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Making My Relationships Better Thanks To The Xfinity Mobile Phone Cleanse

Making my smartphone relationship better with the Xfinity Mobile phonecleanse

In theory, this was going to be as easy as Sunday morning. I’d uninstall some apps, go grey for a day, back up and delete all those b-roll selfies and the gigabyte-wasting bizarre videos of feet and nostrils taken by my daughters, and I’d keep my gorgeous lilac purple S9+ away from me while I sleep so that I’d sleep.

Easy, right, because I’m not married to my phone and I’m not wedded to every single thing on it. Not me. Nope.



Change is good, but change is hard. The Xfinity Mobile Phone Cleanse wanted to change my relationship with my smartphone and that’s a good thing. The weeklong cleanse made me think and at times, caused me some pain but I’m better off for having gone through it although man it wasn’t always easy!

Making my smartphone relationship better with the Xfinity Mobile phonecleanse

Day one, however, was a breeze. I had it made in the shade.

I’m unlike the average person in many ways, I knew that already, but the overall lack of apps I keep on my phone is yet another way I zig when others zag. Most have over 100 apps while only using 9. I have barely a quarter of that total and use only a handful on a regular basis (I’m looking at you, Podcast Addict!).

Still, there was some app fat to trim.

Parking apps from towns I rarely visit, bye bye.
Solitaire, how did you even get on my phone? I have no games on there, and I’m oddly proud of this.
Yelp? I have no need for you and your too often obviously spiteful reviews.
Prisma, you were fun for a while but the ‘turn photos into art’ thing grew tiresome quickly.

I liked day one of the Phone Cleanse a lot. Additionally, the helpful post-Phone Cleanse tip of one app on, one app out when it comes to installing new phone apps reminds me of my toy/stuff rule and I love it. Want a new stuffed animal, kiddo? Cool, but one of your old ones needs to be donated to a child in need. Long for that exciting new video game? Okay, but once we get home you need to pick one from your current stash to donate to Goodwill or sell back to Gamestop. It’s smart and this rule keeps stuff (physical and digital) from overwhelming your life.

Day two of the Phone Cleanse challenge was…a challenge.

For a photographer who edits a fair amount of his work on his phone (hey there, Snapseed!), adjusting my Android’s color to greyscale proved, gulp, frustrating. But hey, it was only a day and it showed me that the duller my screen, the less I’m drawn to stare at it for long stretches. Grey is good for forcing a tech/real life balance into your day to day, and hey if you shoot in black and white you can still edit to your heart’s content! Even if grey ain’t your thing, reduce your phone screen’s brightness to save some battery and make your phone less like a shiny object you crave endlessly! 🙂

No notifications in day three is how I live my digital life every day and it is glorious.

A couple of years ago I stopped the dings and pop ups from social media and email. I was becoming a slave to the notification — OH OH OH SOMETHING NEW IS HAPPENING!! — and learned that I was happier and less likely to pull my phone out of my pocket if there was no vibration, no ding, no buzz, no nothing. Having ownership over when and how I receive updates is a liberating thing and I’ve been better off for it.

The middle of my Xfinity Mobile Phone Cleanse saw me deleting many GBs of photos and videos. I have my pics and vids automatically backed up doubly-so with Google and Amazon, so I often will go through old media and trash it — that’s my favorite no-WiFi plane hobby — because I don’t want my droid bogged down with photography, especially not the HUGE .jpeg files I transfer over from my smart camera!

Day 5 was a huge hurdle to leap over because day 5 was all about 60.

60 minutes that is, only checking my phone once every 60 minutes. Once an hour. No joke. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Making my smartphone relationship better with the Xfinity Mobile phonecleanse

No day of this cleanse makes you look in the mirror more honestly than day 5 because 60 minutes, 3,600 seconds is a LOOOOOONG time to not look at your phone. It’s just an hour, right, no biggie, but OH MAN are we an addicted bunch of smartphone lovers.

I am less productive when my phone is near me but the Phone Cleanse tip of assigning special rings/sounds to communication that may come in from the most important people in your life is flat out brilliant. That way I can know that I won’t miss anything important from anyone important and that way I can leave my phone alone while working or running or hanging out with my girls.

Making my smartphone relationship better with the Xfinity Mobile phonecleanse

At the end of it all, come day 7 of the Xfinity Mobile Phone Cleanse, I feel like my relationship with my beautiful phone has been recalibrated for the better.

It’s still not perfect — I will grab it more than once an hour to refresh my podcasts, to check email, to see how many hearts were given to the new photo I posted on Instagram — but it is better.

And better is a perfectly good outcome from any cleanse.

Thanks to Xfinity Mobile for partnering with me for this Phone Cleanse experience and series of stories. All opinions expressed above are honest and unbiased, as always.

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