If you're reading this story on a smartphone, you might have a problem.
But you're not alone. Technology has become such a huge part of our lives that we're all basically never without it these days. Look up on the subway, and you'll probably see everyone buried in their smartphones. How many times have you been to a restaurant and seen a table full of people not conversing with one another but swiping away on their little devices? You probably even feel the urge to whip out your phone as you wait in the back of a ginormous line at Chipotle.
Whenever there's a lull in our day, we don't get upset because we know we have a world of entertainment literally at our fingertips. But the fact that we're never without stimulation is actually harming us. You see, the problem with always having a phone to keep you preoccupied is that you never just space out, and when you never space out, you aren't able to daydream or come up with the seemingly wacky ideas that would never come about when you're thinking in a more cognizant manner.
But we don't have to fight the good fight alone. WNYC's New Tech City show just launched its fascinating "Bored and Brilliant" challenge that will not only help you cut down on your phone time but also harness your inner creativity. By joining the "Bored and Brilliant" challenge, you will learn how to use your phone "purposefully, rather than reflexively," as New Tech City's host Manoush Zomorodi writes in an article about the challenge.
The challenge officially launched Monday, and it runs until Feb. 8, so you've still got time to participate. All you have to do is sign up for New Tech City's newsletter, which will send you daily tasks, and download either the Moment app if you're an iPhone user or BreakFree for Android users. These free apps will track how much time you spend on your phone so you truly know how obsessed you are.
Digital detoxing like this is becoming more and more popular as technology becomes a greater part of our daily routines. The NoPhone caused a stir in 2014 when it was launched on Kickstarter because it looks and feels like a phone but actually does nothing. There are tech sabbatical camps like Camp Grounded where adults can unplug for a few days in California and basically act like they're away at summer camp again. For someone that wants to start small with their digital detox, new apps, like the ones already mentioned, and browser extensions are popping up constantly to help users limit their tech time, be more productive and actually be a real human being once in a while. Remember what that feels like?
Image: Jesús León / Flickr