I am about to embark on another digital declutter starting July 1.
Well, I spend too much time mindlessly scrolling social media on my phone and have this urge to check it every other minute. That to me is a sign that I need a breather and to reevaluate my relationship with technology. In preparation, I am using this week to do a quick re-read of Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport, as well as do some self-reflection.
The question I kept coming back to is why do I want to grab my phone? What am I feeling? What urges do I have and why do I have them?
What first comes to mind, is that it’s a habit. Muscle memory is a powerful thing. How many times have I reached for my phone and forgot why I grabbed it in the first place. The habit of reaching for it and scrolling, checking miscellaneous apps, only to find that I’ve gotten a few more junk emails, no texts or calls and a few likes on my latest Instagram post. Cool. Was it worth it? Not really. How much time did it take? Depends on how sucked in I got, but chances are that time would have been better spent doing anything else than looking at my phone.
Another thing that comes to mind, is fear. Fear of missing out. Fear of missing that one text or call. Fear of missing out on what is happening on social media while I am living life outside of my phone. FOMO is real. And for some reason, it plays into my urge to grab my phone throughout the day.
Lastly, and this one is tough to admit, my phone gives me validation. Validation that people care of me. Validation that if I get enough likes and comments on Instagram, I am doing it “right.” How silly does that sound when said out loud?
That is why I reach for my phone. And that is why I am doing a digital declutter this July, to break the habit, combat that fear, and stop seeking validation through social media.
I encourage you to reflect on why it is that you reach for your phone. What feelings come up and what urges do you have? I bet it will surprise you how deep it can get.