In recent years, our reliance on our mobile devices has skyrocketed as an increasingly large number of applications are developed. Little pieces of our lives are outsourced to our smartphones in the name of efficiency and enhanced communication. Despite all of this, here are 16 reasons reduced mobile dependance can benefit your life.
1. To be engaged in conversation
You are never really present when your mind is anticipating the vibration or ping of an expected text message. Good conversation is found when two people are invested in the moment, devoting their time and attention to the other.
2. To create more than you consume
Mobile phones are more often a product of consumption rather than creation. Granted, there are exceptions for those rare individuals who produce stunning mobile photography or well-crafted written stories. However, the vast majority of casual creators are using our phones for intake. If we’re consuming, we aren’t creating. At some point, you need to break away and put all of that knowledge to use.
3. To relieve the mental burden
Reducing clutter–physical, spiritual, mental or otherwise–relieves a huge burden on your mind. Every item you get rid of is an item your mind doesn’t have to keep up with.
4. To break your addiction
Have you ever noticed those people who pull out their phone, unlock it and tap through a few apps looking for notifications before locking it again? And then they do it all again a couple of minutes later. Though we might not recognize it, much of our society is addicted to their mobile phones. It’s no surprise–we turn to our devices for shopping, directions, communication and many other conveniences of life.
5. To find value in yourself
Texts, tweets, emails, likes…they have become a social currency putting a price on attention and worth. Breaking away from that will help you find value in yourself, not in your notifications.
6. To reduce distractions
Two hours of uninterrupted time is far more productive than three hours split up into six half-hour blocks throughout the day. Each time we have to re-begin our process, we have to find that flow all over again. This takes up valuable, creative time. Turning off the notifications cuts down on the amount of distractions and interruptions in our work period.
7. To free up more time
We spend approximately two hours on our mobile devices each day. If we cut that down to 30 minutes a day, we’re giving ourselves over 22 full days a year of time we could spend on projects. Of course, this obviously doesn’t apply if you’re a mobile phone technician or something.
8. To be aware
Awareness has a lot more to do with your mental state than simply lifting your eyes off your screen, but getting your head up is a start. Being “in the moment” is often achieved simply be taking notice of your surroundings and being acutely aware of your senses. Take out the earbuds, turn off the notifications, and be present.
9. To strengthen your mind
It is incredible how much of our life references our mobile devices. When we need to solve a math problem, we pull out the calculator app. When we need to get directions, we pull out the map app. When we need to be entertained we pull up Facebook or Twitter or the latest mobile game craze. Limiting your interactions with your phone strengthens your mind by forcing you to tackle daily problems yourself. Math, directions, entertainment… join the DIY generation.
10. To reduce petty communication and force deep face-to-face interaction
Nothing replaces in-person interactions–not text, a phone call, or even Skype. Removing the digital barrier to interactions cultivates greater opportunity for face-to-face communication with others.
11. To separate work life from home life
Stories are rampant of the spouse who gets a phone call or email concerning work after he or she has left the office. Perhaps it interrupts dinner with your wife or a relaxing evening with your husband. The lines have been blurred, in large part, by the accessibility of colleagues after-hours. Managers know that a phone call or an email notification will catch the employee’s attention. By limiting mobile usage, you mute the accessibility and enact a very real boundary between work and home life.
12. To reduce drama
I can’t tell you how often I have heard people complain or whine about the social media posts in their feed. But they don’t stop looking for more. Social media is a drama magnet, encouraging people to hash out controversial issues through a limited medium which often results in irritation, gossip or worse. Just stop going where the drama is.
13. To learn to love books again
Books hold a wonder that few, if any, mediums possess–the stories draw you in for a long-form journey that our short attention span culture does not seem to fully appreciate any more. Moving away from the screen gives you more incentive to re-discover the magic of a good book.
14. To strengthen your eyes
Though the facts are widespread, it is evident that long amounts of time in front of a screen can weaken your eyes. Be sure to catch some off-screen time when you can!
15. To lengthen your attention span
News alerts, 140-character tweets, 500-word blog posts and text messages have all contributed to the shortened attention span. We want soundbites now, which causes us to miss out on some of the long-form content. I recently read Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis, and though I had to train myself to enjoy a story that took 90% of the book to set up, the ending was well worth the investment.
16. To force you to think/plan ahead
What if you didn’t have a way to call if you broke down? What if you didn’t know how to reroute if you got lost? What if you weren’t able to Google something on the spot? I believe the ease and availability of the internet and smartphones has given way to a culture that doesn’t plan ahead anymore. Problems are often dealt with as they come up when, perhaps with a little forward-thinking, they could have been avoided in the first place.