home but, the things you miss whilst you’re walking along looking at your phone. Well, you’ll never be able to get them back. Have a great week/weekend:)

Chloe @ https://girllgonerogue.blogspot.co.uk/

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Michael @ Mile in My Glasses

I have a strange relationship with my phone.. Although I understand why everyone hates them, I don’t particularly have any problems with mine – in fact, I kind of love having it so close to me. I’m okay with distancing myself though if I need some time off it, but I definitely agree with how difficult it is when your job is so deeply intertwined with mobiles!

I hope you have a great Thursday,
Michael
https://www.mileinmyglasses.co.uk

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Jess Zimlich

I can relate to so much of this! I was just telling my best friends over the weekend that the burnout with my phone is real, even though my social notifications have been off for a few years now and my phone is almost always on silent. I used to always be the girl who never missed a text/phone call/Instagram post/you name it, but I sort of threw in the towel recently and let it all go. I feel guilty texting back days later sometimes, but I also know mentally there’s no more room in my head right now! I’m working on cleaning up the number of people I follow on Instagram in hopes that it will make the space a more inspiring one for me again. I think it helps to set expectations with people, too. My mom babysits my niece and sends snapchats all day long. Of course, I could sit there and respond to her cuteness all day but I would never get any work done. I let her know to send away, but that I’ll respond/watch when I can. Same with friends and texting/voicing lately. My best friend and I use WhatsApp to chat throughout the day (which saves a ton of time as I find it’s easier to listen/voice respond than type everything out), however, we both have an understanding that work comes first and will schedule times to catch up and take mini breaks throughout the day.

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Ariadna

I totally get you, specially with texting. It’s so useful and a great way to communicate but it can get too much sometimes and it’s important to remember that there is no need to communicate with each other every 5min! x

Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

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Taylor

Such a great post! I often feel this way too and try my best to only get on my phone when I truly have time and leave it tucked away and silent when I can’t afford to be distracted or need a break.
As for emails, I try really hard not to look at them until I know I can actually sit down and reply. Otherwise I would find myself thinking about all of those email while I needed my attention to be else where.
Taking a detox period can also be helpful, whether it is a full day or just certain hours during the day (other than sleeping) when you turn off your notifications and put the phone away.

Taylor | http://www.livingtaylored.com

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Katie T.

I feel you and have been feeling the same way lately!! During my recent vacation I took all my social apps off my phone and turned off ALL my notifications except texts and calls. It was so liberating and I found things to keep myself busy other than aimless scrolling! The habit has creeped back up on me, but I continually make adjustments like getting rid of wasteful apps. For example, I make myself log into Facebook on Chrome…which is so clunky I’m never tempted to stay on it longer than to check notifications.

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Tatiana

Obviously, your situation is different than mine (I’m a back-for-my-third-degree student and community volunteer, not a blogger!) but I have employed many of the tactics you’ve mentioned and more. I don’t have a lot of needless apps installed on my phone. I don’t use it to play games. I don’t use Snapchat (absolutely ZERO interest) or Instastories, and while I *have* Instagram to be able to view others’ photos, I have never uploaded a single photo on my account. I stopped using Twitter last year, due to the poisonous atmosphere there, but I will occasionally read tweets related to my community or breaking news. I do have Facebook, because I am old/uncool and most of my friends live in other cities, but I keep notifications for that and nearly everything else turned off, because I don;t like seeing those red numbers pop up on my apps. I do keep on the visual notifications for texts and missed calls/voice mails. Sound is off for everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. I cannot abide the pings and dings and sounds a phone makes. I will look at the phone occasionally and choose when to return texts and/or calls. I erase the voice mails without listening to them (obviously you can see who called and don’t really need to listen to the voice mail) unless it is one of my physicians (could be some medical news, which I think is important). I will say that I loathe talking on the phone, and only make calls for business or medical reasons. I don’t get email notifications until I open the app. I keep my phone on silent and either in my bag when out, or usually on my breakfast bar when home, so that I have to consciously move from living room or bedroom to look at it. I am of an age where when we left the house, no one could reach us, and where if we needed to call home, we used pay phones. Then when I was in middle school and high school, answering machines came in vogue, and my parents had those OG car phones! My mother was a very early adopter of cell phones and mobile technology, because she worked in beverage sales and primarily out of her car. I remember her transmitting her orders nightly with a modem! Things were just a lot different back then. I did have my own phone line, first with an answering machine, and then with voice mail, but I never had a pager because of the negative connotations. I got my first cell phone in 1999, one of those big Nokias, and then I think I moved to a flip phone in maybe 2002. I moved to a Blackberry in 2004, and actually was a huge fan for a long time. I didn’t even get an iPhone until the 3GS was out! I think I started feeling the societal pressure to be “on” all the time in perhaps 2010, especially for work, and it was after a career change in 2012 when I decided I had had enough of being tethered to a phone constantly and made the decision to turn my sounds/notifications off and take control. I have zero regrets! I think that if my job was phone dependent, I would set certain hours to have it on, and then keep it OFF the rest of the time!

