real life

'I changed one setting on my iPhone. I now look down at it so much less.'

I’m bad at my phone.

Not at using it. In fact, I’m quite good at using it. I am bad at getting off it. Terrible. Awful. Embarrassingly so.

My data usage is off the charts, my monthly phone bill never good news and sometimes, I do that bad, very bad thing of looking at Facebook on my computer and my phone at exactly the same time. (Spoiler: the newsfeeds look the same no matter the screen it sits on. Desktop, phone, there is no benefit to looking at both at once. None. Nada. Nothing. You heard it here first.)

For context, no amount of me walking into people on my morning commute will stop me reading articles from my phone as I walk to work. I’m annoying, and it annoys me that I am so annoying.

And so, last week when my phone spontaneously self-combusted and my boyfriend’s sister kindly loaned me hers, I accidentally stumbled onto a way to get off it.

I wasn’t trying to be clever, it wasn’t an active decision, and it wasn’t me being self-aware enough to know I need to start looking up, not down.

It happened because, well, I’m stupid.

It all started when I went to re-download my apps onto the phone and remembered – haha! go me – that I have a different password for every app I use for work. Oh and that also? I can’t remember one of them.

This, it seemed, was the first good decision I made, because it meant none of my emails are on my phone. Not my personal, not my work. I can’t do work on my days off, nor can I ‘quickly’ check in on what’s going on. I have to find a computer and make a conscious decision to chase up work.

The second good decision I made?

Well, I couldn’t quite work how to turn push notifications on, and then couldn’t be bothered googling it.

Why no one uses their phones to actually call. Post continues after audio.

I am talking Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Apple News, podcasts (why?) and Twitter. Apps that interrupt my days – and nights – with cute but actually stupidly unnecessary messages telling me someone liked my photo (which happens… not that much…), my long-lost school friend tweeted after a long hiatus (which I will simultaneously check but also not care about) and that someone sent me a photo on Snapchat (and by someone I mean… the same person).

What’s better – though I can’t offer actual advice as to how I managed to pull this one off – is that I don’t even have that tiny but imposing red notification in the corner of every app informing me what’s left unread.

Instead, I have to go to the app in a quiet moment, and read what’s there.

It was the smallest change to my settings that I never sought to change, and here I am, a somewhat, little bit, sort of reformed woman.

Sometimes, I even sit on the train and look out the window now.

I mean, sure, there’s nothing out there, but my phone bill is kind of impressed.

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