Putting My Phone Away

Newsletter #11

One of the nicest things about climbing is that my phone is in my bag and completely away from me the entire time. 

This week was different. I had my phone next to me for part of the climbing session because I was waiting for a message.

As you might expect, climbing with my phone nearby was distracting. I found it hard to resist the impulse to constantly check my messages. In between climbs, the temptation to mindlessly scroll through Instagram was really strong. I found that I had one figurative foot in the digital world at all times, which made it difficult to focus on climbing. 

The distracting properties of mobile phones are well documented, so I’m not going to go into that. What I find novel and worth sharing is the flip side.

It took climbing with my phone to realise just how much more immersed in climbing I typically am without it. Not only do I climb better, I also have more fun.

The contrast was stunning to me, and immediately made me realise just how powerful it was to be more present. It then occurred to me that I could take this a step further… 

Putting my phone away – turning chore into opportunity

Too often, we put pressure on ourselves to reduce screen time or curb our Instagram addictions. The constant guilt and discipline can take its toll. Personally, I find it particularly difficult to enforce phone discipline just before bed. Thinking logically about it, attempting to summon the discipline to put my phone away at a time when my capacity for making good decisions is at its lowest simply sets myself up for failure. 

So perhaps it’s time to change my approach.

I already know that I climb better and enjoy it more when I leave my phone behind. So where else can I have more fun and impact simply by ditching the device? 

By thinking about it this way, putting my phone away becomes an opportunity not a chore. A richer world awaits! 

Obviously, it’s still going to be hard to turn my phone off at night, but overall, I think less guilt and more fun is a healthier way to reduce screen time. 

I’ll let you know how this goes. And would be delighted to know if you also decide to adopt this approach!


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