Andre Franca

Disconnecting is Becoming Increasingly Difficult

Published: April 29, 2022
541 words · 2 minutes to read
Tagged: #technology#digital#social-media.

How many opportunities do we let go when we’re passively using our phones?

Not long ago, my wife started calling my attention about me staying hours on the phone. At first, I disagreed – I think most of you would do the same, because when we are on an unaware state, we tend to do things like this. After some insistence from her, I decided to check if that was true. I’m an iPhone user, so I set up Screen Time. For those who don’t know what this app is, it basically maps how many hours we spend with our phones and which apps consume most of our time.

The result? Obviously, I got shocked. It’s overwhelming and disturbing to acknowledge how badly I was using my time, swiping my finger across the screen, sometimes with no reasonable purpose.

If you once had the opportunity to be in therapy, one of the things you may have already had contact with is the 6 stages of behavior change (you can read more about it here). At this point I had reached the contemplation stage. This stage sometimes generates some ambivalence and conflicted emotions. I mean, even knowing exactly how much time I used to spend on my phone, it remained difficult to change habits.

Well, after some time, it got to the point where I felt prepared to jump to the third stage: Preparation. At first this may look simple – or maybe unnecessary, but this stage is the one that will help you maximize your results in this change process. For instance, I love cooking (it’s one of my hobbies), so it takes the same principle that making a good Mise en Place (putting in place – in English) will help us better organize our space and ingredients and make a good plate.

Fourth stage: Put it into action. As of the date of this writing, is where I’m at.

I quit social media a year or so ago. Mostly because of my privacy concerns of how my data was being handled harvested. I remember how I felt anxiety-wise. Then I found myself using even more my phone, consuming youtube, podcasts, and gaming to a point where I unlearned how to appreciate the silence.

Today, let’s say I’m doing surprisingly well in the sense that I can do things I like more consciously. I created this blog, so I can express my thoughts. I created an account on the fediverse to fulfill my social needs online. I uninstalled most of my not useful apps and games from my phone, and I try to curate better what I see or listen to, while I allow myself to enjoy more of the real life. One of these days, I realized that I was appreciating for some good minutes a bird that came to my window.

Well, I wanted to share my story first because it’s good to put out what we think, then to show how bad it is when we do things passively. In this case, on how I used to use my phone. Acknowledging this allowed me to choose between living adrift and having more control over my own opportunities.

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