My name is Courtney and I’m addicted to my smartphone. Sometimes its Facebook or Instagram that sucks me in. Sometimes it’s the endless rabbit hole that is YouTube or Pinterest. And sometimes I spend too much time looking at old photos and videos reminiscing. Sound familiar?
Well, being online is sort of what I do for a living. So, how do I break up with my smartphone so I can be more present in life while still maintaining my online social media business? I’ve read a handful of articles on this increasing issue and found this article pretty helpful. Although we are just into a week of 2019, I’ve found some actions that have been helping.
First, what helped me is to identify why I needed to be on my phone. Was it boredom? Was it to escape? Was it to quiet my anxiety? A little bit of all of these to be honest. Once I realized why, it helped me develop a plan. There is so much life to be lived outside our phones. Think about 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. Although our never ending news cycle has helped us be more informed, I feel it has also hurt us as a society. I found myself so ‘information drunk’ from digitally ingesting everything from actual news to funny baby goat videos, that it was running my life. And nothing should have that much power.
Set Designated ‘Quiet Hours’
Whether you work from your home/phone or not, this should help you. On most smartphones you can create ‘Do Not Disturb’ times where your phone won’t ring, vibrate or notify you of anything….you know, pure bliss. Determining the right time is crucial, because you don’t want to jump in headfirst. Start small and gradually increase your ‘quiet time’ the more you get used to the routine. Example: 11pm-6am would be a good start. I’ve got mine down to 5pm-10am. Working pretty well so far. Relay this information to those you talk to on a regular basis, that way they won’t assume you are blowing them off.
I know it sounds silly. But it is a real problem for me. Whether it’s scrolling through newsfeeds during commercial breaks while watching TV or trying to avoid eye contact as you are in public transit, it’s all bad. I found that the more I was concerned with the posts from others, the less I was satisfied with my daily life. Which is a problem. It has affected my focus in work, my sleep schedule and my ability to pay attention to anything longer that 7 seconds. So when you are having a meal with family or friends, put the phone away. When you walk into the door from work, put your phone away.
Side rant: Have you paid attention to the crowds at events lately? Everyone is taking photos and videos with their phones. Just a sea of smart phones above the crowd at concerts. Be present. I promise someone with professional equipment who is skilled in videography is documenting this event so you don’t have to worry about anything but actually enjoying yourself. Maybe it’s a product of an oversharing world. I’m guilty of this as well. This post is not meant to shame, just information in hopes to inspire you to actually live, and not try and document your life for others to enjoy. Focus on enjoying YOUR life.
Find a ‘Home’ for your smartphone
Find a spot in your home that you can simply leave it and it won’t temp you for attention. I’ve found my nightstand is NOT one of those places. Way too alluring late at night when I can’t sleep. If you like to have your phone near you for emergencies or an alarm clock, find a spot in your room that you can’t reach from your bed. This way it won’t be the very first thing you reach for in the morning. Take a moment for you first. I’ve noticed a difference just in a few days.
If you find yourself longing for your ‘fix’ you’ll need to fill the time and distract yourself from this distraction (I know how ludicrous this sounds, but that’s how I feel to be honest. Side note: I picture myself as Gollum longing for my precious) Sad and a little funny, but honest. Maybe some organization is in order. If you are anything like me, there is always an opportunity to be more organized. Which is pretty gratifying. Maybe it’s reading more, maybe its puzzles, maybe it’s cooking, whatever you are passionate about. Or get outside and take a walk, do some gardening or *Gasp* actually talk to someone. You know that thing we used to do before tech ruled our lives. Talk and really listen. It will feel good.
Work in Progress
No, I’m not perfect and I will never claim to be. Striving for perfection will make you just as anxious and depressed as overdosing on social media. Take each step at a time. Give yourself a break. I’m always up for feedback as well. Do you also battle with technology addiction? What has worked for you? Please, if you don’t mind sharing I’d love to hear from you.