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30-Day Digital Declutter: How did I get here?

I got my first cell phone during my junior year of high school. Up until then, cell phones were still pretty new. I had a friend with a cell phone as early as sophomore year and if I ever needed to make a call, I would use hers or a pay phone. I was so used to talking to my friends on our cordless landline with my brothers sneaking on the other line to listen in, that the privacy a cell phone gave me was something I did not take for granted. I had a small, silver Motorola flip phone with a limited number of text messages (ten per month, yes, only ten...) and minutes per month. If I went over, you bet my ass was grass when my parents saw the phone bill.

I got my first cell phone with a data plan when I was 22 years old. I had been working a full time job outside of college and finally made enough money to afford an iPhone. Up until then, I used my phone to text and make phone calls. That's it. The iPhone changed everything.

I suddenly had the internet in the palm of my hand. I used my phone for texts, calls, navigation, tracking my diet and exercise routine, scrolling Facebook, waking me up in the morning, managing my work calendar, seeing what restaurants were in the area, checking my email, and just about anything I could imagine. Fast forward ten years and I am still using my phone for all the above, in addition to using it to entertain my kids when I need a minute of peace.

While my phone has helped me in some ways, it has also hindered me in others. I find myself reaching for it constantly, yet not remembering why I reached for it in the first place. Scrolling social media mindlessly and not actually absorbing the content I am looking at. Comparing myself to other people's highlight reels on Facebook and feeling depressed and inadequate. Refreshing my personal email only to see loads of ads and junk mail, forcing me to wonder why I even refreshed in the first place. Googling every little thing under the sun that pops into my head at a given moment, whether it is important or not.

I'm exhausted just reflecting on my phone usage!

My goal with doing a 30-day digital declutter this December is to break the habit of constantly reaching for my phone and developing healthier habits with technology. I want to declutter my email inbox and my phone screen so that I am utilizing technology in a healthy way. I also want to be bored and see what happens. Often times when I am feeling bored, I reach for my phone, so I am looking forward to doing some self reflection and being mindful and present. I also want to set a good example for my children, who at the young ages of three and five, already know how to work an iPhone and want to emulate everything we do.

I am excited that you are following along on my journey. The next few weeks I will share with you all how I am getting ready for the declutter. I will be following the foundations and practices shared in Cal Newport's book, Digital Minimalism. This book is inspiring and will make you want to toss your phone out the window and never look back. The work officially begins on December 1st. See you there!

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