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Sunday 20th September 2020
Oh my goodness! I was trembling when I posted the ‘No Phone for 30 Days’ video and signed out of all social media, removed my email from my laptop, and switched my phone off. My heart was beating so hard!
When I handed the box (with my phone in!) to the lady at the Post Office and said “I’d like to send this to Australia” it was as though it wasn’t real. I thought she might say ‘Wow! Australia!” But she didn’t bat an eyelid.
Leaving the Post Office was mad! I actually felt light-headed and my brain was rushing all over the place thinking what have I done?! What am I doing!? Will the phone get to Australia alright? What if it doesn’t get there? What if it doesn’t get back? How will I know?
A really bizarre feeling.
I do not think anyone has done anything like this before. Why would they?!
Monday 21st September 2020
This feels great!
I ran 10km without my phone or any music. I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to ‘get in the zone’ without music but it was quite the opposite. I felt fresh and free – plus saw a rabbit, some deer and a fox. My mind felt relaxed and my body strong (it definitely helps to be out of London and in the countryside).
There was a couple of times I went to reach for my phone today – I was having a call with a friend (on the landline) and he had to nip off for a minute – my thoughts went to filling the time with a quick look at Instagram! It was an involuntary thought, a habit. But what would I have gained for a one-minute browse on Instagram apart from being drawn away from the topic I was discussing with my friend?
I haven’t missed my phone at all!
It has been bliss!
I do however feel instantly disconnected. There’s been no WhatsApp – things have happened today and I thought of friends and I’d usually snap a picture and send it to them. I realise now by doing that I am disturbing my flow, and maybe disturbing theirs too. Only a thought though,
Today felt REALLY good with no phone!
Tuesday 22nd September 2020
I start most days with a workout – I usually use my phone for HIIT training, a timer and music. I didn’t have any of these, so used my laptop for Spotify and made up a workout and guessed the timings. It went better than I expected. I felt quite relaxed rather than looking at my phone all the time. The worst is using it for a workout and then seeing a WhatsApp and it’s so hard to resist reading it. Ultimately, I end up opening WhatsApp and then getting distracted.
I am really having a great time not having a phone right now. I still have that instinct reaction though of seeing something or thinking of something and wanting to WhatsApp someone.
A friend is meeting me for a walk tomorrow (he called my mum’s landline) and asked where we should meet and what time. I almost said, “I’ll send you a message” then realised.
Wednesday 23rd September 2020
I’m still feeling good.
Getting so much done and remaining so focused.
I’m actually sticking to my schedule that I’ve (meant to have) had for years – that has rarely happens!
Usually, I get tired (exhausted) by 5pm but my energy levels are more sustainable.
Missed a call on the landline and used 1471 “press 3”
Met a friend for a walk – spoke about the harmful effects of social media for an hour. Then enjoyed the walk and each other’s company with no phones. We spoke about books, films, videos.
The landline rang today without me knowing who was calling (usually I know who is calling because we’ve scheduled it) It’s quite exciting not knowing who’s calling.
Genuinely wondering if I will go back to how I used to be on my phone and social media. I am still working, I am still meeting friends, I’m still getting things done, except with more intention and enjoyment.
Perhaps not related to the no phone experiment and more to the environment (being at my mum’s house in the countryside) but I am not eating as much. Before in London, I was becoming fatigued with work and heading to the kitchen to ‘escape’ or ‘fill the void.’
I had to use my laptop for my Garmin watch and upload my run – I had to use a wire to upload the information! Old school!
I’m missing voice memos on my phone, so using a dictaphone to record my thoughts instead.
Forgot my password for certain websites which makes doing a reset really hard. I won’t be able to use Paypal until my phone is back as the only options were to send a text to my mobile or call my mobile. Oh.
Some waffled words from my dictaphone:
“It’s about being aware and gaining more awareness. And that awareness passes into our everyday life, such as food, fitness, kindness, self-love, maybe even something such as plastic pollution – so it’s more than just not using your phone, that awareness passes into so much more stuff to make you happy and healthier, the people around you happy and healthier, and hopefully the planet happy and healthier.”
Thursday 24th September 2020
I still have the instincts (habits)- when I open my laptop, the first thought is to open my emails to see who wants me, are there any opportunities? I’m often using emails as a distraction/excuse from not getting started with my most important job.
I have no choice but to get on with my job/task/thing I need to do the most.
I drove into town today and had to use a car park. Fortunately, I had change to pay as I usually use the parking app.
I got all my work done by 4pm and going to have a little rest before I go through some admin. My first thought was I’ll have a little laydown, grab my phone and see what’s going on. Weird how when I am tired my instinct is to fill my brain with crap. Instead, I am going to read a book.
