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My November Challenge: stop playing on my phone!

(Phone, phone, phone) yeah

(Phone, phone, phone)

Much happier at home, just playin' with my phone

(Phone, phone, phone) yeah

(Phone, phone, phone)

Yeah I'll just stay at home and fiddle with my phone on the toilet

-Adam Sandler, “Phone, Wallet, Keys”

As hilarious as this Adam Sandler song is, (*explicit content warning*) it is also disturbingly true. If I didn’t have a little child, I know that even more of my time would be exhausted wasted with “playing with my phone.”  I speak a lot about changing habits, about living a balanced life, about detaching ourselves from things in order to be more attentive to people and to sharing meaningful experiences with them.  I’ve worked on these things in my own life. Progress has been made. But new challenges continue to present themselves. I gain greater awareness and make progress, but some challenges continue to persist.  This whole “phone thing,” and my unhealthy attachment to it, seems to be stuck in maintenance mode. I’m doing enough to keep myself from being sucked into it in a very destructive way, but I’m not really making any progress.

So here’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to start something called #nophonevember. I invite anyone with even a remotely addictive relationship with your phone to join me in this challenge.  For the rest of the month of November, I will only use my phone for calls, messages, checking my calendar, and listening to podcasts and music. No social media via my phone. No email via my phone. No safari/internet browsing on my phone. And this will be my wife’s favorite: No MGoBlog … on my phone. :)

If I do any of these things, it needs to be done on our laptop or our iPad.  But, Tim, isn’t the iPad just a bigger phone? Yes and no. The way I see it, the biggest part for me is just breaking the instant gratification, spur of the moment, and time-wasting habits with my phone. Detaching from the phone is the key piece to all of this, for me at least. I can’t pull the iPad out of my pocket at any given moment throughout the day like I can with a phone. Some of my regular tasks might take a bit longer now--social media for instance--but it’s a risk I am willing to take … I think.




Every day of November


Restrict your phone usage for the entire month of November.  

You could eliminate accessing social media, YouTube, web-browser, or other apps through your phone. You could limit your time spent on an app (to monitor this in iPhone, go to Settings→ Battery). You could restrict your phone usage to a specific time period each day or you could put the phone away for a specific period of time during the day.  This can be as restrictive as you want to make it. It should be personalized for you. The point is to take control, to develop habits to make sure that you are free and not a slave to your phone--to accessing it at every given moment.

Mr. Min Fam’s #nophonevember challenge: my phone will be restricted to calls, texts, my calendar, and listening to podcasts/music. (One caveat: While on break at work, I can spend a few minutes to make a post on Instagram or Twitter. NOT for browsing!) Besides that, checking mail, social media, YouTube, etc. will only be done on my iPad or the laptop. While at home, I will leave my phone in the bedroom, especially in the evenings after work.

What Nophonevember challenges will you make? I will give an update or some encouragement each day on Twitter and Instagram. We would also love to hear from you! Comment here, email us, @ us, or use the hashtag #nophonevember so that we can be with you in this challenge to gain phone freedom!