What else? I noticed that I reach for my phone every time I brush my teeth or step outside the front door of my apartment building, and that, for some pathological reason, I always check my email during the three-second window between when I insert my credit card into a chip reader at a store and when the card is accepted.
Mostly, I became aware of how profoundly uncomfortable I am with stillness. I listen to podcasts and write emails on the subway. I watch YouTube videos while folding laundry. I even use an app to pretend to meditate. If I was going to repair my brain, I needed to practice doing nothing. On the subway, I kept my phone in my pocket and people-watched — noticing the nattily dressed man in the yellow hat, the teens eating hot Takis and laughing, the kid with Velcro shoes.
When a friend ran late for our lunch, I sat still and stared out the window instead of checking Twitter. She also said paying more attention to my surroundings would make me realize how many other people used their phones to cope with boredom and anxiety.
Sign up for the Smarter Living newsletter. For me, that meant deleting Twitter, Facebook and all other social media apps, along with news apps and games. I kept messaging services like WhatsApp and Signal, and non-distracting utilities like cooking and navigation apps.
I pruned my home screen to just the essentials: calendar, email and password manager. And I disabled push notifications for everything other than phone calls and messages from a preset list of people that included my editor, my wife and a handful of close friends. Where you keep your phone is also important.
Caller ID spoofing
Catherine charges her phone in a closet; for me, she recommended a locking mini-safe. And I pursued activities that could replace my phone habit. On the recommendation of my colleague Farhad Manjoo, I signed up for pottery classes. As it turned out, pottery makes a perfect phone substitute. It gets your hands dirty, too, which is a good deterrent to fiddling with expensive electronics.
AN OVERLOOKED THREAT
After a pottery class, I updated my wife on my progress. I told her that while it felt great to disconnect, I still worried that I was missing something important. Location extensions on Display help you close the loop between online ads and offline sales by driving foot traffic to stores. Learn more about how to create location extensions on Display ads.
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WhatsApp, the messaging app also owned by Facebook alongside Messenger and Instagram , uses your phone number as the primary way to create your account and connect you to its service. Facebook has long had a strategy to further integrate the two services, although it has run into some bumps along the way. Alex Stamos, former chief security officer and now adjunct professor at Stanford University, also called out the practice in a tweet.