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"The moment I knew my phone addiction had gone too far."

I have a problem with my phone

Whenever that unsolicited notification pops up informing me of how much time I’ve spent on my phone in the past week, I instantly delete it without even checking. But in the spirit of personal research, I confronted my habit today. (The first step is admitting you have a problem, etc. etc.)

Allegedly, I average four hours and 24 minutes per day on my phone. That’s 30 hours and 48 minutes in one week.

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That seems… actually absurd. But it makes sense. 

Waiting for my coffee? I’ll scroll. On the toilet? I’ll scroll (don’t pretend like you don’t do this too, Sharon!). Going for a stroll? I’ll scroll. Feeling awkward in a social setting? I’ll pretend to look busy by scrolling.

But last week I fell into a ‘digital detox’ and now I feel like a changed (slightly smug) person. You see, I spent a week at Eden Health Retreat in Queensland’s Currumbin Valley. As I entered the Eden gates, barely even looking up as my thumb subconsciously navigated through various social media platforms, I watched the service bars disappear.


But what about the emails I promised to get back to? What about the messages I hadn’t yet responded to? What about…. incessantly and unnecessarily checking Instagram and then Facebook and then Instagram again every 23 minutes? 

One of the main takeaways from the retreat was how reliant I had become on using my phone to entertain my brain, and how unhealthy it had become for me personally. 

In my time without my phone, I had long conversations with strangers - now friends - without the distractions of notifications. I read a 500-page book in six days, whilst still having days filled with other activities. I was 100 per cent present, leaving me with 86 percent phone battery before bed.

Sunset at Currumbin Valley QueenslandUnsurprisingly, I did not take many photos during my digital detox but I did grab this view of the sunset over the Currumbin Valley.  


Essentially, I felt like everything I did was meaningful, not mindless.

Don’t get me wrong - I’m not talking about using my phone to read interesting articles, have phone calls with far-away friends or any of the other very worthwhile things I can do with my phone. But if I’m honest with myself, and with you, I know I spend far too much time doing literally nothing on my phone. Like, stalking the uncle of a guy I will never go on a date with.

It’s funny how these devices marketed as a connective tool can sometimes be the biggest detriment to true connection.

Given the past year we’ve all had, where we’ve likely been more glued to our devices than ever, ‘switching off’ is something we probably all need to do more of.

Below, I’ve collated a list of the habits I’m trying to stop now that I’m back in the ‘real’ world. I hope you can relate in some way! 

 1. Checking my phone first thing in the morning. 

I wake up at 5:30am every weekday morning to exercise. Without fail, as if on autopilot, the first thing I’d do in those wee hours is check my phone for about 10 minutes; when I could have stayed asleep for that time. 

It meant I would spend my gym class thinking about the work I had ahead of me that day.

Now, though, I plan to keep my phone on airplane mode until after my gym class. It’s not like I’d usually (if ever) need to respond to something before then anyway.

2. Mindlessly scrolling at the end of the night.

I am guilty of ‘Revenge Bedtime Procrastination’, which is when you sacrifice your sleep for ‘you’ time by endlessly scrolling on your phone because that’s the only ‘free’ time you get in your day.

Not only does the blue light emanating from the phone keep me up for longer, but it also doesn’t contribute anything to my life other than more yawns the next day. 

I’ve always read before bed, but it’s not usually the last thing I do. Now I’ve made a conscious habit to set my alarm first, then read, then sleep. It’s changed how quickly I go to sleep.

Listen: Lisa Wilkinson and her daughter Billi FitzSimmons play Quizzish. Post continues below.

3. Scrolling on Instagram whilst also watching Celebrity Apprentice whilst also shopping on The Iconic on my computer. 

More than once I’ve had three different screens in front of me and someone has tried to change the channel and I’ll rebut, “No I’m watching that!”, despite the fact I clearly haven’t looked up for longer than ten seconds since the last ad break.

Anyone else? Anyone? 

I need to re-train my attention span.

One. Screen. At. A. Time. 

4. Being on the phone when on the toilet.

Probs not necessary.

Nuff’ said, I think? 

Feature image: @billifitz - Instagram.

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