A couple of weeks ago, I lost the use of my right arm.  I was unable to do so much as text or dial a number without so much as a yelp of frustration or a carefully chosen word of distress turning the air blue.  It was painful, taxing and damn right annoying.

The right arm I am talking about is my smart phone, which went in for repair, and I am ashamed to admit, I was in agony.

Since the social network revolution I have embraced it.  I enjoy sharing my life with others through Facebook and Twitter, and with the invention of the smart phone this has become easier by being able to share photo’s, check emails, check the weather and even (gasp, shock,) RING people!  The smart phone has enabled me to work more efficiently, but by the same token it has also distracted me from my work.

I never really, truly understood how much I relied on my phone until I was without it.  I embarked on a digital diet, but one which was enforced, not chosen.  Here is my diary:

Day 1

Having established that my smart phone really has died on me, the decision is made to pop it in for repair as soon as possible.  I say a tearful goodbye at the counter whilst popping my little SIM into my old phone. It had been charged and ready for action, but the only action I can get from this phone is an old fashioned vibrate when a text comes through.  I scream in dispair desperately trying to tap a reply in, only to give up and ring my contacts. I don’t think I have spoken to so many of my contacts so much in my life….

My husband and work colleagues look on sympathetically.

Day 2

I have tried with the phone.  I really have.  I even pop a little case onto it to make the silver bulk of the phone look more attractive.  But I admit the love just isn’t there.  The ONLY benefit is that it takes just one charge over night and that will be it for the day, where it sits on my desk at work reminding me of what I have lost.

Day 3

Having endured two whole days of agony I ring the shop to find out the status of repair.  They refer me online where my status is “received for repair”. I cry.

Day 4

I miss Twitter. I miss Facebook. I miss the notifications that it’s my turn to play Words with Friends. I miss the pictures on Instagram but most of all I miss my phone.

Day 5

Having tried to use the social networks on my lap top I have since given up. It’s painfully slow, takes ages to log on and its just not familiar enough.  I have decided to give up until my phone is back and I can go back to normal.

I got told off for not even bothering to take my phone with me today when I left the house. I mean what’s the point?

Day 6

It’s the weekend and normally getting up early with the boys is no trouble at all.  I can happily endure the cartoons because I have my friends to chat to on the social networks, or emails to reply to. My phone isn’t even in reach. It sits there like a brick on the dining room table whilst I try and get the gist of Handy Manny, again.

Day 7

Sunday. Not a chance in hell of receiving my phone back today. I stomp, and sulk, and shoot daggers at my husband sat there happily tweeting. Smug git.

Day 8

I feel bad for calling the husband smug. He has kindly offered me use of his phone as he can see the agony I am in.  I politely decline; it wouldn’t be fair to put him through the pain. That’s love….

Day 9

I hate to say it but I feel rather liberated.  It’s been well over a week now since I had a functional 21st Century phone and dare I say it? I’m actually getting used to it.  My kids are getting used to having conversations with me which do not end in “in a minute” and I am no longer losing hours of my day playing Scrambled with Friends.  I no longer feel the urge to call the shop every day harassing them for an update. THis is just as well as I am sure they are on the verge of a restraining order...

Day 10

My phone is back!!

What I can conclude from this experience is that it really does us good to have a break from our digital lives once in a while.  I know mine was enforced, but this did make me realise how much I relied on my phone and since its return, I have used it less.  To the point where I am seriously considering choosing a few weeks in a year to take my digital diet, much in the same way I abstain from certain foods in Lent.

Who is joining me?

This morning I had a feelng of liberation.

I stepped into my office, switched on my computer, and then put my mobile phone in my hand bag.

Not an unsual routine surely? I hear you ask.  Well for me, and my recent lifestyle this is.

You see since obtaining my Android Smart phone almost a year ago, my life has been slowly governed by Apps,  Those perfect little squares of information that distract me every minute of every day. And today, enough was enough.

My normal routine is this:

I get up and switch my phone on.  Whilst its loading up I get myself, and the kids ready.  I proceed downstairs where the kettle goes on and I get the kids their breakfast.  I then hear a familiar cluster of beeps and buzzes from my phone.  I recognise each and every one.

Whilst drinking my first cup of tea of the day I scroll through my notifications.  Its normally Twitter first, then onto Facebook, a quick flick to Instragram. I then tap onto LinkedIn to see whats been happening in the 8 hours that I have slept, and then off I drive to work.  I set my phone down on my desk, get my first cup of coffee (I drink coffee at work, I think its a neccessity to get through the day, tea is for pleasure and to relax at home!) and I repeat the same routine.  Because now I have missed at least 50 minutes of the action.

At my fingers tips, right next to me on my desk at work I have the following:

- Facebook
- Twitter
- Instragram
- Words with Friends
- Google +
- Linked In
- Mail Online
- Word of the Day
- Whatsapp
- Dictionary

These are just the ones on my first home page, because they are Apps that I use regularly.  And it needs to stop.

So today I made a stand. I went cold turkey and worked to rule.  My husband was under strict instructions not to text unless it was important, and if that was the case, to ring me.

Every 20 minutes or so I could hear a buzz, a beep or a dingdong with my notifications coming through, but I continued on with my day. Frantically wishing the hours away til lunch when I was "allowed" to check my phone.  Which I did, and spent the ENTIRE lunch hour returning tweets (ok, I was harsh on myself today, it was #FF after all!), "liking" Facebook statuses and using my dictionary in the desperate attempt to win a match of Words with Friends.

I did all this whilst on my lunchtme walk, where I normally read my kindle, which I didnt open once.

So what did I learn today?  That I was a slave to my phone? That I am a socal media and App "whore?"  Well yes.  I am by my own admittance both of those.  But I was also reminded of the good old days (ah yes, here come the rose tinted glasses...) where the only distraction at work was the odd personal email or colleague popping to your desk for a tea break natter.  Both of which happened today and they were a welcome break.

I actually enjoyed my phone free work day.  Are you brave enough to try it?