Friday 14 September 2018

Scroll free September - how is it going?

We are nearly halfway through September, and so I thought I'd post a little update as to how I'm getting on with Scroll Free September! For my version of the challenge, I am committing to no phone use in the bedroom either in the morning or at night, and no scrolling after 3pm.

It took me a couple of days to get fully in the swing, mainly because I came back from a wi-fi free holiday and I had lots to catch up on. I was also finding it difficult to make a distinction between quickly checking for messages or updates and mindless scrolling. It felt that any form of looking at my phone was cheating, but I did need to keep up to date with notifications.

I decided that I was happy to open a social media app if it really was just a quick check for notifications. But in reality I've been finding that these catch ups have been happening less and less often as the days have passed and I realise that I'm not actually missing anything. Apart from an occasional and brief check for messages I've mainly been leaving my phone to one side once I've picked the children up from school.

To help me prepare for the challenge I wrote about identifying my trigger points for scrolling. This was a real help, and I've been bearing them all in mind as I go through the day. I've noticed a big difference to my mornings - I'm getting straight out of bed when I wake up, and the morning routine is much quicker when I'm not distracted by my phone every few minutes. Not using my phone in the evening just before bed has meant that I've been reading instead, which leaves me feeling more relaxed at bed time and more likely to turn the light off at a reasonable hour.

Talking of reading, the first week I took the children to the library after school and took out six books which were a mix of easy fiction, in depth fiction and non fiction. To my surprise I'd easily finished them all well within a week!

I've also noticed a difference to my evenings. They seem much longer now once the children are in bed and I've got in the habit of putting my phone upstairs in the bedroom. Before I do this I close down all my apps and delete my search history, which seems to help draw a mental line under it for the day. The other night I found myself sitting on the sofa and leafing through our wedding photo album which was lovely. I've also been doing some logic puzzles, working on my cross stitch, and I've just got out a jigsaw to start.

My biggest challenge still is during the day when I'm trying to work and social media is too tempting. It's not my phone but the desktop PC where I work, it's just too easy to open another window. I'm not sure the best way to combat that yet apart from disabling particular websites, the trouble is that I still need to use social media websites for my work!

I still feel the very strong urge to check my phone throughout the day, and it's worse when the phone is in my sight. Interestingly if it's in another room the urge is less, and fortunately I have noticed it decreasing as the month progresses. It's very scary how addictive it can be to want to reach for my phone, and how quickly time disappears once I am sucked in. Taking part in Scroll Free September has definitely made me think a great deal about my phone usage, and when the month finishes I'm not planning on going back to my old ways!

Scroll Free September progress update

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