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I Kept My Phone Away For The Weekend And Here’s What Happened

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. 4 min read

In this hyperconnected world where the idea of keeping our phones away is enough to trigger feelings of anxiety, I did the most daring thing recently and lived to tell the tale. Not only did I switch on DND Mode on my beloved phone, but also took it a step further and kept it far out of my reach, because I was in the mood for a challenge. I was all set to spend 2 days without my phone, and the nervous energy was almost contagious. Armed with determination and a dash of rebellion against the constant hum of notifications, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery, ready to be blissfully detached from the digital matrix.

It wasn’t all hunky dory though; the separation anxiety kicked in the moment I turned on the DND mode on my device. That goodbye felt strange and unreal, almost as if time had stopped and I was paying complete attention to the task that lay ahead of me, and the thought of saying goodbye consumed me. But oh what a weekend it turned out to be, with this intentional goodbye being the precursor of all the intentional moments that were to come. 

Day 1  – Locked My Phone Away

I locked my phone away and proceeded to settle down with a book. To distract myself from these overwhelming thoughts around farewell I decided to brew myself a cup of coffee. I took out the specialty roast that a friend had given me from Chile, and got out my apparatus for an elaborate ritual that would keep me engaged for 10-15 minutes. As I immersed myself into grinding the beans and brewing my cup, I lost track of time and those focused 15 minutes felt like a little reset in my already slow day. Had my mind been racing already? 

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I sat down with my book, but it took me less than 2 minutes to lose focus. I kept re-reading the sentences, and my mind kept going back to a task-list. “It’s a weekend, tasks can wait!” I told myself. A few focused seconds later I realised I had missed replying to an Instagram update. It took me a lot of willpower to stay seated, and bring back my focus to the book. It took me 10 minutes to read 2 pages, and I gave up the idea of slowing down. It was time to do the tasks! 

I stepped out to drop my laundry, and was greeted by a beautiful day. That sunlight was falling so perfectly through the trees, and the sky was so blue! “Wait, let me take a picture for the gram!” Ha, that’s when I realised I had left my phone back at home. What was I supposed to do now? How was I supposed to enjoy this view without sharing it? I continued walking, thinking about how Instagram had made me connect closer to my community, and it felt unfair that social media was given such a bad name. Wait, was this my excuse to get back to my phone, was I really displaying problematic behaviour now? I tried pushing these thoughts away, but there was always something or the other troubling me as I went ahead with my day. Laundry, groceries, workout, all of it felt like a distraction from my phone, and I started wondering- am I living my life on my phone? Overwhelmed with emotion, I took a short nap and woke up with another reset. 

The weather was beautiful, the temperature just the right balance of cold and warm. A parrot was on the tree by the window, and it felt good to observe it without any agenda to click a photo or get the best video. I felt…relaxed. 

Liberated from the shackles of notifications, I found solace in the simplicity of the present moment. I walked over to a friend’s house for coffee in the evening, and became acutely aware of the people around me. Conversations flowed effortlessly, laughter echoed in the air, and eye contact became the social currency. There was no rush to snap moments or get videos for that aesthetic reel. It was like rediscovering the joy of genuine connections, and it felt nostalgic. I ended the day feeling quite at ease, even though I had spent a large amount of time doing menial tasks, meeting friends, and taking care of the house. My day hadn’t changed, but the absence of the phone made me feel present, and something about slowing down and doing everything with intention helped me settle into bed with a smile on my face. I slept for 7 hours straight that night. 

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Day 2  – Impromptu Outdoor Adventure

The next day morphed into an impromptu outdoor adventure—a slow morning followed by breakfast picnic in the neighbourhood park. Without the usual scroll through newsfeeds and notifications, my morning coffee felt more intimate. I felt recharged seeing my neighbourhood from my balcony, and I made an impromptu plan for breakfast. 

The afternoon was spent walking back home, this time taking roads that I would often ignore in order to reach home as quickly as possible. Why was I always in such a hurry? I ditched Google Maps, and wandered around unfamiliar streets. I met the cats in the neighbourhood, saw some beautiful bungalows with even prettier gardens, I marvelled at the bougainvillaeas against the bright blue sky and thought to myself, ‘The world outside my phone was beautiful, creative and oh so inspiring, why was I just discovering it?’

I cooked myself a light meal for dinner, called a friend over, and enjoyed a hearty meal with no screens around us. Without the intrusion of constant phone-checking, the connections felt more authentic, the conversations more wholesome. 

As I got into bed that night I realised that being phone-free wasn’t that bad after the first few hours. In fact, the peace it brought along was far more enjoyable than the state of constant urgency that I was living under. The absence of a simple device had made me look around, observe more, feel inspired, give my mind a break, and understand what it meant to be mindful with my time and energy. 

This experiment wasn’t just a break from my phone; it was a break from the noise, the curated perfection, and the constant need for validation.  In the age of constant connectivity, this weekend proved to be a refreshing detour. This little challenge that I have myself made me realise that magic exists, and it happens in those moments when we slow down, focus and learn how to live an unscripted life.

Note- I have incorporated this into my lifestyle only recently and am very pleased to report that I love starting my days slow even on weekdays, and weekends are for living unplugged!

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