Friday 25th September 2020
It’s too much bother to set up Spotify on my laptop so exercised without my earphones and music today. I really enjoyed it. I thought I would struggle with motivation but I got lost in my workout and I felt so in the zone!
I’m still getting the urge to grab something to fill my attention when I am ‘relaxing.’ I had a bath today and usually I’d listen to classical music and maybe scroll through social media or read an article on the internet. I wasn’t able to do either of those so just laid in the bath. Imagine that?!
My head, sleep, productivity, energy levels and mood have already improved drastically! Each day crossing off my calendar is one day closer to getting my phone and to some extent I’m dreading it.
(I’m starting a 7 day fast from 1630 this afternoon – I figured if I’m digitally detoxing, I might as well physically detox as well.)
Saturday 26th September 2020
I had a work presentation booked in today, the one online commitment for the next 2 months, and the only thing I couldn’t move since sending my phone away.
The organiser of the event asked if she could have my number for organising things and I said no. I didn’t want to be hooked up to that system again any time soon. I am enjoying myself so much. Even the thought of it mildly stressed my brain.
I have quite limited resources when it comes to brain power – I’m not good at multitasking and big comms systems – it makes me feel stressed and anxious. I am better at working in my own creative bubble. It took many years for me to learn that so I tend to stick to what I am good at.
During an 11km walk with a friend, it was so lovely to be present and not refer to our phones for “let me show you a picture” “look at this article” – we just walked and talked for almost 3 hours and looked at the nature and our surroundings. It was simply beautiful and refreshing. I feel so human.
I am sure my friend noticed an improvement in my disposition and wellbeing too.
Sunday 27th September 2020
One week without having my phone and it really feels bliss. My friends and family are getting used to calling me on the landline – it occurred to me, it’s not just me in this experiment, it’s the people who are close to me too – they can’t text for arrangements or chats. It doesn’t seem to bother them though. I wonder if, to some extent, they actually enjoy it?
Today is the first day I feel like the instinct to grab my phone has gone. This morning I woke up early, laid in bed and read my book for an hour.
The whole day ahead is about chilling, relaxing and recharging ready for a creative and productive week next week.
Even though it’s Sunday I had lots of motivation to do jobs (cleaned the whole kitchen) and even did some work. My head feels so free, with nowhere to be and no one to reply to, it really feels bliss.
I am starting to think of a plan for when my phone returns and what I can do to keep this feeling. I know I can do it, it might just take a little discipline.
I had two calls on the landline that weren’t planned (Rachel and Duncan). It’s so nice to answer the phone and not know who it is. It feels so pure. Both calls were checking in and it felt so wholesome.
Monday 28th September 2020
I wonder if my phone has arrived in Australia yet?
At this stage I’m not even fussed – I am so surprised I’m saying that.
Chill level is maximum right now.
I’m sat at my desk by 8am and got most of my important tasks done by 9am – most people have only just arrived at their desk but that time. I spend the rest of the day creating with no noise and distractions.
I have published 5 blogs in the last few days, and am working on 3 videos. Usually, that workload would overwhelm me but I have got my act together.
I am finding my way around not having a phone – such as music, maps, health apps etc – I either use them on my laptop or don’t use them at all. It’s so refreshing and liberating to realise I don’t need all those apps (breathwork, fitness interval timer, etc).
Tuesday 29th September 2020
It’s only been one week and I genuinely do not think about my phone or social media at all! I am surprised that happened so quickly!
Although I have high self-confidence and self-esteem there were times where I wondered what people thought of me when I posted on social media – what a silly thought. I think it’s a natural one.
My mum and I are spending so much quality time together. We sit and chat, I make her lunch every day, we sing and dance in the kitchen – it’s just like it should be.
Wednesday 30th September
How can it be that I am not missing my phone?
It occurred to me that usually when I’m driving or taking a walk I make phone calls but I can’t do that right now, and I’m forced to be with my own mind.
When I think about it, it’s kind of not-cool to always be squeezing calls in, multitasking, doing whatever I am doing and speaking to my friends/family/business associates.
Speaking on the landline forces me to sit in one place and be 100% focused on the call. If I do not have time for the call I don’t answer the phone.
I really want (need) to find a balance to digital when I get my phone back because the last 10 days have been very special! I feel so human and so connected to myself.
I would really love for other people to experience this.
Sunday 4th October 2020
I made a killer roast dinner today that definitely would have gone on Instagram stories if I had a phone. I’m pleased I didn’t have it as my mum and I enjoyed every mouthful and each other’s company.
Tuesday 6th October 2020
It’s hard to believe I have gone 2 weeks without and phone and I am surviving. I’m still seeing friends and able to work. There is no FOMO at all!
