Digital Detox - Phone In The Tub

Feb 07, 2024

I dropped my phone into the tub the other night. It set me free. It probably wasn’t wise to have it perched on the inside corner of the tub in the first place, but I had just found another great YouTuber and thought the content would go well with my bath.

Many years ago, I purchased a new iPhone. It was sleek and slippery and didn’t fit into the case of my old phone. I wasn’t comfortable with how much I had just paid for this shiny new piece of technology, so I thought I’d pinch a few pennies by forgoing the Apple Care add-on charge. Since I didn’t have a bag with me, I slipped the phone into the back pocket of my jeans, left the store and drove straight to meet a friend for happy hour. Before we got settled at a table out on the balcony on that warm spring evening, I went inside to use the bathroom. There was a commotion going on in the ladies' room as I entered that distracted me. So when it was my turn, I quickly snuck into the next available stall, not paying attention, and suddenly….sploosh! Hundreds of dollars of technology from my back pocket into the toilet. I snatched it up as fast as I could, but the damage was done. I didn’t immediately go home to dry it out. No, I went back to our table, ordered drinks, got caught up on all the details of my friend’s life and then went home to put it in a bag of rice.

When I went back to the Apple store the next day, I happened to get the wrong associate who was trying to impress a new hire tagging along with him. He refused to help me out and I ended up buying another brand-new iPhone under duress because I was leading a webinar that was scheduled to start in two hours. Two iPhones in two days at that time = $1200. Ouch!

Needless to say, I’m pretty cautious now with my phone around water. This is why, when I dropped my iPhone into the tub the other night I took every precaution to save it. Yes, it’s water resistant, my tub isn’t more than 6 meters deep and it was underwater for less than three seconds so technically it was just fine. But I wasn’t taking any chances.

I turned it off immediately, dried it off, wrapped it in a paper towel with a silica gel packet and left it on the kitchen table overnight.

Meanwhile, I didn’t have my phone to check before bed. I was advised to leave it off for at least 24 hours, so it was turned off and downstairs in the kitchen when I woke up as well.

I got halfway into the day and it was still there. I was feeling liberated. Along with this feeling of freedom, I can admit to a little tightness in the belly, worried I may have been missing some important communication. It was unfounded because I still have Messenger and email. But I noticed the pull in my body. It showed me how tethered to my phone I am.

Our phones are so smart. We can use them anyway we want. They’re also, by design, highly addictive. I have a phone as a tool to serve me, not the other way around. It’s too easy to let phone use creep into corners of my life until that power role has shifted and I’m a bug-eyed cyborg. Shopping for camper vans in bed at 11 pm. Checking the weather, then email, then get lost in someone else’s to-do list before I get out of bed in the morning. Mindlessly drifting to my phone by default during the slightest pause in action.

I find much of my life is coming to terms with an ancient body/brain living in an unfathomably modern world. We just weren’t made to take in so much information, to have so much light input at all hours of the day, to be pulled in so many directions at once. The body and brain have elegantly built-in safety features to respond to the natural world. But we’re not living in a natural world. We’re living in a super high-tech, fast-paced, augmented reality.

The more I can let my body and brain experience the world as it’s intended – with the five senses, not 5K - the better I feel. I’m more creative and content. I sleep better. Life makes more sense. Leaving my phone on the kitchen table overnight (without having to drop it in the tub first) is one way I can do this.

This has inspired me to put together a 5-Day Digital Detox for our community. I’ve done them before and like with most habits, they need a regular refresh. This isn’t about not touching a phone for days, it’s simply about regaining conscious choice with technology use. The tub incident gave me that chance. Now I’m going to do it again on my terms. The Lunar New Year is here and it’s a great time to change, refresh or eliminate habits. That’s what a 5-Day Digital Detox is all about.

How you set your apps up on your phone, which apps you have and how you manage your settings can all influence your wellbeing. How you organize your inbox and when you check your email can be the difference between feeling like your work matters and simply being a cog in a machine. Choosing online content with more discernment can boost creativity and joy. Let’s do it together. We start February 12. Register for free here.

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