bloom-blossom-flora-60006 2Yesterday marked the end of last week’s 7-Day Take Control of Your Phone Challenge inspired by Tristan Harris, co-founder and executive director of the Center for Humane Technology. My team member Sam and myself (Tina) were surprised by the results and how similar some of our answers were.

To review the challenge, for one week, we both had to follow these tips from the Center for Humane Technology  in order to take control of our phone and its addictive qualities.

1. Turn off all notifications except from people.

2. Go grayscale.

3. Try keeping the home screen to tools only.

4. Launch other apps by typing.

5. Charge devices outside the bedroom.

6. Send audio notes -or- call instead of texting.

Here are the results of our challenge. My answers are in red and Sam’s answers are in blue.

1) On a scale of 1-10 (1 being easy and 10 being difficult), before beginning, how would you have rated this challenge?


2) Why did you choose this rating and what did you think would happen during this 7-day challenge?

I thought I might have some difficulty with grayscale because I enjoy taking pictures with my phone, but I didn’t expect some of the other tips to be so hard to follow.

I thought some of the requirements were too hard to maintain – for instance, not sending text messages.

3) Were you able to maintain the following tips from the Center for Humane Technology for all seven days of the challenge?:

1.Turn off all notifications except from people.


2. Go grayscale.

No, I had a hard time looking at my phone in grayscale as well as taking pictures in gray. I would toggle back and forth from black and white to color and ended up forgetting to switch back to black and white many times.

No. I wanted to go through some pictures one time and it was really hard to find the picture I wanted in grayscale.

3. Try keeping the home screen to tools only.


4. Launch other apps by typing.

No – Even thought I removed my apps from my home screen, I still found them by looking through my phone rather than searching by typing.

5. Charge our devices outside the bedroom.


6. Send audio notes -or- call instead of texting.

No, I still messaged people just because it was more convenient, although I did call family and friends a little more than usual.
No. I ended up messaging only slightly less than I normally do, but every time I texted, I was aware of it.

4) Did you feel this 7-Day Challenge made a positive impact on how you live?

Actually, I did feel more unplugged every day with less time looking down at the phone and more time plugged into the present moment.

I noticed the clouds in the sky and the trees more often as well as people walking in the streets and what they were doing. I saw the expressions on people’s faces, whether they appeared happy, sad, distracted, worried, etc… It reminded me of my childhood when I was naturally more fully present in life.  

I realized how beautiful the colors are in my cell phone. I also noticed how much we take for granted. Advanced phones were not available 10-12 years ago but now they’re completely normalized. I was interrupted a lot less often once I turned off the automatic notifications from all apps.

5) On a scale of 1-10 (1 being easy and 10 being difficult), how did you actually find this challenge after 7 days?


6) Describe any difficulties you may have had.

As mentioned before, I struggled with calling instead of messaging and kept switching back to color just because black and white made my phone very uninteresting to look at. I also found that with all my social media apps gone (except for Instagram), I read more news from my phone. It was as if I was in withdrawal. It seemed I needed a reason to look at my phone because it was my habit.

Looking through pictures in my phone albums to find something was hard in grayscale. Not being able to message was the hardest thing because I am used to just sending a quick message whenever I feel like it.

7) Do you think you’ll carry on with any of the tips from this challenge?

I would actually like to carry on with all of the tips to the best of my ability. Maybe practice will make it easier. Going grayscale is definitely a challenge.

I will definitely keep the notifications to a minimum – only the ones directly from people. I have even turned off all email notifications so only urgent things like text messages get through. I really like that I get interrupted less often and don’t get pulled into non-urgent messages.

8) Any additional comments?

Probably one of the main reasons I’d like to continue following most or all of these tips is because I felt I was more present, more often with my children. They are at an age where they are still too young for devices. I’d like to preserve this time when they are grateful and in awe of all that surrounds them. If I continue to look down at my phone, I will surely miss what is happening here now. To create a good balance, I’d like to designate hours to be on my phone and computer and try to coordinate it with the times my children are busy or not together with me.

I think devices and apps are addicting by design and should be treated as any other addictive substances. I do like the aspect of using devices to connect with people, but it’s easy to go overboard and get sucked into the flashiness of various apps, games and stories designed to grab your attention. I feel it’s important to build discipline around using technology by using it in moderation.

If you took this challenge with us or if you plan to give it a try, please feel free to share either privately or in the comments what you thought. 💕

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