Last month I decided to start keeping my phone in the kitchen while I’m in the house. I said I’d evaluate the decision after 6 weeks and decide whether to recommit. It’s been six weeks, and I think it was an excellent decision. I will absolutely continue doing this going forward.
I find I get more time in the mornings, because scrolling in bed or on the toilet isn’t really an option. Similarly in the evenings, scrolling in bed before going to sleep isn’t something I can do by accident. I do find I spend more time in the kitchen, in order to use my phone. So, I haven’t eliminated mindless scrolling altogether. My phone usage has decreased considerably overall though.
The oddest thing about it is that I don’t always have a way of knowing the itme when I wake up. I may want to put a non-phone clock in the bedroom to compensate for this.
Sometimes over the last six months I would find I accidentally would bring my phone with me to my desk. Usually this would happen after going out of the house for lunch (taking my phone with me). When I would return to the house, I would have my phone in my pocket, and I wouldn’t always remember to put it in the kitchen. Once the phone reached my desk, sometimes I would then inadvertently scroll! Whenever I notice that I’ve brought my phone somewhere in the house outside the kitchen, it’s clear the right thing for me to do under this silly system I’ve chosen for myself, is to bring it back to the kitchen.
It can be tempting to make only small violations to the rule, but I’ve realized it’s best not to fall for such temptations. There’s a bathroom just outside the kitchen, and I am tempted often to take the phone with me from the kitchen to the bathroom. I stop at the threshold to the kitchen, and do not cross if I’m holding my phone. Perhaps I stand in the threshold for a few minutes, finishing my phone usage before leaving. I put the phone down before exiting.
If I were to take the phone to the bathroom, I know what would happen. I would think, going in, that I will just use the phone for one particular purpose. However, as soon as I turn the screen on I would notice something that would put a different purpose into my mind. Maybe it’s a text message, or an app icon, or a notification. I think, switching tasks, that it’s a small diversion and I will momentarily return to the original purpose. However, moments later while completing the secondary task, my mental stack will erode, and the primary task will no longer be at the forefront of my brain. I’ll no longer be thinking about the one-and-done approach to phone usage, and now the potential for mindless scrolling has emerged.
So, the phone stays in the kitchen. I will keep this rule for myself, at least as long as I live here in this house.