Our phones save our lives most of the times, and let's be real here, we wouldn't get very far without them. Sure, they allow us to make instant contact with friends and family, but today’s smartphones also provide hours of entertainment and useful tools to help us reach our health, work, and personal goals. But just as there’s a time and place for every great thing, there are some situations where it’s just better to not be glued to your phone. This may seem harsh or tricky if you're truly addicted, but the benefits of going phoneless in these instances can be well worth it. Whether it’s to improve your happiness and wellbeing, in the interest of others, or a matter of safety, there are certain times that don’t need the use of a phone... and are actually ruined by it! Here are 15 moments where you need to put your phone away.
15 While Driving
This is the definitely the most important time not to use your phone, and hopefully, it's pretty obvious why! Putting your phone away when you drive sounds like a no-brainer in theory, but how many of us keep it facing upwards in the console? Even diverting your attention for five seconds to check a flashing screen can lead to major consequences for you and everybody else on the road. Safety risks aside, texting while driving is against the law in many places around the world, with some states in the U.S. imposing fines of up to $10,000 plus one year in prison for first-time offenders. Whether you’re embarking on a lengthy road trip, a cruise through the city, or merely heading around the corner to a friend’s house, you need to keep your phone tucked safely away in your bag.
14 Hanging With Friends
Have you ever spent ten minutes retelling the juiciest details of last night’s date to a friend, but their only answer is a mumbling of generic responses because they’re too busy Snapchatting the muffin you’re sharing? Is there anything more aggravating than explaining the ins and outs of the complex argument you had at work, only to have your friend lazily glance up from scrolling through Instagram and say "What?” The answer is no. This is especially true in those first years after college when everyone starts getting full-time jobs, and those sweet nights where you can get everything off your chest while stuffing your faces are much harder to organize. Good friends are hard to come by, and if you’ve found some real keepers who appreciate you enough to divulge the details of their lives to you, they deserve your full attention, just like you deserve theirs.
13 When Eating
There are two major reasons why you need to reconsider having that phone out while you eat. First of all, studies have shown that eating while distracted, whether by talking or television or phones, is a prime cause of overeating. You’re much more likely to continue eating more than you wanted to, even after you’re majorly full, if your attention is on Candy Crush or stalking your ex on Facebook. The second reason why you should abandon your phone at mealtimes is all about mindfulness. Eating is seriously one of the greatest pleasures on this planet, so why shouldn’t you savor every morsel? Pay attention to those flavors and fully appreciate the food you’re fortunate enough to have. Gratitude for the small things like this improves your mood and puts things into perspective when you feel overwhelmed. By all means, take a few snaps if your kale salad is too fabulous not to, but then enjoy your food in peace.
12 At A Club/Bar/Party
Yeah, when you don't know anyone at a party, it can be super tempting to withdraw into your phone. But did you come to this bar to browse Tinder on a stool in the corner? Unless you’ve been dragged to an event so boring that you might die if you don’t relook at your own photo gallery for the six-hundredth time, have a serious think about concentrating on the people in the room instead. If you’re at a work event, introducing yourself to new people and networking can be the difference between thriving in the industry and flailing. Focusing on your phone here may come across as snobbery instead of shyness. A bar or club is the perfect opportunity for socializing, and who knows how many potential loves-of-your-life have walked straight past, too intimidated to bother you because your face was buried in your screen? Just sayin’.
11 Before Bed
This one might be the trickiest of them all, but not touching your phone until you’re out of bed can have amazing health benefits! Staring at your bright screen while you’re telling your body to wind down and go to sleep seems pretty silly and, as studies suggest, it actually is. The light coming from your phone’s screen may sabotage your body’s sleep-inducing hormone by tricking it into thinking that it’s daytime. It’s hard enough to get our brains to shut up and let us sleep, so the moments before slumber are definitely not a time to be checking and replying to emails, comparing ourselves to people we went to school with on social media, and quickly checking what our exes are up to this week. Instead of the phone, grab a good book or practice a simple meditation to help turn off your brain and get some much-deserved sleep.
10 On A Date
Okay, disaster blind dates where you find yourself at dinner with the creepiest creep who ever creeped are exempted from this rule. In that case, please use your phone and organize an escape route. Generally, though, whether it’s a first date or not, stay in the moment! Talk to the other person, find out as much as you can and enjoy the experience that so many other people would love to find themselves in. Even if you’ve been together a while, date night is designed to keep things fun and bring you closer. If what’s on your phone is more important or appealing than your significant other during a time which you’ve dedicated to them, it might be time to re-evaluate things. Your phoneless, undivided attention is a good way to show them how much they mean to you and how much you enjoy their company.
9 At A Family Gathering
Yeah, we know, these can really suck sometimes. It can be so tempting to get lost in tempting so your aunts and uncles can't ask why you're not married yet. But unless your family is truly awful, in which case it might be better to skip the gathering altogether, in the future you might regret not giving them your time and attention. One of the sad facts of life is that family is not forever. Particularly with grandparents, who seriously can’t comprehend why you’re always staring at that thing anyway, make eye contact when you talk to them and engage in the conversations they want to have with you. Though it’s not true for everyone, family can often be one of the very few forces that has your back no matter what, and if this is the case, they deserve your respect. Love and cherish your time together, and keep it untainted by distractions.
