Day 1 of #BoredAndBrilliant: Tips for Keeping Your Phone in Your Pocket

jh_boredbrilliant_AA_colormind_Marquee2 It's day 1 of the Bored and Brilliant Challenge! Read my initial reflections on the project, or check out the website and the New Tech City podcast, which sponsors the project.

Here's today's challenge:

Your instructions: As you move from place to place, keep your phone in your pocket, out of your direct line of sight. Better yet, keep it in your bag.

While you're boarding the train, walking down the sidewalk, or sitting in the passenger seat of a car, we're asking you to look at your phone only when you have reached your destination.

I had a recent Facebook discussion about whether people use their phones while at stoplights. Given the number of folks who copped to it (raising hand), today's challenge is badly needed.

The webpage describing today's challenge offers some suggestions for curbing those cravings for your phone while you're in transit or between one activity and the next. Some good tips there, and they got me thinking about others. Here are a few I'd add. Some are silly, some are obvious, a couple invite a deeper reflection (I hope!).

  1. Wear old-fangled gloves: it's hard to find gloves that aren't texting gloves, but it's not impossible. Having to take off your gloves (or better yet, mittens) may short-circuit the phone reflex just enough so you won't bother. (Texans in summer need not apply.)
  2. Lotion up: Yes, I'm serious. Put some nice moisturizing lotion on your hands before getting in the car. Who wants to get that goop all over their phone? Plus your hands will look years younger.
  3. Find five: When you feel yourself in an idle moment and are tempted to pick up your phone, STOP, look up and around, and notice five things that you hadn't seen before.
  4. Put the phone in the back seat of the car: Even better than your bag or pocket! Yes you can.
  5. Turn OFF notifications, but turn ON the sound: The Bored and Brilliant site alludes to this---it suggests customizing your ring tones for the most important phone calls and texts and assigning everything else a generic ring. I changed my sounds awhile back but almost always have my phone on vibrate. Now I'm experimenting with having the sound on and only picking it up when it's one of my most important people.
  6. Clutter your house: This is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I wonder whether we pick up our phones because they're easy, and if there were other, better options available, we'd grab those instead? Knitting project at your elbow instead of stashed in the bag? Books and magazines strewn about instead of on the shelf? I'm not a big fan of clutter, but I do wonder whether my need to tidy means I pick up my phone more readily than other things.
  7. Use your lock screen to your advantage: The page quotes an author who has a message on his lock screen that says Breathe. He says people often hold their breath unconsciously while waiting for messages to load. How about an image that reminds you to be mindful about your phone? (The Bored and Brilliant logo above?) I've taken a screen capture of a quote I like and made it my lock screen so it's the first thing I see when I press that magic home button.

What do you think? What would you add? And Bored and Brilliant participants, how's it going? I've been home all day but will soon be leaving for a bit of kid carpooling. We'll see how it goes!

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