.At the beginning of the month, while recapping April and making goals for May, I mentioned that I wanted to find a way to effectively limit my time on my phone and social media. I was talking with one of my closest friends, who happens to be an IG blogger, and she was describing the same type of feeling that too much social media brings on. Unaware, I was spending hours at night wandering Instagram or Facebook harshly comparing myself to other bloggers, brands, you name it. Competition and comparison are pretty much inevitable in this industry (in any industry, really) and for many it can be done in a healthy way. However, when it begins to affect your creative streak or puts you in a negative mindset from something that is supposed to bring you happiness, that's when it becomes a problem that needs to be addressed.
A little while ago, I read an article from Geneva with a pair & a spare about her 30-day nightly phone ban challenge and I decided it was worth a try. When I thought about the times that I abuse my phone the most, I decided that it is either at night before I fall asleep or in the morning when I first wake up - both equally as unhealthy. I've read countless studies about the effects of using your smartphone at night or in the morning and how badly it affects your sleep and relaxation. However, sometimes even knowing these things doesn't help me reach for it less.
When I was younger, I used to fly through books every month, whether it was the traditional "To Kill a Mockingbird" or the equally as entertaining James Patterson series (I was obsessed). In high school, reading helped me cope with a lot of things going on around me and helped me refocus mentally. Because I tend to overthink situations a lot, reading has become a healthy way to turn that switch off for at least an hour or two.
As many of you know, I graduated with my business degree in late 2015. When I was nearing the end of my college career, I had somehow become convinced that once I walked across the stage, I would automatically have countless hours of free time to read books, go to the gym, travel more, and focus my energy on the blog. In some ways that has rung true throughout the past few months. On the other hand, I've also found that a big chunk of that time still gets sucked up, disappearing into thin air (or more work, or Viceland).
Since I read that article by Geneva, I began keeping myself accountable and on an easy-to-follow schedule (8pm to 8am). During those core hours, I began filling the time that I'm not sleeping with things that I actually enjoy doing and that add value to my life. One of these things is reading. Get this: in the first week that I did this phone ban challenge, I finished the book that I had been attempting to read for almost 6 months (it was only 20 pages in when I began). Immediately after, I started on another and am already halfway through it. I've been sitting up with either a cup of coffee or zen tea (depending on the time) and reading page by page with Oliver in my lap or Sam sleeping next to me. It really amazes me how much free time I have had to read (without giving up other important things) when I stopped wasting it on mindless social media.
What is it? 8pm to 8am phone ban
How do you do it? Set your phone on airplane mode or the "Do Not Disturb" function
How do you make the most it? Use that time to do things for you
Ideas? Read books, take a long bath, work out/walk outside, write in a journal
Because I am loving this new routine so much, I am in the process now of ordering a stack of new books to get through this Summer and I would love to know - what are you reading? What are your favorite books that you've read? What are you looking forward to reading this Summer? Would you participate in an online, monthly book club if I started one? And what are your thoughts on this phone ban challenge?
Let me know in the comments below!
xo Anna Elizabeth
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