The lady who is accepting my phone in Australia said she would message me when my phone arrives. Delivery was meant to be 5-7 days but I haven’t heard anything yet….. but I’m not fussed. I almost don’t want to get the message (to my mum’s phone) as it means my phone is on its way back. I need/want to come up with a plan for when I get it back so I can keep this sense of calm and relaxation.
I’m halfway through my 30 days, although the challenge might be up to 60 days, and I am not ready for it to be over.
Friday 9th October 2020
My phone doesn’t even enter my thoughts. Not having it isn’t a problem.
Sunday 18th October 2020
I cannot believe I have gone for 4 weeks without my phone! Some friends say they couldn’t do it but it really hasn’t been that difficult. Mind you, I was ready to do the ‘challenge.’ Social media and constant comms was driving me a little mad, and with doing social media for my job, I felt as though I could never get away from it.
For the last few days, I have felt quite disconnected from the world. I can’t see what my friends are up to (on social media), I am not in contact with my dad as much as we usually WhatsApp and I have a fear that my friends are getting annoyed with calling my house phone.
There are some companies I would like to get in contact with about brand deals but cannot send emails.
I feel as though the last 4 weeks have been an awesome opportunity to totally reset. Without all that time away I wouldn’t have be able to achieve this sense of calm, stillness and satisfaction. But I can feel myself feeling ready to get my phone back…. kind of…..
Monday 19th October 2020
The feeling I had last week of (slightly) wanting to get back to emails and communications has gone. It was like a hunger pang… it was there and then it went.
I’m back to how I was feeling before.
I wonder if I can make this into a thing with my life? A sustainable thing???
Thursday 22nd October 2020
I think a lot about how I will be when I get my phone back.
Can I keep it in a chest of drawers and only use it when I need to?
I’d like that.
Can I keep the email app off my phone and laptop and only login when I need to?
Will I miss important communications? Potentially miss out on opportunities?
Will my friends, family and work associates think I am being anti social and not agree with the method I chose?
The only way I will know is by trying it?
I’m not ready to get my phone back yet and I am getting a lot done. I constantly have a clear mind and feel so present with what my day should look like and getting stuff done. I‘m not experiencing mood swings and not wishing for more. I am so happy with that I have.
I enjoy seeing my friends twice a week and being really present.
I enjoy using the landline as the conversations are the only thing I do when I have them.
I hope the person on the other end of the phone feels the same.
I like what I have done and I feel proud of myself for doing it.
I wonder when my (£1,200, £80 per month contract!) phone will come back……..
Friday 6th November 2020
Day ?? – I’ve lost count… 40-something, maybe 50-something days
On this day my phone is meant to be back
ARGH! I don’t want it back.
I’m thinking if it comes back I will probably leave it own the box for a few more weeks.
I don’t need it (yet). I am coping without it and feel good.
I don’t want to go back to how I to be, but think the temptation and the way smart phones and apps are programmes with make it really hard. It’s more than willpower not to use it as much – there’s science, engineering, brain chemicals and hormones that make it almost impossible not to use it!
Day 48Saturday 7th November 2020
The Perfect Day
Day 48Saturday 7th November 2020
The Perfect Day
What I have done today:
- Woke naturally at 6:30am after 9 hours of sleep
- Read one chapter of my book in bed
- 7km run
- 20 minute post run yoga
- Massaged my mum’s achy shoulder
- Read another chapter of my book in the bath
- Cleaned the bathroom (much to my resistance)
- Mini pedicure with (self) foot massage
- 5 minutes Theragun
All that before 11am
- Brunch (scrambled eggs, tomatoes, buttery mushrooms, kale crisps)
- Listened to music with mum
- Wrote my No Phone Journal
- A couple of hours writing a Social Media Workshop for Ocean Rowers
- Ate soup and drank red wine
- Watched a film
- Made healthy banoffee pie
- Made cauliflower pizza
- Enjoyed Saturday night TV
- Consumed the above
- Bed at 9:30pm
Day 50 – 7 weeks without my phone!
Monday 9th November 2020
I cannot believe I have gone so long without it. But not only that, enjoyed it and managed to be ok!
The amazing thing is, I am still talking with my friends (without time-consuming group messages), still relaxing and educating myself with books (without podcasts, music, videos and endless scrolling), staying fit (without fitness inspiration/motivation on social media) and I even got a new client (without emails!)
With regards to the new client, my work was recommended to a company by a friend. He explained to them I was on a digital detox and gave the Director of the company my mum’s landline number. We had a call and they are keen for me to work with them!
That was a massive step to know that I do not need to be constantly connected in order to keep progressing with work.
My phone is due to be back soon and I now know what I am going to do when it arrives.
Short-term, I am going to leave it in the box until I feel ready to go back to it.
Long-term, I am going to leave my phone in a drawer, or out of sight most of the day. I will only use it when I need to and before reaching for it, think about whether I am adding value to my day or just wasting time.
