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Cell Block Challenge Step One: Don't use your phone in transit

Cell Block Challenge Step One: Don't...

SPOKANE, Wash. - We all know it's a bad idea to look at our phones while we're driving. Some people can't seem to resist. We also use our phones while walking, whether its across the street or down the hall to the bathroom. Step one of our quest to get you out of your phone and back into the world is to not use your phone today while in transit.

We put our three Cell Block Challenge participants to the test. 

Phaedra Hansen, a working single mom, hoped this step would break her worst phone habit.

"I use it when I'm driving to text back or look at my maps," Hansen said. "But, then I'll catch myself watching Snapchat stories. I'm like, 'why am I watching Snapchat stories when I'm driving?'" 

While Hansen struggles in the car, some people have a harder time putting their phone away while walking down the street or down the hallway. When we hold it in our hands, we can't seem to help ourselves. 

"If I was walking anywhere [besides across campus], I'd definitely be on my phone," said Gonzaga University senior Kelsie Morgan. "It's like protection, you feel like you're in your bubble."

We look down at our phones in transit to pass the time. We also do it to be more efficient. Why simply walk down the stairs when you can walk down the stairs and catch up on Facebook. Research in the book Bored and Brilliant shows people pick up their phones less during the day when we keep them out of sight and out of mind. Keeping our phones in our purse or on our desk means we're less likely to look at it than if we kept it in our pocket or in our hand.

So, how did our challenge participants do?

Hansen had to take a couple of work calls while on the road, so she failed a little bit there. But, at work, she definitely noticed a difference.

"I left it behind at my desk when I was walking around, so that felt really nice not to have it on me," Hansen said.

Financial planner Mike Welch noticed a difference right away on his drive to work, and not just because he couldn't listen to his favorite podcast.

"I've created a habit," he noticed. "You're at a stop and you just instinctively check your phone to see if something's there. So, that was cool on Monday that it was just put away and I could just enjoy driving and being in the moment."

The result? He only picked up his phone 26 times that day, much lower than the average.

As for our college student Kelsie?

"I did find myself having that urge to grab my phone and having to fight that." she said. "But, it was good when you don't reach for your phone and you can look up and say, 'Oh, that's a nice tree!' It was eye opening, I guess."

See, put down the phone - and, notice trees! 

As you move on to step 2 of the Cell Block Challenge, you may find yourself less likely to reach for your phone in the car or on the street. One step down, four more to go!