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Emily

I absolutely feel you on this one and it can be frustrating when other people don’t feel the same way. My boyfriend is on his phone A LOT, and I’m always telling him to put it down and just live in the moment. That being said, I’m working on growing my blog, so I feel like I need to put in that social media legwork, and my phone is the easiest way to do it. Such a sticky situation!

That picture is also fantastic! Love your suit!

Emily // Third & Girl

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yancey williams

Ipod? I don’t actually have a cell phone. I do all of my work from “little blue” my ipod. I can instagram and access the net without any of the headaches that come with using a phone. Yes, I have a land line, yes, I’m that old!

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Rox-Anne

As a fellow blogger, I totally relate! I mean, we can’t exactly live without IG as it’s a big portion of what we do! I too was feeling overwhelmed with keeping up with everything and really was in need of some down time. I looked at my stats and noticed that my days for the best engagement with followers was Mon-Fri, with Sat & Sun being the lowest. So… I stopped posting and engaging on the weekends! It is a life saver! I don’t worry about posting and can actually focus on living my life (which in turn creates more content for my blog and social). Hope this helps! xx Rox-Anne Celebrating This Life

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Ellie

My phone is also always on silent and the only push messages I get are texts. I also have all notifications set as banners so they don’t overtake the screen (and that’s for the few apps that even have notifications on). For email, I’m with you on not having it push automatically unless I fetch new messages. With that, I often have my email set to off on my phone. That way on an average evening, I don’t see work email. On a weekend where I have a wedding, I can easily toggle on the email if needed. If you go to Settings > Email > account, just slide off the email button.

Another idea would be to set periods of time where your phone is in airplane more. If you’re in a meeting or with friends at dinner, you’re not looking anyway but this can be a mental shift too (I did this during my wedding weekend for periods of time and it was amazing). This will help save some battery too 🙂

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Enfiniti Jones

I have a strong love/hate with my phone as well. Social Media is a huge problem but lately I just put my phone and iPad on Do Not Disturb that way I don’t get distracted and I set a time as well to check it.

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Amanda

I totally agree with you I feel like I waste so much time on my phone, it’s just so addicted. For me reminding myself that it’s not important is the biggest thing. It’s so much more important and more fulfilling to be present, and that cute Insta pic that I may or may not be missing will still be there four hours later for me to like.

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Katie | Katie's Kronicles

Man, I bet everyone who reads this can relate!!!!!! I love love love turning off my phone for hours at a time and just sitting at my desk working or not having anyone bother me. If it’s something vital, someone will find a way to get ahold of me. Even when there’s been emergencies (like my best friend was hit head on while she was sitting on the highway from a previous accident that just seconds before) it was not the biggest deal that I didn’t know RIGHT then that it happened. Honestly I think it was better I knew a little after the fact so I didn’t freak out and had more details than most people once I was notified. But I am so guilty of spending unnecessary time on my phone. And going over my data limit because of Instagram usage at work and no WIFI. The horror. What you all said is sooo true. I will catch myself on my phone instead of talking with my family… that’s so terrible. In 50 years I won’t care about who liked my photo… I will care about the relationships I made intentional. Me and my boyfriend are really good about this and when we hang out, almost never do we text or call or even use our phones. Taking my DSLR places also helps so I don’t have to wip it out for photos.

