Liberation Past the Smartphone Tether

Mar 1 , 2024
By Eden Sahle

I joined an international company and transitioned to remote work a couple of years ago. Given the time-sensitive nature of the job, my employer requested that I refrain from using my phone during working hours. Without hesitation, I parted ways —a decision I had contemplated for a while due to the excessive time it consumed in my life. I was excited to explore life without this constant companion.

Smartphones have been a vital part of my daily routine. The company's request coincided with my growing sense that it had become more of a chore than a convenience. The constant pressure to be available hindered my productivity and personal time, transforming the device into an unnecessary burden.

I read research that suggests losing a phone can cause grief akin to losing a loved one. It depicts a link between excessive cellphone use and adverse mental health outcomes, including anxiety and depression. Recognising these negative effects on sleep and relationships, I decided to go phone-free.

Nearly two years into this journey, I discovered a newfound peace, taking control of my life rather than being governed by a pocket-sized computer. Going phone-free alleviated stress, revealing the considerable time I had been unwittingly squandering. I found time for focused daily planning, extensive reading, regular exercise and improved sleep. My marriage and work life thrived without the constant interruptions of calls and messages.

Abandoning the phone shielded me from political and social crises, allowing me to relish the journey of pregnancy without external stressors. I focused on my husband and myself, free from the constant connectivity demanded from morning to night. Dealing with family abroad used to chain me to late-night calls, affecting both sleep and personal freedom. Shifting communication to emails saved time and empowered me to control the duration of conversations.

Certainly, there were drawbacks—difficulty in connecting with those accustomed to my constant availability. Some friends disapproved of my approach, believing that spending hours on the phone is an inevitable part of life. However, the benefits of this lifestyle outweighed the drawbacks. Losing some friendships and facing criticism was a small price to pay for the newfound freedom and mental clarity.

As a mother, avoiding screens has become crucial to protect my daughter's development. Together with my husband, we decided to keep her away from it as well, embracing a screen-free home. We concur with studies that reveal adverse effects on the brain development of children under two exposed to screens. Our home is now a sanctuary for ample family time and meaningful discussions. This intentional choice allowed us to navigate parenthood without succumbing to the distractions of constant calls and streaming services.

Resisting the urge to pick up my phone became second nature as I trained myself. I found solace in focusing on things I valued, bringing a sense of accomplishment that constant phone use never did. I can say that my emotional state has notably improved, and the benefits of a phone-free lifestyle far outweigh any missed connections. My mind is clearer without the constant influx of calls and messages.

Looking ahead, I plan to remain phone-free until my daughter turns two. However, I aim to reintegrate controlled phone use to stay connected with those who contribute positively to my life.

PUBLISHED ON Mar 01,2024 [ VOL 24 , NO 1244]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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