Technology is great. It moves our world forward in incredibly amazing ways. It can also be extremely addictive to the point of severely affecting our personal lives.
Take smartphones for example.
How often are you on your phone now?
The shift from watching 20+ hours of television per week to mobile screen time has increased dramatically in the last 10 years. I am guilty of looking at my phone impulsively, afraid of missing that critical message. It has become an unofficial addiction. Here are some ways to minimize your screen time and get back to what matters – enjoying reality.
Wherever you are going, trust me, you can let the phone sit at home. Worried about missing that photo op? Just enjoy the adventure for this one time. Live in the moment with less. Take baby steps. Go on a walk for 30 minutes without it. Next time try one hour without it. Eventually you will reduce the anxiety of not having the phone at your hip.
Turn off notifications.
The emails and texts can wait. Every time the buzz goes off, your brain is interrupted, requiring you to refocus on your task. This is exhaustive to your productivity. Schedule times to check out your emails. I like checking in at 11am and 4pm each day. I challenge you to build a habit of only checking your email once at the end of each day.
Stop the phone browsing.
If you need to read, try to rely on your eBook reader, paperback or laptop. Even if you’re only switching to another electronic device, eliminating the phone browsing impulse will keep you disciplined in your learning.
Put it in your desk drawer until the end of the day.
Out of sight, out of mind. Enough said.
Fully pay attention to the conversation.
Here’s my dinner table rule: no phone. Every social event I attend, there are people talking to me. The easy escape is to put my head down and browse away. It’s a slap in the face when you’re trying to talk with someone and they ignore you like that. Be respectful of others, as well as your time with them.
Play the Phone Stacking Game.
Everyone puts their phone in the middle of the table. If someone picks up their phone, they pay the bill. It’s a simple but effective way to ensure the group is focused on the conversation.
Delete your social accounts (or minimize usage to one or two accounts).
This might be extreme for some of us, but maybe you have too many social media accounts. Delete the ones you rarely use. It’s easy to sign up for free accounts, but take some time out of your day to cut back on how many you have.
Get rid of your phone and go back to landline.
Another extreme case for some of us. Maybe we’ve become so absorbed on our device that it’s best to go backward. Consider this a last resort for severe phone addictions.