Katie | http://www.katieskronicles.org

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Ivonne

Carly you totally read my mind! There is this Katy Perry song called “Part of Me” that has a lyric that says “I just wanna throw my phone away, find out who is really there for me”. Though I don’t take it literally, whenever I’m feeling like I just want to toss my phone out the window it gives me a bit of relief. If only for those few minutes I’m dancing my butt off, ha! If I really need a break I put my phone on “do not disturb” for an hour or two to silence the noise. After a curtain time of the day (whichever you prefer) I put it on silent and do not disturb, you can even put it so that you only get notifications from curtain people. For me these people are family, in case of an emergency as we live on opposite ends of the state. Other than that, everyone else will have to wait until tomorrow! Great tips.
x

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Beth

Amen sister! I do a lot of the things to minimize phone alerts, etc. Being a leader with phone etiquette will hopefully help others see phones aren’t needed all the time!

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Rachel

I wholeheartedly agree that phones get in the way of enjoying life. That being said, I freak out every time I am not within arms length (or Bluetooth range with my Apple Watch on) of my iPhone. I’m currently a graduate student with no fewer than 3 jobs at a given time (usually 5 during the school year – yikes!) and my own dissertation is also in progress. My phone is basically central command for me where I can keep track of everything. Sometimes though, I just want it to STOP DINGING! I’ve implemented a system where I get notifications when only specific people email me (think advisor, bosses) and I stopped notifications from social media from doing anything more than adding to the little red circle. I can also put the phone on do not disturb and only my “favorites” can get through to me. This makes me feel like I won’t miss an emergency, but it makes everything else stop. I have do not disturb scheduled daily as well, so that I get a decent nights sleep. Hope you find a way to tame the notifications!

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MNM

This is probably my favorite post you’ve ever written ahaha. I agree with EVERY word. I almost reverted back to a flip phone but realized I would never find my way home since I’m a hopeless navigator. But your tips are so solid that I think I can definitely cut back on my phone use and save some sanity–thanks!

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Hanna

Wow, this post perfectly sums up everything I’ve been feeling lately! I recently added the Apple Watch and at first I was pretty apprehensive because I thought it would enable me even more but it’s actually the opposite! I can control which notifications get pushed to my watch and which ones I only see if I pull out my phone. If I’m hanging out with friends, I have actually been able to throw my phone into my tote bag and not even worry about it once. Phone calls get pushed to the watch, texts do as well (but you can quickly dismiss those you don’t need to see and if I get any from family or close friends I will read them and decide if I can push it off for later as texting on the app can be a bit cumbersome which actually works in my benefit), you can use google maps, music, airplane apps, even Starbucks and uber! When I have my watch I seriously don’t even think about pulling out my phone. I work as a resident assistant and because so much of my job revolves around emergency crisis and management, I find myself jumping on every phone call, email, or text even if I was on the other side of the country. This trick has helped save me so much stress and taught me when it may be important to respond immediately and when I need to put it away. Give it a try! Changed my world and lowered so much anxiety.

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Morgan

Carly, this post is SO on point! I have found myself getting incredibly overwhelmed by my phone… I work in PR/communications and I completely understand the “virtual office” thing. Keeping up with texts, group texts, emails… is very time consuming and takes up extra space in my brain I’d like to use for more important things. Turning off notifications has helped a ton, but I’ve also been challenging myself to leave my phone at home during errands, dinners out, etc. It helps!

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Cassie Falat

My husband and I made a new rule this year of no phones in the bedroom. I read at night now or we’ll chat about our day or just things in general. I use my Fitbit as my alarm clock now which is a calmer way to wake up for both of us.

I find that this no phone rule is helping me to sleep better and I was suprised to find that I haven’t has as many anxiety attacks since leaving the phone in our office overnight instead of bringing it in the bedroom. It has both physically and mentally disconnected myself from social media, emails, work, etc.

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Tori

This is SO relatable! I remember when I was abroad in Paris, I felt so overwhelmed by my lack of likes on Instagram (well over 100, which is perfectly reasonable for someone like me!) compared with my friends that I really wanted to throw my phone into the Seine. I’ve found that keeping my phone on “do not disturb” all day and night helps me not get so overwhelmed about it.

