How to Stay Away From Your Cell Phone
Do you feel tethered to your cell phone? Is there a particular time when you hate your habit more than normal? At the dinner table? During the weekends? At night in bed with your spouse? Driving? Do you have the urge to check your phone just reading about the urge to check your phone?
Here’s a game to try next time you want to stay away from your phone without turning it off or leaving it at home.
This might sound stupid and corny, but try it.
- When you feel the urge to grab your phone, mentally count down 5-4-3-2-1… one number per exhale.
- When you get to the number 1, tap your index finger twice on whatever is nearby (a fork, your leg, the bed, the steering wheel).
- After tapping, start counting down again, 5-4-3-2-1.
- When you notice you’ve lost count or feel another urge to grab your phone, smile and start at 5 again
Here’s the most important part: Don’t be upset when you lose count, instead be grateful. Grateful that you noticed. Grateful to have a chance to start again at 5. This is a mini rebirth, a chance to be born again. It is the most fun part–the realization that you are alive. That you are here and now.
Smile in the gratitude of being. This little game is a gift. It lets you watch yourself and be present. It gives you instant freedom from your everyday habits. It gives you the space to see the instinctual urge to grab your phone. It allows you to smile at the urge and watch it pass. It gives you the gift of presence.
Try it. Don’t tell people what you are doing. Don’t brag about playing the game; doing so is almost a surefire way to lose count. Your spouse may notice you different that day. Your kids might play with you more. The colors of things may appear more vivid. You might hear the background music that you never noticed before.
Then tomorrow, when you realize you’ve forgotten to count for a while, just smile. Welcome back. 5-4-3-2-1
About the Author
Lucas Carlson is a hands-on consultant, author and entrepreneur. He helps founders discover opportunities for growth, both for their companies and for themselves. He was the CEO and founder of AppFog, a popular startup acquired in 2013 after signing up over 100,000 developers and raising nearly $10M in venture funding from top angels and VCs.