Autumn Update

When was the last time you completely forgot about your phone for a block of time?

I don’t ask this rhetorically; take a minute to really see if you can remember.

Maybe it was one evening last month when you did that design workshop that you’ve always wanted to try.

Maybe it was two hours last Saturday while you inhaled fresh air and met with a friend.

Maybe it was twenty minutes last night when you pulled your dinner out of the oven.

For most of us, our phones have become an extension of our hands. And if they’re not in our hands, they’re in our purses, our back pockets, or on the counter just a few feet away.

I’m not writing to condemn phone use—not by any stretch. My phone is invaluable in helping me stay organised, form lasting habits, capture spontaneous moments, and connect with family and friends.

But just five or so years ago, I couldn’t have foreseen how heavily I’d rely on a piece of technology—and how easy it would be to honour a piece of steel and circuitry over the things I care most about.

To me, this huge shift we’ve all undergone means we need to keep our eyes open to how we’re really using our devices and how we want to be using our devices.


1. Studies (like this one) have found that excess social media use predicts a decline in happiness.

2. People are fascinated with what weare fascinated with. Read more at The Art of Staying Focused in a Distracting World.

3. You learn empathy through eye contact.

4. Phones instantly take us out of the moment.

5. Time spent digitally connected could be better spent developing connections with each other and the great outdoors.

I’ll close by personally answering the question at the top of this post. When was the last time Iforgot to check my phone for a length of time?

As it was our last Autumn with my group of friends from High School in Auckland, we trekked off to an isolated Heritage Estate for a couple days. University was well and truly over for the Semester so, we sat lazily inside our house watching the sunset on white four-post beds.

We had run out of Rosé and our patience with each other when suddenly I knew it was time to get outside, no matter how unpredictable the temperatures.

We put on more layers than I think I’ve ever seen in my life and headed outside right at sunset. We played Squash, pétanque and swam while the less out-going members of the group strolled the gardens and read books.

We headed in with red cheeks and slightly blue lips, but in that one hour, we’d laughed more than we had in three days.

When I got inside, I saw that I’d missed two texts and five new emails, but somehow, it didn’t really seem to matter.