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Emily Gorcenski banned her phone from the bedroom and started reading again. “I started to take inventory of the hours I was losing. It was bad. I was worried I was wasting my life with bullshit I could not control and could do nothing about.”

Discussion  14 comments

Jason KottkeMOD

Has anyone tried something like this? Or some other way to keep yourself from scrolling endlessly in the morning or evening? How did it work out for you?

David Glick

Not exactly -- I deleted all of the "social media" apps two nights ago and it has helped me open up my books. It's been quite amazing to see how much time I have now.

Christopher Jobson

Love this and recommend it. I don't even allow phone chargers in the bedroom. Phone goes in another room at night. Same goes for the kiddo, absolutely no phones in the bedroom. And yes, books are back.

Lacey V

I have trouble reading real books before bed because I tend to fall asleep too quickly, so I've substituted listening to audio books while knitting to keep my hands busy and off my phone. Trying to have a small portable project that I can carry around helps with the morning scrolling too (although I haven't been able to abandon my routine of playing NYT games while I sip my first cup of tea).

Honestly might give this hallway mounted phone idea a go. I've tried unsuccessfully to keep my phone in the kitchen but it was too far away so I would often forget to leave it there and not want to walk back downstairs or other similar excuses.

brian c.

Wow, this is a wake-up call (pun not intended, but I'm keeping it!). I have a hard time getting to sleep ... mostly because I can't seem to put my phone down at night. Thanks @Jason. Good motivation to figure out how to unplug the nightstand permanently.


I've done this, but it hasn't really changed my habits or sleep patterns.

I instead linked an old Apple Watch to my iPhone and leave the watch in the bedroom. It acts as a phone ringer so if anyone calls me at night in an emergency, I'll hear the Apple Watch ring.

Matthew Battles

I don't find it hard to leave the phone alone at night—but in the morning, forget it! I wake early, and can spend the predawn hour locked in a doomscrolling spiral. So I'm doing the Gorcenski shuffle on the morning end: leaving the phone in the bedroom when I go downstairs to make my coffee.

Kenzie B.

The biggest thing that has helped me scroll less is the Screen Time function of iphones. Mornings are typically my most productive time of day so from 7am to 1pm I use Downtime to lock myself out of apps that I easily get sucked into (email, internet browser, instagram, etc) while still allowing the use of others (messaging, music, podcasts). I also set myself a time limit for Instagram (30min per day). Sometimes I bypass the settings but that causes me to reflect as to why I'm bypassing them...which feels incrementally better than no reflection at all.

I'll second the idea of doing something with your hands while listening to a podcast or audiobook. That works well for me, too, but I don't always have a knitting or sewing project to work on.

Wayne Bremser

the problem for me is Libby is my reading app, I often read while my wife is asleep. what I'd like is geolocation that only allows a few apps like Libby (and the alarm system app) in the bedroom...

Katharin Miller

I have had almost the same experience as Emily (and funny enough also live in Berlin and work in tech). I moved my phone to a charger in my living room and now read before bed. I don't use an alarm and typically grab my phone in the morning and lounge a little too long but I'm working on cutting out that habit. I've also found the app OneSec has been helpful is mindlessly scrolling less.

Dave P

I found I was doing the same thing the author was but before bed. It got steadily worse up through the first few months of the pandemic. And I noticed I wasn't reading books as often anymore. I didn't move anything physically but I made a conscious effort to read a book before bed instead. It has really worked well. I'm reading more books and enjoying them, and it is a lot more relaxing and meaningful than being up-to-the-minute on world news during that time.

Jack Hays

I sort of had a realization recently about exactly this, how much time i was losing to social media instead of reading, which is something i truly love and always have loved. Frankly, it was a depressing realization. The wall-mounted phone holder is such a perfect, simple solution that gets me out of the "well i need it next to the bed in case someone calls" box.


My phone goes to sleep in the hallway around 8.30 p.m. along with my kids' phones (there is a a charging station where they can all spend the night). This works out well and has increased my (Kindle) reading and amount of sleep. Like others, I find it hard to start out the day without some mindless scrolling. I use Instagram in a browser since I find the app too addictive, this has reduced my screentime significantly.

Brady J. Frey

I used to do this, but keep a kindle by my bed instead of regular books. The kindle's dark mode (inverted night view) allows me to read in bed and not disturb my wife as she sleeps. My wife was not down for this phone blockade, but I asked that she put on headphones or keep her volume down, and not share anything with me. Honestly, helped a lot for me. Not just reading (I read a lot already for school and work, though pleasure reading went up), but sleep quality. I use an Oura ring to track my sleep, and it was a noticeable shift in quality and consistency. The phone had a way of just perking me up, and keeping me up unnecessarily. Light gentle reading before bed quiets my mind.

After embracing Focus on my iPhone, this served pretty much the same purpose. I leave my phone on my nightstand, and I have auto focus block out anything except an emergency. I use the nightstand mode to show a clock on a nice magsafe stand. I've not been tempted to reach for it.

This thread is closed for new comments & replies. Thanks to everyone for participating!