This week, in the Declutter to Empower Challenge, what if you declutter your cell phone so you can make more time and space for what you love?
About the assignment:
Do you ever feel like your phone is your very best friend and also your worst, most dreaded, enemy? This delightful little light source that we personalize with a pretty case and a lock screen picture we love, can give us good news and send us into a spin all within the space of a few seconds.
I don’t know about you, but I feel happy when I get a sweet text from a friend, and panicky when I get no response at all. When I feel low, sometimes I find myself clicking around on my phone between my instagram and my email hoping for something that will pick up my spirits. When nothing does, I have to dig really deep and check my weather app. But I live in Seattle, and often the forecast is for five days of rain in a row, so then I have to check my email again just to feel better.
With all this time spent clicking and checking and wondering, I can’t help but ask: what am I missing? Well, time with my kids for one. Time working on a fun project, for two. And, I’m miss seeing actual friends!
The crazy part is, I didn’t own a cell phone until I was 23 years old. I lived in Italy and travelled around Europe for 6 months without a phone at all! If I wanted to call home, I had to find a payphone and use a special international phone card I could only buy from a shop that also sold bus passes and tobacco products. Anyone with me? And yet, if I leave the house without it now, I worry that I should run back and get it. Because, what if something happens and I don’t have it?
Honestly, if I could figure out life without a cell phone until I was 23, I can probably figure it out now. Lately, it’s been very clear that if I want to make more time and space for what I love, I need to set some boundaries with the time I spend on my phone and also declutter my apps.
Start Your Declutter!
First, start with the apps:
Go through your phone and delete the apps that you never use. Bye bye! Don’t you already feel like you have more time? What if you got really crazy and deleted your email app and all your social media apps too? You could still view these, but in order to do so, you’d have to do a web search. Game changer. If you feel a kind of sickening feeling about doing this, just remind yourself that you likely lived for many years before Facebook existed.
Next, set boundaries:
Did you know that on most phones you can turn on a setting that allows you to silence calls and alerts from everyone except your most important people? What if you turn on this setting during times in the day when you want to focus on your work, or your family? You won’t miss an emergency, but you’ll skip the other distractions. I’m starting to put my phone in a drawer. That way, I’m not tempted to get it out and check it as often. At night, I turn on bedtime mode, which silences everything until my alarm goes off in the morning. I might even take it one step further and get an old fashioned alarm clock as well.
Plan a time to check it:
What if you plan two times a day to check email, and send and receive text messages. When I was a teacher, I told all of my students that I only checked my email between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Monday-Friday. If they wanted to reach me, they had to do it during that time or wait for that time the next day. People thought it would never work, but it did! It was doubly effective because people didn’t email me with silly things, and they didn’t email me at all on the weekend. They also thought before emailing, and they planned ahead, which meant very little emergency emails. I also didn’t feel like I was checking my email at all hours, because I wasn’t. I’m going to do something similar with my email and text messages.
Create a Cell Phone Sabbath:
Even if you aren’t religious, you could still take one day a week away from your phone. What would you do with all that amazing time on your hands? How resourceful could you be without using your phone for directions, and recipes, and looking up random questions on Google? I bet you’d like it a lot. I’m going to try it on Sunday. Are you with me?
Come to my workshop!
If you want to learn more ways to create time and space for what you love in a fun group setting, come to my home organizing workshop at The Riveter Fremont on March 11! Here’s a link with all the details and to buy tickets! It would be great to see you there!
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You can find me on Facebook and Instagram where I post organizing tips and photos of my sweet boys, as well as Pinterest where I’m pinning things for my #Futureboards and my upcoming trip to Nashville in March! My handle is @organizedbyheart
Here’s to a week with focus,