8 When Cooking
This one should be obvious! Even if you're using a recipe you know by heart, you should always pay attention to what you're doing in the kitchen. There are just simply too many things that could go wrong due to a lack of concentration. Things like burning the house down due to inattention may seem a little melodramatic, but what if you burn the pasta bake you’re preparing for your dinner party tonight because you needed to respond to a text? What if you go back to check the pork in the slow cooker that’s been cooking all day, and realize you forgot to turn the damn thing on because you were too preoccupied with getting a good shot for Facebook? Cutting yourself on food processor blades, dropping boiling pots of soup and accidentally cutting your sandwich with the knife you used to cut the raw chicken are all horrible. No phones in the kitchen!
7 When In A Store Or At A Restaurant
One word: manners. You definitely can stare at Instagram or text while your waiter is trying to take your order or you're buying some clothes. Just know that it's super rude and you'll probably be laughed at by the staff after closing time. Everyone deserves respect and your attention during social interactions, no matter who they are or what role they're playing, and not even making eye contact with the person who’s bringing you your bill is not a good look at all. If there’s some catastrophe that needs to be dealt with in that moment, then it’s fine. Otherwise, it’s better to put the phone away, even for a minute and engage in an appropriate way with the person who is serving you.
6 When Watching TV
This applies to when you’re watching television alone, but also when you’re doing it with others... especially if you’ve gone to the effort of renting a movie, How can you become immersed in the story if you’re also scrolling through your phone? All forms of television are designed to send a message or entertain, and reserving half of your attention to put towards something else kind of defeats the purpose. As for watching with others, we’ve all been there when somebody keeps asking to have the plot broken down to them because they can’t follow. Usually, when you pause to explain it to them, you notice their face is stuck on their phone screen. Cue your temper to boil over. Don’t be that person. Phone or television, but not both!
5 When A Passenger In A Car
This does seem crazy, doesn’t it? Especially on those long road trips or when the traffic is impossible and adding hours to your journey, why wouldn’t you just pull out your phone to pass the time? But it's actually more common to get motion sickness when you're reading in a moving vehicle, and this includes reading text on a screen as well as the pages of a book. This happens because your aural and visual senses disagree on what they’re seeing and hearing, with your ears noticing the movement of the car and your eyes noticing only the still words in front of you. This phenomenon is a huge cause of motion sickness, which is why it’s better to leave the phone out of reach until you’ve stopped moving. Besides, there are often so many sights to watch on long drives. On those boring commutes, a non-vomit-inducing alternative might be listening to music.
4 When Trying To Get Work Done
Procrastination is a killer. There are tons of apps quite literally at the touch of our fingers and concentrating on what we actually need to get done can be even more challenging... and requires even more discipline. This can be a huge problem if you work from home and there’s no boss lurking behind you to deter you from being on your phone but is also a problem for those preparing work to take in the next day, or working towards a separate project. The solution? Put your phone in a different room. Allow yourself breaks to go in and respond to texts or check what you must but do not keep the phone where you can see it flash, or where you can hear it buzz. If you stop working every time your friend tags you in a meme, you’ll never get anything done.
3 At A Concert
Beyoncé said it best during the Atlanta stop of her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour in 2013: when a fan was filming her, she said: “Put that damn camera down." Yes, you should take pictures to bring home memories with you. Yes, you should film a song or two if you feel the need, again in the name of preserving memories. But life is about the now. The memories you form should reflect the amazing experience you had, not the effort you made and the sacrifices you took to create a past that looks good. Re-watching that footage a year from now may fill you with bliss, but it won’t compare to the feeling you’ll have at a live show, completely immersed in the fact that your favorite artist is killing your favorite song up there on stage. Ladies, put that damn phone down.
2 On Vacation
You might need your phone to contact loved ones back home, to call the embassy about a lost passport or to translate something into German. That’s fine. But you're not doing yourself any favors by worrying about where the nearest Wi-Fi signal is when the Eiffel Tower is standing right in front of you. Take a few snaps, and leave the phone alone. Get as close as you can to the sights you traveled across the world to see. Relax in the sun that you worked hard to be laying beneath on this beach. Don’t think about the commitments, responsibilities, and worries you left behind, and enjoy the wonders of travel with all of that out of your mind. Forget about updating your Instagram to prove to everyone you’re having the time of your life in Peru, and actually, have the time of your life in Peru.
1 When You Need To Destress
We definitely in a world that people of the past wouldn’t have even been able to comprehend. Our smartphones enable us instantaneous access to unlimited information, entertainment, and connections 24/7, and while the benefits of this technology go on for days, the downside is that we don’t really get much down time anymore. Back in the day, people left their computers in the office. and that meant they left their emails there too. They left their entertainment beyond the bedroom. Today, we need to make an effort to get that distance from the demands of our busy lives. Whether you decide to turn your phone off after business hours, or after you retreat to bed, it’s important to allow that time to yourself. If the stress is mounting up in your life, simply stepping away from your phone from an hour can be a great way of putting yourself first again.