A Hands Free Summer – Keeping my phone in its place


Ever had the sneaking suspicion that you are WAY too attached to your phone?! At the beginning of the summer I decided that drastic action was needed to curb my phone use and to create more undistracted space in my life. I wrote a little blog about my ‘phone box’ and the response was lovely. Lots of people took up the same challenge and I’ve been asked many times how the summer went, so here’s an update.

A new home
Firstly my ‘phone home’ got a serious upgrade! My husband re-purposed my Dad’s old wooden index card box to be our phones new home. He even fitted a little charging station which is super!

In-house accountability
My daughter was very diligent in her responsibilities. Putting my phone in it’s home and saying ‘are you on your phone’ when she clocked I’d sneaked it out. Having someone to keep me on the straight and narrow was really helpful, plus, you know, no-one wants to be told off by their kids!

Things I did instead of befriending my phone

  1. Got on the floor and played. I read books, did drawing, I was all there.
  2. Actually listened to my children. My phone was constantly pulling me out of my present moment. I was also missing things my kids said, precious, sweet, funny moments because I’d got sucked into so ‘very important’ task on my phone.
  3. Watched lots of Disney films! Rather than them being background noise I saw them through my kids eyes, I also finally understand the plot in Tangled!
  4. Napped. I rested with my eyes shut. I’ve realised phones and rest rarely, if ever, go together.

Did I slip up?

Oh yes! There were (and are) days when children wake up in the night, kick off in the day, and I’m tired and want to sit down and switch off for a bit. Two days ago I was sat on the sofa looking at my phone and my daughter snuggled up to me. After a couple of moments she said ‘I just want to be with you’.  ‘I am with you darling’ I replied. ‘No you’re not, you are on your phone’. I’m still learning!

Will I continue?

Yes! Here’s the things we are taking into the rest of our post-summer life;

  1. Keeping the phone home. I had a lot of bad habits around my phone. It was great to break those habits by simply removing the temptation altogether. Since the challenge our phones live (most of the time!) in the box when we are in the house. It is lovely!
  2. Getting rid of nearly all notifications. I rarely need my phone to alert me to anything. I removed all but my text and call notifications and I really didn’t miss anything.
  3. Keeping it out of the bedroom.
  4. No phone after 10pm or before I’ve finished my morning routine. It’s helped my sleep massively, on  days I don’t do this I really notice that my brain stays wired for too long at bedtime. When I succeed in starting the day without my phone I begin the day present and paying attention to how I’m feeling before I get influenced my whatever news my phone will bring me.

One of the big motivations for sorting out my phone habits is that I want to set good examples. I’m determined we set family expectations about what place technology has in our home. That even though we use it and love it, it shouldn’t take the place of real connection and relationship. I know this is a battle for me but with the long game in sight I hope this is one change that’s here to stay.