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Practice healthy habits with your phone

College life encourages us to be productive machines shitting out perfect essays and problem sets and thorough readings of essays and articles. If, miraculously, all our academic to-dos are completed, countless teams, clubs, jobs and other organizations grasp for our time and energy. We also need to maintain a social life and keep occasional contact with home. With so many responsibilities, any spent idle generates a feeling of unease and guilt. However, what about all those small moments and brief instances that are too short to achieve any considerable progress on big projects or assignments? A handy-dandy invention has produced access to productivity and doing-something-ness. 

I would be doing a disservice by imploring you to stop being productive. However, constant productivity poisons the brain. Walking to class, students listen to Spotify while scrolling through Instagram to relax. Waiting for friends to chow in Lowry, why not see what’s happening in Venezuela or Brexit to inform ourselves on the happenings of the world? Sitting on the toilet, why not send an email to the professor about confusion about an assignment? A survey at Baylor University in 2014 discovered that students spend an average of nine hours per day on their phone. This comes as no surprise; cellphones are awesome. They provide unlimited access to video games, social media, communication with family and friends, plus a conglomeration of all the knowledge humans have ever discovered via the internet. 

All these things are important, but humans were not designed to be constantly working. Being idle without your phone allows time for internal reflection, stimulates creativity, generates productivity when working and makes relaxation easier while reducing anxiety. Over the next few days, really try and zero in on your unique phone habits. 

If you use your phone while walking to class, focus on the rise and fall of your chest or the feel and sound of your foot hitting the ground or watch a squirrel scuffle between branches. If you use your phone to look busy in public settings so that people don’t bother you, bring a good book instead. If Doodle Jump is your best friend in the bathroom, maybe plan your outfit the next day. While studying, set your phone on silent and put it away in your backpack. The Do Not Disturb function is magical, try it out. 

After enacting these positive habits to generate a beneficial and healthy relationship with your phone, the impacts will be drastic. Kevin Rooth of The New York Times attempted this phone analysis and the results were drastic. After a few days, his spouse applauded his efforts and asked him to continue because his attention and engagement in conversations was deeper; “I spent more time to listening to her, and less time distractedly nodding and mumbling while checking my inbox or tapping out tweets,” he said. 

Not to be dramatic, but you can become a better student, more attentive friend, less anxious, more effective in activities and a stronger overall person by putting the phone away. 

Wyatt Brugge, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at

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