I Turned My Phone Off for a Day

And My Brain Took a Screenshot

Nathan Blair


Lately I’ve spent 4-5 hours on my phone every day, and 8+ hours a day on my laptop during the week. I’m pretty helplessly addicted to it and sometimes I notice it cutting into face-to-face time with friends. I’d like to start using it less, so when my phone died two days ago, I decided to let it stay that way. I went a little over 24 hours without it.

LA from a Griffith Park bike ride a few days ago

There were a few challenges – coordinating pick-up/drop-off locations, navigating without maps, setting up social plans – but at the end of the day it was pretty easy. I checked my texts on my computer once in the morning and once at night. Peytie helped contact our friends during the day. I listened to the radio in the car for the first time in a while. And, instead of scrolling social media in my downtime, I was able to sit and think, or play sudoku, or go move around.

At one point in college my phone broke and I went for a week without it, during which I was more productive and more energetic. I also had some valuable time to sit with my thoughts and process my emotions. Staying in touch without a phone is admittedly a bit easier on a college campus where everyone is walking distance, but I think the benefits still outweight the costs. Perhaps I’ll keep letting it die in the future.