I’m also looking for a job in social media if you and Maxie are serious about hiring someone to help manage 😉

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Allison

I love this post and can relate so much. I use my phone a lot for navigation so I can’t imagine just going anywhere without it because I get so lost. And I absolutely hate missing a call even if it’s just a friend as I’d rather just answer and talk right then. When I went on a cruise for a week and had my phone on airplane mode, it was so nice to have that break. I denfitley need to be off it more!

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Evelina

Sleep mode is the best. I have it set to start at 10pm and it turns off at 8am. The only thing that will come through is anything in your “favorites” – so you’ll still get calls from say your parents or your kids in case there is an emergency – otherwise your phone goes silent. Its the only way to keep your phone on your nightstand when you’re sleeping without being interrupted 🙂

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Eva

I’ve been super sick of Instagram lately
and have been taking a general break
from my phone usage. I think I used to be really inspired by the app, but lately I feel like it’s all about getting likes, rather than being the place where I express myself creatively. I miss those early days when it was new! Now it feels like everything is similar.

I also never send emails or browse the web on my phone. I read emails quickly, and read the news/weather, but never do anything too deeply – I prefer the controls of a full computer.

I think a lot of anxiety and stress come from smart phones and being always connected/comparing yourself to others, so I’ve taken steps to keep myself from getting too attached. Here are some of my phone tips I find super useful:

1). Delete Facebook from your phone – immediately. You wont miss it and you’ll be surprised how much that action alone disconnects you from the unhealthy obsession with your phone. Since I did that, my Instagram usage has also gone drastically down and I’ve gained hours in my week.

2). Set up Do Not Disturb daily between the hours of 11pm and 7am – or whenever you’re likely to be getting ready for bed/sleeping. Your phone wont ping or buzz at this time, but you can set up “emergency” situations if you need to be reached.

3). Check your Battery Usage regularly – it’s in the settings and will tell you what you’re spending your battery life on. While you may not change anything significant day to day, it’ll just make you more aware of what you’re spending your time on.

4). Be present. Let some things go without having to share them. If you’re always reaching for your phone, you’re not living in the moment. I often think people who share less, or refrain from social media are the most healthy and balanced.

Just some of the things that have worked for me! Hope they help!

http://www.shessobright.com

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Alli

Carly – you’ve hit the nail right on the head with this post! While I’m not a “blogger,” my whole job could be done using my cell phone which means that as long as I have my phone with me, I feel like I could or should be working. Taking a vacation without looking at my phone for work purposes has only been accomplished by going to the tundra in Alaska – all other trips have involved work in some form or fashion as a result of being able to check in on things via my phone. Hats off to you for doing more to use your phone less! I love the idea of keeping your phone on airplane mode at night and during times with friends! Thanks for the tips!

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Jen Kessler

I know another blogger who practices #socialmediafreeweekends – I’ve done it before and it is so freeing feeling but it’s definitely a HUGE challenge.

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Nicolette

I’m that person that never really liked texting or calling people. I still hate it when I get a text from someone after I’ve gone to bed but my phone is my alarm clock and because I text and call so little, if someone does contact me it usually very important. Such a dilemma… 🙁
Nicolette | http://www.nicolette.co

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Jessica

OMG! I know exactly how you feel! This post remind me a lot about a movie called “The Joneses Unplugged”, I think that everyone who wants to take a little break from technology should watch it, plus Mischa Barton and Sean Faris are on it!

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xandra

i have a flip phone + ipod touch, and still feel the urge to ditch the latter! i turn off wifi, or the entire device to take digital retreats <3

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Nicole

Love this post, Carly! I’ve recently started my own blog, so I’ve been on my phone more than ever before, and it definitely gets draining. I literally feel on some days like there’s a cloud over my head, and then as soon as I put my phone in a drawer and forbid myself from touching it, I feel a million times lighter. SO one of my tips is just throwing it in a drawer for a few hours of even a whole day if you can handle it and just forgetting you have it. Another would be set a specific time at which you can no longer look at/use your phone at all, or put it on airplane mode. This needs to be a good 2-3 hours before you go to sleep, so that you get enough time to chill from the overload of media info. Hope this helped <3

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