Well, I finally did it. I finally did the thing I’ve been avoiding for months.
I bought an alarm clock for my bedroom.
You may think this a superfluous expense. Why not just use my phone as an alarm clock, like the rest of the country does?
I had been using my phone as an alarm clock. As far as serving as a way to wake me up, it had been working quite well. But there’s a glaring problem with using a smartphone as an alarm.
Smartphones can do so much more than just wake you up.
Night after night, I found myself reaching for my phone after the lights had been turned off. I just wanted to check my email one last time…play one more crossword puzzle…read one more news article.
As I’m sure you can imagine, I rarely stuck to “just one more.” My nightly browsing stretched far too late into the night far more often than was good for me.
In the mornings, too, I had started reaching for my phone as soon as I woke up. I already had the phone in my hand to turn off the alarm – it was the easiest thing ever to just open my favorite app.
When I realized that I was reaching for my phone in bed more often than I was reaching for my husband, I knew something had to change.
I have written before about why we should minimize our phone usage. I know how important it is. Yet when the rubber meets the road, I find it as hard to practice as anyone else.
That’s where my new alarm clock comes in.
It was a $7 purchase, the most basic clock I could possibly get. No radio, no fancy apps…nothing to possibly tempt me to reach for it when I shouldn’t be.
It was possibly my best purchase of the year.
Now I’ve been spending my evenings reading real, actual books instead of staring at my phone. I cuddle with my husband more, am quicker to say hello in the mornings. I get up and start my day earlier, rather than wasting time on things I don’t need to do. My phone now charges overnight in the living room, leaving my bedroom a sanctuary of tech-free tranquility.
At the same time, it’s also been really hard.
I still find myself reaching for it almost every night. I still wonder what news I might be missing. The sudoku and crossword apps still call to me like sirens. It requires a conscious act of will to leave my phone in the living room every night. It’s really not something I want to do.
Yet this only serves to show me how much I needed to make this change.
It’s easy to talk about how important personal connections are, how damaging technology can be to relationships if we’re not careful. But the fact remains that if we’re not actively fighting daily against the siren’s call of technology, we’re going to lose that battle.
My most recent weapon has been a $7 alarm clock. What’s yours?