In my faith tradition, we usually talk about Lent as making space for something that brings us closer to God, rather than just outright giving something up. We are encouraged to look for the things that are getting in the way.
I like this approach, and I also like the timing of Lent. I admit I treat it like a New Year’s resolution reboot period. The timing is also good because it signals the end of winter here in North Carolina. I tend to pick up a lot of bad habits in winter — I blame seasonal affective disorder.
This year’s bad winter habit was mindless use of my phone. Standing in line? Look at my phone. A commercial comes on? (Yes, I still watch some live TV.) Look at my phone. I was starting to look like a teenager with the phone always in my hand and my eyes always down.
So, for Lent, I installed a tracking app on my phone. I chose StayFree, but there are several out there. I am actually not thrilled with this particular app because I find the charts difficult to read and the trend data isn’t great. But it gives me enough information to know that I’ve cut my use of certain apps on my phone by 50-70% just by being more mindful about it and increased use of the Kindle app instead.
That was my goal: reducing time looking at social media and email on my phone, and if I did pick it up during a few minutes of boredom to read a book instead. I finished Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid last week (loved it — thanks Trevor Noah and The Daily Show for recommending!). I haven’t finished a novel in months.
How about you? Are you trying to back off your phone use or change how you use it? Are you doing something different for Lent? Share in the comments!