I live in tech-obsessed San Francisco and have dedicated much of my career to digital work, but despite a minor Instagram habit, I’ve always considered myself FAR less addicted to my iPhone than all of my friends. So much in fact that I proudly proclaimed my ability to go hours on end without my device at a recent girls’ night out. Needless to say, I was shocked when my friend Lauren laughed so hard that she almost spit her wine out. “You couldn’t go a single day without your iPhone,” she said, before I accepted her challenge on the spot. Since my work is online, we agreed that I could use my computer — but the iPhone must stay off, ALL DAY long.
The wake-up call
7:00am: Time to rise and shine! I wake up to the alarm on my iPhone and roll over to switch it off, which will be my last interaction with my device for the day. I just got back from Italy, where I barely used my phone because of the lack of service, so I’m convinced this will be a total cinch.
7:10am: My immediate next thought is to call Gab, my boyfriend who currently lives in Rome. We chat every morning when I wake up because of the crazy time difference, but Viber is suddenly no longer available to me. Instead, I whip out my Macbook and open Facetime audio — and like magic, there’s his cheerful voice on the other end. I balance my computer on my knees and talk over the speaker while lounging in bed. Not too bad. In fact, I kind of like it.
7:45am: Gab and I hang up from our call, and I start to get ready for the day. I’m teacher training at The Bar Method, so I like to start my mornings with some jams to pump me up. Normally, I open Spotify on my phone and crank my workout playlist as I wash my face, brush my teeth, fix my hair and get dressed. Today? I have to go without it. I could use my Macbook again, but decide to give the quiet thing a try.
8:30am: I make my way into the kitchen for breakfast. I realize I have some eggs and bananas and think combining them into a quick, two-ingredient pancake will be the perfect fuel for powering through the day. It’s been awhile and I can’t remember the egg to banana ratio, so I reach for my phone. Nope — no Googling or checking my Pinterest pins today! I head back to my Macbook and begin to realize that I’m going to be pretty lost as soon as I leave the house and my computer.
9:10am: I head over to the studio for my Bar Method teacher training, missing my Spotify playlists again the entire walk there. I guess I never realized that my iPhone had also become my modern day Discman! Once I start my training, I forget about my phone entirely. However, when I finish, my first thought is to pull it out and check my inbox, texts and notifications. I begin to feel tiny twinges of anxiety knowing that I have to wait until I get home to pull out my computer to get a pulse on what’s happening. And I didn’t think I was addicted!
1:15pm: I get home and go through my usual routine on the computer. I respond to a few client questions via email, throw a couple of emoji and LOLs into an ongoing group chat with my friends on iMessage and send Gabriele a note on Facebook, since Whatsapp is a no-no for me today. I feel satisfied as I eat lunch before heading off to check out a co-working space in Chinatown.
2:00pm: One of the best things about living in San Francisco is that it’s pretty easy to walk everywhere, so I decide to trek the two miles each way from my neighborhood to 1920C. I checked out the Google directions while I ate lunch at home, so I feel pretty confident that I know where I’m going. I miss Spotify again while enroute, but I find the walk to be super enjoyable. The sun is shining, there’s nothing stuffed in my ears and I feel really relaxed and present.
2:45pm: I make it to Chinatown and head over to where I think the co-working space is. Turns out, the numbers are pretty funky on the street, and I spend a good 10 minutes pacing back and forth on each side while looking for the space. Since I hadn’t thought to look for a photo of the exterior (isn’t that what iPhones are for?!), I’m forced to ask no less than five vendors for help. Finally, I find the space and head on up.
Once I get inside, I notice that it’s absolutely gorgeous, with an insane view. I excitedly reach for my phone to snap a quick pic for fellow freelancing friends before feeling a sense of deflation come over me when I realize that I can’t. I sigh as I note that my iPhone is my camera too — and wow, do I miss it.
4:00pm: Walking home, I think to call my Dad, who lives on the east coast. He’s one of the few people who will chat to me for miles and miles, which makes my walks a great opportunity for us to catch up. Today, I miss out on that time. I note that I also missed sending a quick goodnight to Gabriele, since I didn’t make it home to my computer as I thought I would before he went to bed. I’m feeling pretty bummed and thinking about my inbox again, but I force myself to take the long way because the weather is beautiful. I realize that I might be in trouble if it wasn’t though — there’s no hopping into a Lyft or Uber on the fly without a phone!
5:00pm: I get home and hop back online. I’m overwhelmed with the number of email responses I’ve received in a few short hours. I never realized how active I actually am from mobile! When I sit down to answer them all, it takes me well over an hour. There’s a lot to be said for five-minute bursts of productivity throughout the day — they apparently add up. I work for a couple of hours without distraction, which is actually pretty amazing.
7:00pm: Since I only went to teacher training this morning, I head back to the Bar Method studio to take a class. I don’t even think about grabbing my headphones or what I’ll listen to on the way there. I’m slowly getting the hang of life without a phone and spend the short walk thinking about what I want to work on in class instead.
8:05pm: After class, I stop to pick up a few things for the apartment at Walgreens. I think to text my roommate to see if she needs anything before remembering that I can’t. Ahh, SO frustrating. I get what I need and walk the few short blocks home in quiet.
8:30pm: I walk in, chat with my roommate and head back to my computer. There isn’t much in my inbox now since my east coast clients have already signed off for the night, so I make a cup of tea and sit down to read for an hour. After, I open up my Macbook one last time to check my email before bed and spend a few minutes catching up with friends on Facebook Messenger and iMessage. I admit that it feels pretty darn good to be back in touch — I really missed their wit, puns and sarcasm during my disconnected day!
11:00pm: I get ready for bed, hop in and pick up my iPhone for the first time since waking up. I have to admit that I feel a wave of relief wash over me as I set my alarm for the next morning. While disconnecting to be more present is super important, having music, maps, a camera and my friends and fam at the push of a button DOES make my days easier and a lot less lonely. I decide that the best thing to do is keep a healthier balance of both moving forward and resolving to appreciate the stuff happening online and IRL everyday.
Have you spent time without your phone lately? What did you miss the most? Tell us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)