It’s no secret that our smartphones are like kryptonite for our presence.
Heck, even having a phone in-sight—that’s not even yours!—leads to less presence.
And if you’re reading this article, I probably don’t need to remind you how presence is one of the most essential ingredients to living the most beautiful, fulfilling, and impactful life possible.
(Though I guess I just did that. 😄)
I used to be under the control of my smartphone. Can’t even tell you how much time I spent on it every day. Or how many times I’d check it unconsciously out of habit—just to see if some new notification had come in.
These days, the picture looks a lot different.
I’m still addicted to my devices in a way (I think we all are…) But they don’t rule over me as they once did.
There’s a lot that’s contributed to these changes. Far too much for one article.
So today, I wanna share one practical tool you can use to spend less time lost in the inky-black depths of the screen of your smartphone.
And as a result, free up more space for the things you value. Whether you want to get in shape, start a business, do more active learning, or fight for justice in society…we need you spending your days with intention.
I call this tool No-Phone Zones.
You see, back in my days as a smartphone junkie, I noticed that my usage didn’t happen equally throughout the day. There were these pockets of time where it’s like I got sucked into a vortex of distraction.
I was going about my merry way, and then all-of-a-sudden, I found myself knee-deep in the distraction quicksand of my phone.
But not every place in my life was filled with quicksand. For me, it was all about moments of transition:
- Waking up in the morning when my alarm went off.
- When arrived home, or at some destination, and put my car in park.
- When I walked into my house after a long day of work, and flopped down on my bed.
These were the patches of quicksand in my day. And if I took that first step with diving into my phone while in one of those places, I was toast.
I could lose 15/20/60 minutes in the blink of an eye.
Poof! Gone just like that. 😮
And usually with nothing beneficial to show for it. Even though it felt like a “break” in the moment, it wasn’t actually rejuvenating or restorative.
By now, you might be able to guess where this is going.
I decided to make each of those patches of quicksand into a “No-Phone Zone.”
Which meant I was no longer allowed to use my phone:
- While sitting in the driver’s seat of my car. (While parked or in-motion.)
- First-thing after I finished eating a meal.
- While lying down on my bed.
- While waiting in line. (Or for someone to arrive.)
- When in conversation with others.
And what I found is that it’s actually pretty easy not to sink into the quicksand if you never step into it in the first place.
No-Phone Zones are about:
- Identifying where and when your phone is most distraction/detrimental/destructive in your life.
- Creating “bright lines” for yourself to indicate that you’re no longer going to use your phone in those situations. (Pro-tip: Write them down, and share them with a friend/partner.) (You can email me yours if you feel so inspired.)
And after that, the game is simple. Don’t step on the quicksand.
But… this isn’t about perfection. And you’re human, so sometimes you might still step in it. (I still do!) In these situations, the game is to say “How quickly can I notice that I’m in distraction, and return myself to presence?”
Then, celebrate that practice of returning to your center, instead of beating yourself up about being distracted in the first place.
They do a mind + body + soul good. 🙂
What are yours?
Here’s to keeping our feet quicksand-free, and increasing the presence we bring to the things we care about most in life.
Big hugs + high-fives,