Use Your Smartphone For Good Rather Than Evil


Use Your Smartphone For Good Rather Than Evil – 027


On this episode 27, Jenny and I are more than halfway through the 24 hour trial separation from our smartphones and we discuss how we are handling it. Then we talk about how to ease back into a more productive relationship with our phones moving forward after this challenge.  Then we dive right into our 19 for 2019 lists so make sure to tune in to hear our plans for 2019!!

I’m diggin’ the Duolingo App and Jenny is diggin’ Tim Horton’s green tea.  Jenny’s win is related to her visit to adult gymnastics with John and I and my learn is related to trying to keep up the habit of going to the gym on the regular.


Tune in and Listen Below



What You’ll Hear (and don’t want to miss!)


1:56: I pass on some more terrifying information and statistics about what your smartphone is doing to your focus and your memory…not to mention your sleep and your creativity.

4:50: Jenny and I are more than halfway through the 24 hour trial separation from our smartphones and we discuss how we are handling it. Then we talk about how to ease back into a more productive relationship with our phones moving forward after this challenge.   Get all the daily instructions below in Resources for this episode.

12:25:More details on the next steps of this digital detox.  It’s time for the make up.  (find more detailed instructions on this part below in Resources for this episode)

19:03: 19 for 2019!  Jenny and I share the highlights of our lists of goals that we have written to better guide us through the upcoming year.

26:23: Listener Feedback:  Some great words and quotes from some of you who are listening and playing along.

28:08: What Are You Diggin’ Lately?  I’m diggin’ the Duolingo app and Jenny is diggin’ Tim Horton’s Green Tea.

31:59: You Win or You Learn: Jenny’s win this week is related to adult gymnastics and my learn is related the habit of John and I going to the gym on the regular.

35:36: We wrap it up for this week and for this year!!  Next week we will be starting a whole new year and new challenge.  We are going to discuss creating good routines and we are going to do our best to optimize our sleep habits. We hope that you’ll join us! 


Resources + Links Mentioned in This Episode:


Right click here and save as to download this episode to your computer

Book: How To Break Up With your Phone by Catherine Price


All of the Episodes of The Improvement Project Podcast that discuss Smartphone use and digital detox:

Episode 24: Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone?  It’s Time For A Digital Detox 

Episode 25: How To Break Up With Your Phone

Episode 26: Let’s Get Ready for a Trial Separation From Your Smartphone

NUD: National Unfollow/Unfriend Day

App:  Duolingo.  Helps you learn a new language (I’m using it to learn spanish!!)

My 18 for 18 List

My 19 for 19 List- working on it.  Will be here shortly

Tim Horton’s Green Tea

Day 22: Trial Separation Recap: Check in with yourself after the 24 hours away from your phone to see how you are feeling about it all. What did you observe about yourself and your behaviour when the phone was not an option? Do you now feel any different about your phone? What was the hardest part of the 24 hours? What was the best part? Did anything surprise you?

Day 23: Make a decision to PHAST: Catherine Price recommends coming back to this 24 hours without your phone exercise monthly or a few times per year to revisit and check in with your relationship with your phone. It also doesn’t have to be 24 hours. You could do screenless Saturdays (this is What Tim Ferriss does) Or have the phone off for a few hours each morning to have a more productive and less distracted start to your day. You could also do an activity daily or once per week where you don’t take the phone with you…like a walk with a dog or a hike or for me this might be when I go snowboarding.

Day 24: Manage Your Invitations: One of the hardest parts about changing your relationship with your phone is having to constantly say no to invitations sent by your own brain: For example: “Oh Hi. I see that you just woke up. Want to look at your phone to see if anyone messaged you while you were sleeping?”
Try to notice some of the invitations your brain is sending you. Then make a conscious decision about how you want to respond.

Day 25: Clean Up the Rest Of Your Digital Life: we’ve already talked about text messages, apps, games, app-blockers. Now let’s focus on:

Email: You get too many and most are unimportant
-Unsubscribe! We all have a bunch of emails that we get that we no longer are interested in or that pile up and we think we’ll get to them. Unsubscribe!!
-You don’t (usually)have to respond immediately to every email. You can set up an app-blocker so that you only have access to your email during certain times of day
-Use folders to keep yourself sane. Create a ‘Needs Response’ folder to store messages that actually require a response.
-Set up a commerce email account. This is an email that is only for when you buy or order things online. It will keep unwanted spam out of your primary inbox.
-Set up a VIP list of people whose emails you don’t want to miss

Social Media: Ideally you don’t have the apps on your phone anymore. Still, go into your social media accounts and prune. Unfollow people that don’t bring you value or make you feel good.

Day 26: Check Your Checking: Whenever you notice that you’re itching to check something: email, social media, text messages, the news, whatever…ask yourself: What’s the best thing that could happen as a result of checking? The best email? The best piece of news? The best notification? What’s the best emotion that you could experience?
Then ask: What is the likelihood that this will actually happen? Spoiler alert: Your chances are low. Very low.
Once you realize how unlikely your best-case scenario is to happen, it becomes a lot easier to stop checking your phone.

