Fifteen days without my phone, most of it in foreign countries, was eye-opening.

Literally.

Conflict doesn’t always happen with another person; it often happens with events or things.

Realizing my phone was gone, and after I secured and shut it down, I admit I cried a little bit. My mom back in the States is having some health challenges, and I had intended to continue keeping a pulse on my business—both required connectivity.

This unplanned phone detox has left me changed…in a good way. Ironically, my theme for this year is focus. This was a rich study of focus.

I let my focus down and lost the phone, but without the phone, I gained focus and presence.

Some of my learnings:

• When you are not looking down at your phone, life is happening all around you! I loved this! You also realize how many people around you constantly look down at their phones, and it seems really sad.

• One of my talks is about how change, conflict, and innovation are like three close cousins. You don’t have one without the other two. I am a problem solver, so this gave me a lot of opportunities to figure out alternative ways to communicate, which was fun.

• You can travel through customs without a smartphone.

• Focusing on the learning instead of the problem is energizing.

• People are very willing to help if you ask, from taking photos on their phones to giving you the time of day.

Because of this experience, I know I’ve moved much further down the path to increase focus! It took a while but I like this new more balanced relationship with my phone!

No phone made me feel more home with myself.

BTW, During this time, I’ve been reading Cal Newport’s book Deep Work. He offers excellent strategies. Many of which I am adopting! I recommend it.

Human Written

By Karen Valencic