I gave up my phone for 24 hours - here’s how I survived

What happens when a phone-dependant millennial locks away their phone for 24 hours straight, and tries to survive the day? Chaos, calm, control and other C-words run aplenty.

00:00

The test officially starts. The phone is locked away for 24 hours. For the first time ever, there’s no way to procrastinate for hours before sleep. All my text convos end abruptly, but I reassure my friends of the fact that I’ll be back to haunt them. I decide to read, but I usually use my phone flashlight to help me see in the dark, so I Google “white screen” on my computer, and in the faint glow that it provides, I read some Murakami. So ultimately, I still kept myself awake, but not for as long as I usually would.

Essentially my phone is God 2.0.

10:00

So this is apparently the time I wake up naturally without an alarm. Not that I knew what the time was when I woke up, I had no phone beside me, and so I went downstairs to find out what time I awoke by reading the microwave. Lots of fun. I realised that I depend on my phone for both time and light so far. Essentially my phone is God 2.0. Also, I had a dream about my phone. In it, I was texting a ton of strangers in a huge group chat. So yeah, I think my subconscious was trying to tell me something.

Procrastination lives on within me, with or without a phone.

12:00

I can definitely start to feel boredom creeping in. I decided to channel my inner Corinne Bailey Rae put my records on, while re-reading the stunning UTS Queer Vertigo magazine. Assignment work though? Still very much avoided that. Procrastination lives on within me, with or without a phone.

13:00

I am absolutely one of those people who tends to watch something or listen to music on their phone when they eat lunch. But today, not happening. I guess I can just entertain myself, right? Just me and my thoughts, this is gonna be easy breezy beautiful.

13:05

Scratch that idea. I decided to watch Bizarre Foods on the Food Network instead. It has been a long time since I’ve watched TV. It was a true experience honestly. The guy was eating deer heart. Really helped me digest my food. 9/10 would do again.

14:00

I thought of something funny to put up on my Insta story.  However, the challenge forbids me to. All those people could have been uplifted by a carefully-crafted joke. Alas, it was nice to feel like I didn’t have to share with the world at every opportunity. Just chillax. Just breathe. Be on my own. It was relaxing.  

15:30

Decided to try on looks for future outings to some music. As one does. Helps kill time AND ensures you look hot AF at the next function. Win-win.

18:00

I definitely miss being able to text people at this point. So many good conversations that I just up and left for this experiment. You almost feel out of touch with the ones you care about. How will I reign dominant in my messenger chats as the best bad-pun maker? How will I ensure peace and civility in the group chats? The memes that are being shared without me! The mere thought of it all makes me want to reach for that phone just to sneak peek. I miss talking to people the most honestly.

20:00

I wonder if anyone is messaging me. I sure hope nothing important has come up at this point. I will honestly just die if uni is sending me important time-sensitive emails. Or maybe I just won $50,000 from a completely non-scam website based in Taiwan. These are opportunities that are being missed!

22:00

Two hours left now. Decided to write up this article since there was absolutely nothing to do. I opened nothing on my computer but Microsoft Word and Spotify. My playlist Bad Bitch Energy carried me through the writing experience to this point. Full of bangers. Go follow it. I miss my phone. Send help.

23:45

Not only have I realised how compelled to my phone I am through this experiment, but also how many functionalities I depend upon one device for. Contact with others, emails, source of light, source of information, a tool for writing, a tool for news, a way to express myself, a source of entertainment.

Ultimately, I think it was healthy to spend some time on my lonesome, detached from the social world and the utilities of my phone. Although a phone does make things a lot easier, it also detracts from being one with yourself, and I believe that this is an important thing to realise. Friends and loved ones are always one press away, they’ll always be around on the other end of the line. But sometimes we need to pick up the phone on some self-care, and dial it down a few notches. See? All these bad puns and nobody to share them with. That’s the real negative here.

And now it’s all over. Did I survive? Of course I did. The real lesson here, I guess, is sometimes you don’t know how much you rely on something until you step away from it. And stepping away is healthy. I wanted to end on another phone pun but I’m holding out for a good one. None of them are really calling out to me. Alright I’m done. Time to hang this all up. Now where’s my phone? 

Michael Di Iorio is a third-year journalism student. He has a passion for human rights, local drama and signing up to 24-hour challenges that bear rewards only the soul can see.