I did something remarkable last night. Something I haven't deliberately done for quite possibly an entire decade, maybe longer. I left my phone downstairs when I went to bed.
How bad is it that I'm actually proud of this? Like it was some kind of monumental achievement. An act of courage and bravery. Going against the grain, sticking it to the man, upsetting the status quo. All I did was leave my phone downstairs (not even on charge!), but it felt like a big deal.
This is partly because for the past nine months or so I have used an iPhone app called Sleep Better to record my sleep and wake me up when I'm least asleep, within a 20 minute window. Lots of apps do this and I found it really helps me wake up in a better mood. But I'd be lying to myself if I said I absolutely needed such an alarm, and that I actually got anything out of the data recorded each night. Over the last 204 nights, I have slept for an average of 86% of my target eight hours, fyi.
And anyway, I've recently been using a Lumie bedside lamp, which simulates a sunrise each morning, waking me up with no audible alarm at all. Add this to the Kindle full of half-read books and a pile of reading material next to my bed, and the smartphone really has no excuse to be in my bedroom.
It felt good to leave my iPhone on the desk downstairs last night. With 60-some percent left I just muted it, switched on Do Not Disturb, checked that no alarms were set, and walked away. This felt like making the first step in beating an addiction. Seriously; I probably check my phone over 100 times every day and often catch myself reaching for it for absolutely no reason at all. Every time I press the lift call button at work, where I know I'm off the office Wi-Fi and in an area with no phone signal - yet I'll still try and load up Twitter or Instagram anyway. Same story on the Tube, where signal is always patchy. Addicted.
Waking up this morning, I had to remind myself that my cellular sidekick wasn't there. Where normally I would check email, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, news headlines and the weather before getting out of bed at 6:30, I reassured myself that all of these can wait until I have showered and dressed.
I'd like to make this a habit, but with the Lumie due to be returned to a PR agency this week (I only had it in for review), I'll need the phone to wake me up for now. Time to look for a Lumie on eBay then I can leave the phone permanently downstairs, along with my iPad and laptop.