February Phonecation

I’ve decided I’m taking a vacation from my phone this month.

A whole month. No phone.

Well, abortion almost no phone.

Let’s start at the beginning:

I had already done a number of things to try and separate myself from the amount of time I spent on my iPhone – such as deleting any social media apps that take up too much time (I’m looking at you Twitter & Facebook) but I feel I need to go further. I find that I’m drawn to it far too often and then get pulled in. I turn it on to check the time and then all of a sudden I’m checking my e-mail (which I don’t get much of). Or I check to see if anyone has texted me (they haven’t). I’ll be thinking of something I want to look-up and all of a sudden I’ve been lying in bed reading for half an hour.

I wonder what kind of message this sends to my children and what it is doing to my attention span. I really don’t want my children to grow up with an image of their mother with a phone in front of her face all of the time.

Recently I was reading a journal entry I had written 5-years ago where I was speculating that the internet was making me stupid. Five years later and I’m sure it is – and my so-called “smart” phone isn’t helping. Don’t get me wrong, I think my phone is great when used for important purposes (the map function is fantastic when I am out driving somewhere new) and I’m not sure it would be worth it to go back to a regular cell phone – although I do consider it at times – because the world isn’t moving in that direction.

Mostly though, just like the rest of my life, I need to find a balance and my phone really isn’t helping with that these days. So my plan is that on days when I don’t need to bring my phone anywhere it will be kept in my dresser drawer. On days when I do want to bring it in the car it will be in the zipper pocket of my bag. And I have to start wearing a watch – otherwise I will be tempted to turn on the phone for the time. This also means no phone-photos this month but I’ve been cutting back on those too – that’s another post.

However, in the spirit of full-disclosure I totally failed on my first day of phonecation. Fionnuala and I had gone to a mall this morning so I could get my glasses fixed and were killing time with a muffin when the tummy bug that had been bothering us all hit her. Really hit herright into her socks and boots. Needless to say I felt the need to tell someone and since I had already turned on my phone to check the time, I texted the Mister and then I kept updating him on the status of my shitty day (pun intended). Tomorrow will be better.

(In the past I would have announced it on Twitter – but really, does anyone really care about such things? I wonder where the world is going with all of that some days.)


The Minimalist Mom has a great series going right now called Digital De-cluttering. I particularly liked her post about cleaning up your browsing experience.



  12 Replies to “February Phonecation”

  1. jac
    February 2, 2012 at 4:33 am

    I never used to use my phone at all, but now I am deeply enslaved to it. Although mine has a fault which randomly throws you out of apps… I try to take this as a sign and not go straight back in!

  2. February 2, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Great idea! A few times I’ve forgotten to charge my phone and had blissful days not tethered to it. I make a point of replicating this experience every once in a while. It really feels like I’m reclaiming my brain.

  3. February 2, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Thanks for the shout out, M.

    You description of life with your iPhone was me – until I gave it up when we moved overseas. Now I have this terrible little thing, barely texts and people sound like they are underwater when I call them. But I love it. I let myself be a slave to the Internet and it does nothing for my personal happiness.

    I’m musing about starting a group email check in on Internet usage. It is a tough one for me and I need more accountability. Let me know if you would be interested.

    Poor, F with that bug 🙁 We had something similar last week. Hope she is getting better.

  4. February 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I love it! I fully support your phonecation…good luck though!!

  5. February 3, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Wait: if I leave a comment, does that send something to your phone, which will only make it all-the-harder to resist said urge to check the phone, because there’s something flashing that indicates an update? Sigh. So many hard choices in this modern world of inter-webby things. (Good luck: I get it.)

    • February 3, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      I turned off any ‘push notifications’ on my phone at least a year ago – there has never been any need for me to know if someone has e-mailed or texted me. And the phone is off and shoved in a drawer so all comment checking (which I can be a little obsessive about) have to wait until I get a chance to be on the computer. 😉

  6. Kat
    February 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I hate my phone. All it offers are nap-interrupting unsolicited calls and spam texts. I frequently let the battery die and stay that way for a week at a time.

  7. Lectio's mom
    February 5, 2012 at 9:38 am

    My family didn’t get a phone until the ’60’s when I was a little girl (and the dinosaurs roamed the earth…) It was a party line so when we had a call the eavesdroppers could listen in. If they wanted to use their phone they’d rudely click the receiver bracket, interrupting our call. When the phone rang my father would turn to my mother “Rose! Rose! The phone!!!”. We had to RUN to answer it. Why? Where did he get his phone rules from? Every job I had involved taking calls from patients, and we’ve always had a land line. I now have a cel., though truth be told I don’t use it more than once or twice a month. Our phone seldom rings and we don’t RUN to answer it as it’s usually someone wanting something. Maybe the habit of being too attached to one’s phone is the same as my parent’s attachment to letters in the mail – mail delivered twice a day back then – we all want to feel connected to each other, whether through phones, letters, blogs. Good luck with your resolution. As for me, I’ve decided to give up potato chips, equally addictive.

  8. February 5, 2012 at 11:14 am

    (for Lent, I think – she’s planning on giving them up for Lent. We’ll all suffer from the dearth of potato chips in home. Sometimes you need a good potato chip.)

    I hate the phone thing. By yourself – sure, it’s amusing and you can twitter and whatnot. But I’m getting so sick and tired of being ignored or put off in while somebody diddles their smartphone: pausing to check it, scrolling through texts and tweets and emails, and all during ‘face to face’ conversation – by salespeople, by my clients (nothing I can do about that one), by friends…it’s like everybody is trying to figure out if they’re missing out on something better while they’re talking to you.

    • Reche
      February 7, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      “it’s like everybody is trying to figure out if they’re missing out on something better while they’re talking to you.” That is exactly what it feels like – I’ve never been able to properly articulate the feeling to my husband. Thank you!

      • February 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm

        That is exactly how I feel too.

  9. Wood Cutter
    February 5, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    I’ve always wanted to be a lumberjack, leaping from tree to tree, free of the shackles and constraints of a modern, connected society.

    Life is faster, things get done more efficiently, information flows quicker. Are we ready for hive mentality, which is global emergent behaviour from localised interactions – except localised in cyberspace instead of physical space?

    I kind of doubt it, but we end up more like the Borg with each push of a button and re-tweet.

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