By Michelle Graff
Michelle-blogSo far, the negative repercussions have been few, and the rewards many.

No one in any life-threatening situations was unable to reach me and I didn’t miss out on any vital social functions or information, insofar as I can tell. Instead, I was forced to focus on the people I was with (downside: they didn’t leave their phones at home so I spent a lot of time staring at them staring at their phones) and the other human beings who were out and about (also staring at their phones, mostly.)

Being smartphone-less for a few afternoons also forced me to realize how dependent on this device I’ve become, for what exactly is unclear. But I am addicted. Many times throughout the several-hour span, I found myself instinctively reaching for my handbag to grab my phone and look at … what, I don’t know. I just know the desire was there, like a reflex.

I also know that I am not alone and apparently so does WNYC, New York’s public radio station.

The station’s New Tech City podcast, which examines how technology is changing our lives, launched a project this week called “Bored and Brilliant: The Lost Art of Spacing Out,” and I am among the foolhardy phone-leavers who have signed up so far.

The aim of Bored and Brilliant is for listeners to begin tracking their daily smartphone usage through an app called Moment (Android users must use BreakFree). Then, during the week of Feb. 2, New Tech City will issue a series of challenges to participants. The goal: to get people to put down their smartphones and let their minds wander to see where they go.

I won’t frighten you by sharing the statistics on how many times a day we look at our phones or what percentage of people sleep with a smartphone by their side, though if you’re in the mood for a scare, you can see them by listening to or reading “The Case for Boredom,” the first podcast/story of Bored and Brilliant.

But the gist of the story, and the New Tech City challenge, is that smartphones allow us to fill every idle moment of the day with games, web surfing and social media scrolling.

This isn’t good, researchers say, because it’s when we don’t have anything to focus on, when we are “bored,” that the creative ideas begin to flow. That's why so many good ideas come about in the shower. Our mind can wander in that 10-, 15- or 20-minute stretch because it doesn’t have anything else to do; it’s free.

I don’t know exactly what the challenges will be but I am eager to find out, and to see where my mind goes when I start living a life that’s a little more phone-free.

I encourage anyone who feels that they are in need of a creative spark to join me. You can sign up right here.

Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.