How to get the hell off your phone: 4 easy steps (+1 HARD one)

As you can see, my iPhone has a fetching case-- pink and floral, just as everything in life should be. Injury-proof too, which fits in with the above. (If only all things could bounce back so.)

Lately, I've been on the lookout for new blogs to read. Most of the ones I follow now seem completely shopping focused, and I'm really paring back on that as part of a larger effort to streamline my life. (You will correctly surmise that I have no sense of fashion, and basically have dressed and will dress the same way for years to come.) I came across a great post by a fellow M.D. Mama discussing the ill effects of maternal distraction on children. Terrifyingly, there are studies showing that a caregivers' screen time is associated with a decrease in toddler vocabulary.

To me, that is A DEATH KNELL. Words and I, reading and I, well, maybe even more than medicine: that is my lifelong love. And no amount of cellphone cuteness is going to disrupt that.

So I've been weaning myself from my phone, just like any habit-forming agent.

Here's how I did it: the easy stuff first.

Background: I don't like the concept of being immediately available to everyone all the time. I like compartmentalizing my availability and interest. Other people either can't do that (for any number of reasons), or they would hate it.

Also, I don't have active social media-- but I am an extreme planner nerd, and I love watching how other paper planners do things. So, I silently follow accounts on Instagram to get ideas for traveller's notebook setups... this merged into following other adorable things and people, watching stories, etc.

1) I drastically changed who/what I was following on social media
*1A: I unfollowed EVERYONE
*1B: I then allowed myself to re-follow only X# of accounts
*1C: I only re followed if I consciously remembered them and wanted new information
*1D: I won't follow anyone I actually know, because then it seems like spying

2) I moved the social media app itself
*2A: moved it to the last screen on my phone
*2B: in the least convenient/interesting bubble of apps
*2C: behind all the other apps (so I can't see it from the main app-bubble)

3) I turned off notifications for all apps
(stepwise below)
settings icon --> notifications --> clicked through every app and turned off EVERY notification (except messages and phone: see below)

4) I changed my messages and phone notifications: this way, if my phone ringer is toggled off, the phone is COMPLETELY silent, without vibrations to interrupt my attention. I choose specific times (if/when) to check in.

When I am on call: either for the hospital or for my baby (i.e.: I am away from him, so I need to be immediately available in case of emergency), I turn on my phone ringer. This way, I still get the regular sounds alerting me. I don't take home call for the hospital, and my immediate family members have identifying ringtones.

(stepwise below, from notifications screen)
messages (or phone) --> sounds --> vibration (scroll to top) --> none

5) VERY drastic, VERY effective: made my phone display in black and white only... I was shocked at how unappealing this made using my phone, and yet, when I want to read articles or kindle, I have the same experience. No, I have a better experience: I can't see the ads on the page, so I'm not distracted!

It will take a while to acclimate, but this is basically disulfiram for the iPhone. (Pictures and screenshots will still be in color.)

settings --> general --> accessibility --> display accommodations --> color filters --> color filters toggle on --> select grayscale

Slightly dry post, but this has been a doozy of a week. And sometimes, it is nice to just tidy things up without thinking too deeply about Life-- or is that just me?

Anyone else out there find that the fastest path to peace is... through small organization fixes?

P.S.: for all the moms-to-be... the words I wish I'd heard in the early days of motherhood

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