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Johannes Holmberg

UI developer & designer

I think it was around springtime last year when I felt it for the first time. That tingling in my hand, that wavering in my mind telling me something. All of a sudden I noticed. Why hadn't I noticed before?

When finally realizing, I couldn't help but to find it present everywhere. When out taking a walk, when I had lunch at a restaurant, in conversations, heck; even in the bathroom. It was so commonplace that I hadn't paid it any attention. Yet again my hand reached for my pocket, it was a reflex I had no control over, and it hauled up that black rectangular object.

I was a tool being used by my phone.

Today, many of us are so dependent on our phones that we stop trusting in ourselves. We need the phone to keep track of our every move. But searching for instant gratification in our pockets makes it easy to forget appreciating the actual beauty that's going on right in front of us.

With that said, there's no denial to the fact that it actually is a helpful little thing when used with mindfulness and purpose. I just think it's a little bit too easy to get a little bit too dependent, too addicted, too fast. Before knowing it, the phone is the user; you its tool.

The final thing I did before going to sleep at night was to check emails, collect the weather report and reading up on every new piece of information I could find.

The first thing I did when awakening in the morning was to check emails, collect the weather report and reading up on every new piece of information I could find. The resumption was complete. Before even getting out of bed I was stressed to the brim.

I was inundated by the rapidness with which the world seemed to move. It moved fast so I needed to move faster. At every available moment I grabbed for that screen, thirsty for information or distraction. That repetitive chain of events started to construct this addictiveness and deteriorated the unhealthy feeling to never be at ease.

My reality is right in front of me, the rest of the world will take care of itself, and if it has anything vital to share; it'll sure let me know when the time is right.

My newly awakened awareness led me to conduct a simple experiment:

To turn off the phone.

In the beginning it wasn't enough. The temptation was simply too great and I failed badly. Then I tried another thing:

I let the battery run out. That went better.

I found out I wasn't as dependent on the phone as much as I had thought. Psychologically, it was a victory. It reset something in myself.

I eventually disposed of it and spent the next 6 months phone less; using Skype and email as my only communication methods. I learned a lot during that time and today I'm having an old simple flip phone, only good for making phone calls.

I think it was the lack of personal awareness that scared me. I couldn't walk a hundred meters without checking on a map where I was. I couldn't walk into a restaurant without first checking its customers recommendations. I couldn't spend a single moment of plain waiting without some Angry Birds.

I thought my world would go under without those things. But what I discovered by experimenting was that most of those desires I had were just invented needs for me feeling comfortable.

With this said there is no need to abandon the things that are helpful and pleasing to you, by all means subsume the things that makes your life better. But remember it can be good to be aware of how one uses these tools, before they're using you.