Our lives have been taken over by technology – it is everywhere! Most of the time it makes our lives easier, but sometimes it can be really draining. Last week my average screen time on my mobile phone was nearly four hours a day! That's a scary number – it's more than a whole day last week that I lost to my screen. How many hours are we wasting looking at screens and how is it affecting us?
I use my mobile as my main phone line so it is an important way of connecting to other people. A watch is connected to it to alert me of notifications, but for some reason I can't seem to put my phone down. I would hear my phone if I was in another room, but if I leave a room my phone comes with me. Instead, I am on constant alert and any notification that goes off sees me reaching for my phone to check on it. Last week I had on average 63 notifications per day!
Breaking The Cycle
So how can we break this cycle and start to reconnect with the real world? If you don't already, start by putting your phone on silent when you go to a restaurant, cafe or eating a meal. This means you can focus on the people there and enjoy the moment without any distractions. Try using it like a landline phone and leave it on a table at home. This reduces the habit of picking it up constantly to check it.
Set a time in the evening to switch your phone off. Take this time to wind down and relax before going to bed and avoid screen time that could affect your sleep. Try not to check your phone immediately after waking – give it twenty minutes before you switch it back on.
Switch off those notifications! Do you need to be notified of every email you receive, or would it be acceptable for you to check your emails once a day? Until very recently I was guilty of this. My phone often notified me of emails, I grabbed my phone, deleted the (mostly junk) emails, then put it back down. Switch off the notifications for apps that you don't need to respond to immediately. You could even schedule in a time where you check and reply to notifications, if you're worried about missing anything. I now check my emails once a day and I haven't missed anything yet!
Another thing I've started doing is putting my phone in my bag instead of in my pocket. I check it less frequently and sometimes even forget it's there!
And lastly, for slightly more drastic action – switch off from social media. Try it just for a day, or maybe one day a week. If you feel guilty using this time to yourself, check out our previous post Self Care Is Not Selfish. Give yourself a break from the scrolling and liking. Everything will still be there when you come back the next day.