Day 27: Digital Sabbath Life Hacks: Some people find the 24 hours away from their phone so rewarding that they decide they’d like to turn the trial separation into a regular Digital Sabbath. It could be every weekend, once per month or a few times per year. You can personalize your experience and detox as much or as little from your device as suits you.

Some tips:
Untangle your devices. Smartphones serve so many purposes. That is good…and bad if you get distracted by social media when you were trying to add an item to the grocery list. One solution is to invest in separate devices or to use one of your older models that is probably gathering dust in the closet. (for these you just need wifi so need for a data plan) You can have a meditation device, a listening to music and podcasts device, a separate e-reader or a digital camera. It’s a neat way to avoid falling into the rabbit hope of the scroll when you just want to do your meditation.

-Create a House Phone: Again, consider using an older phone and keep it pared down as a house phone that can only be used as a tool. Delete all the apps except for the camera, music, timer, calculator…it essentially changes your phone from a temptation into a remote control.

-Use Your Phone’s Suspension Modes: Put your phone on Airplane Mode or enable ‘Do Not Disturb’ more often.

-Customize Your Do Not Disturb Settings: Preselect the people whose calls you actually want to receive. This makes it possible to take a break from your phone without worrying that you’ll miss an emergency phone call.

-Download Maps ahead of time: You can download maps of areas that you use frequently so that you still have access to them while you’re offline. This is not helpful if you’re taking a total break from your phone but if you want to minimize your phone use and not get lost, this is a great option.

-Get a Landline: you can still talk to the people without your smartphone!

Day 28-30: Review, Keep Yourself on track and Congratulations you did it!!

One of the most effective ways to stay on track with your new phone habits is to schedule a regular check in with yourself. So put it on the calendar once a month or a few times per year and check in to see how you are doing. You could come back and re-listen to these digital detox episodes 24 thru 27 of The Improvement Project to get yourself back on track!!

Key Quotes:

‘Your Phone is Killing Your Attention Span: Keep in mind that with the way that we are designed as human beings…distraction is the default. Human beings are naturally distractible, because in nature, things are often trying to kill us. We want our attention to be drawn to changes in our environments, because those changes might indicate a threat.
Our brains prefer distraction to concentration because concentration requires our brains to do 2 difficult things at once. 1) Choose what to pay attention to 2) Ignore distractions
Our phones are designed to take both of those tasks out of the picture and delight us with distraction. The more we don’t focus, the better we get at not focusing. We become skimmers and the better we get at skimming information, the worse we get at reading and thinking more deeply….and this contributes to it being even harder to focus on just one thing.’ –Peggy reading from The Wake Up part of Catherine Price’s book: How To Break Up With Your Phone.

‘Your Phone Messes With Your Memory: Our brains have 2 primary forms of memory….short term (sometimes referred to as working memory) and long term and our phones affect both.

Your working memory is everything that your holding in your mind at any given moment. It is also the gateway through which every long-term memory must pass. The problem is that our working memory can’t hold on to many things at once and so is easily overloaded. If I introduced you to 2 people at a party…you’d likely remember their names, but if I introduce you to 8 people at once, you probably won’t. Adding to this challenge, the more information your working memory is trying to handle (your cognitive load) the less likely you are to remember any of it.

Everything about your smartphone overloads your working memory. The result in the short term is mental fatigue and difficulty concentrating. The long term consequences are such that we make it harder to transfer new information to our long-term memories and because our brains are overloaded, the memories that we do get to our long term are not connected well to other memories which makes it less likely to have new insights and ideas. We lose our capacity for deep thought.’  Peggy reading from The Wake Up part of Catherine Price’s book: How To Break Up With Your Phone.

JOMO – Joy of Missing Out: Knowing where you are, that’s where the action is. – Jenny


Share your thoughts… We’d love to hear from you!


What was your biggest take away from this episode and from this past month’s challenge? Did you make some changes in the way that you interact with your phone? We would love to hear your experience.

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The Improvement Project podcast is hosted by Dr. Peggy Malone and Jenny Couse.  Peggy is a health care provider who encourages her patients every day to create better habits associated with their health and wellness.  She is wife to the hilarious and heavily bearded John, with whom she takes many adventures. Dr. Peggy is also a human being on a mission to create better habits for herself and by doing so, she hopes to inspire others to take up the challenge with her!  Jenny is a marketing professional in the international trade sector.  She and her husband Jeff are parents to hilarious 5 year old Ethan.  Her year of monthly habit resolutions in 2015 piqued her interests in how habits are created and best kept.

Join them weekly to explore how to create healthy habits that stick on the journey to becoming better humans!



Until next time,


Let’s get to work on improving your most important project.  That’s YOU!  Stay focused and get after it!

Thank you so much for listening.

Big Love,

Peggy and Jenny