I will not have social media apps on my phone. I am unlikely to go back to social media like I did. I think it’s like any addiction (although I would have classified myself as an addict) – if the addictive item is in sight or somewhere nearby, it makes it extremely difficult to resist using it. So, therefore, do not have it available at any time.
I just hope I can maintain a healthy relationship and use my phone as a tool, rather than use it all the time!
Saturday 14th November 2020
Can I survive with a standard phone? A brick phone?
I do like having my navigation app so I can get places.
ARGH! It’s so hard to decide what to do……
Tuesday 17th November 2020
I received a postcard from Australia from ….. my iPhone!!!! LOL!!!!!!!
Apparently, it’s having a great time in the Adelaide sunshine and isn’t missing the pressures of social media. HILARIOUS!!!!
Sunday 22nd November 2020
I am ready to get my phone back now. I miss texting and speaking to my friends.
However, I do not miss scrolling through social media, wasting time, being at the mercy of communications 24/7.
I wonder if it’s coming back soon, it’s been 63 days! I go away with work in one week and it would be handy to have! It’s not critical but it would be nice.
It’s crazy how 30 days turned into 63 days. I did wonder if I would ever want it back. At one point I thought I could/wanted to go forever without it. But I do want it back but without being attached to it all the time.
And now I wait until it is delivered….. if that ever happens? I told the lady in Australia not to tell me when she was sending it back. Plus with COVID in the world, that might have affected couriers and flights. Who knows? I quite like not knowing…..
Wednesday 25th November 2020
MY PHONE ARRIVED BACK!!!
I’m happy and scared and nervous in one!
I haven’t got time to open the box yet as it’s a busy day of work. I feel as though I need to prepare myself!
Day 68 – my phone was gone for 9.5 weeks
Friday 27th November 2020
I’M OPENING THE BOX!
– 6 messages
– 419 whatsapp
– 4 phone
– 467 emails
– 57 YouTube
– 20 Instagram
– 120 Facebook
– 7 Facebook Messenger
– 20 Twitter
– 32 LinkedIn
– 4 Strava
– 3 Insta360
– 1 Wim Hof
– 6 Podcasts
– 4 booking.com (???)
I expected it to be more actually.
Edit: it ended up being way more than that once everything caught up!
Sunday 3rd January 2021
I’m about to log into social media.
I couldn’t bring myself to do it earlier.
I think I’m terrified because it’s going to be overwhelming, and because I don’t want to slip back into my old habits and behaviour.
I’m going to totally change the way I use my phone from now on!
13th October 2021
It’s been over 12 months since doing this experiment and I am pleased (and proud) to say that I have not returned to using my phone the way I used to.
I deleted the social media and email app from my phone.
I also deleted the email app from my laptop, and have to manually find it (if that makes sense?). That prevents me from just procrastinating and pressing it throughout the day.
I no longer go on social media daily. I rarely go on it at all!
The only time I use it is when I want to post or find some information. I rarely check to see what my friends are doing as know that behaviour will just pull me in and I’d get lost in a rabbit hole. Instead, I just call or meet them and catch up.
I do not miss social media at all! Not one bit.
My phone stays downstairs in a drawer while I work.
I batch replying to my emails and text messages, rather than answering instantly.
Sometimes it will take me 2-5 days to reply to some.
I’ve continued to feel great, make excellent progress with work and continue making improvements in my personal life.
This experiment was so powerful and so life-changing!
It actually lead me to quit my job as a social media manager (extreme I know) because my values no longer felt aligned with my work.
I truly believe I was able to make a success of my YouTube channel (my new career) because of doing this experiment. It gave me so much extra time and headspace to focus on what I really wanted to do, and then actually do it!
I will remember this very special in my life forever.
Thank you Ailsa (the lady in Australia who I sent my phone to) for being a part of this 🙏🏼
The things I took from this experiment were:
- My sleep improved
- My anxiety disappeared
- My brain felt fixed
- Productivity went through the roof in terms of work, eating well, exercising, getting up early and creativity
- I had more energy
- I repaired my relationship with my mum, some friends, and myself
- I felt calmer and more content
- Day 39 from journalay 39: “I’m not experiencing mood swings and not wishing for more.”
As a result of those things I:
- Was able to listen more and show understanding
- More cooking
- Read more books
- Ate well
- Gave up sugar
- Trimmed down and lost some excess body fat
- My skin improved
- Shopping habits reduced
- Self care was high
- Clarity of thought improved
- Built a new work website
- Did challenges like 1,000 burpees and a fabulous 20 mile hike with my mate,
- I did a 7 day fast, something I never would have been able to do before because my head full and crazy and I wouldn’t have had the focus to do it
- One of my favourites was….. I started a new career
- Most of all, I learnt to be present