On my phone. . .
I have been in a screen time battle with myself for the last month. When I finally did the last update to my phone, it started recording and telling me exactly how many hours, down to the minute, I have been spending with it in my hand.
The first week. . . over 6 hours. I am awake about 14-18 hours a day, so up to 40% of the time, I was staring at my phone.
So I started to notice what I was doing. . . talking to my team, emailing friends.colleagues.students, looking at Instagram, looking at article and uptodate, taking and editing photos, reading books, watching movies, reading the newspaper, using the calculator 2000 times, consulting on cases, google to answer another unknown, Amazon, Pinterest, recipes, games with the girls. . .
Picking it up to see if I missed something, checking the time, distracting myself when I don’t want to be stuck with my own thoughts, scrolling during a meeting, trying to read myself to sleep. . .
I checked it a lot (ironically increasing my screen time). . .even as Madeline and David laughed that I was so distressed. But 6 hours, really? It was like holding up a mirror to what I did with my time and how I was using the tiny computer in my hand. I set limits. Deleted apps. Put it face down on the table.
It was more minutes the days I was on call – partly because i was awake 20-22 hours. But it was also more the days that I was not at the hospital. I started to notice Annabelle’s side glances more when I was on my phone and not answering her questions. I noticed Madeline’s resignation when I was on my phone when she walked in the door. I noticed David stopping short in his conversation with me when I picked up my phone at night.
It’s a good update, and I am down 30% from the original number. I am trying to take the not so subtle hint to be connected to the world but present where I am – to be available to community but aware of what is directly in front of me. To be grateful for all the possibilities and activities rolled into my phone, but not beholden to the ring. I’m also trying not to feel guilty when it allows me to do things instantly that wouldn’t have been possible even 5 years ago. To be grateful for the connection that it brings and how it shrinks an ocean.