When the iPhone rolled out one of its recent updates, everybody noticed the screen time feature. It shows you exactly how much time you’ve spent on your screen and what you spend the most time on, which doesn’t work when you need to spend all your time on Instagram for work but does make you more mindful of what you’re doing during the day. This was rolled out in a bid to make people more aware of the way they use technology. Google also announced a ‘digital wellbeing’ initiative, setting limits on specific apps and notifications, YouTube introduced a feature that reminds you how long you’ve been watching videos for. Facebook also admitted last year that passive use of its social network can leave people in negative moods.
This is nothing new. Research suggests that addictive use of phones and internet can trigger a chemical imbalance in the brain, the light from devices can interrupt your sleep, and in general, the entire ‘fakery’ of social media can make you feel depressed and low. If there’s one thing you need to try this year it’s a digital detox. But how do you do it? What’s the best way to step into a complete digital detox?
Move your to-dos offline
Using an app or the notes section of your phone is great while you’re on the go, but you need to stop relying on your phone or tech to be more productive. Instead, you should write your goals and to-dos down on paper. In 2014, the Association of Psychological Science reported that students who physically took notes received a memory boost – particularly when compared to those who took notes via a laptop.
Start with that, and you’ll feel more empowered to take breaks from your phone and technology. You can use the Getting Stuff Done planner to create your perfect day without needing a phone or a tablet and carry it around with you to remind yourself to enjoy every day and take care of yourself.
Remove some apps
Unconscious scrolling is what will keep you trapped in bad behavior. Think about it, how much time do you spend texting, checking Instagram, watching Facebook videos, wasting time.
So, the first thing you need to do is remove apps on your phone. Remove, remove, remove. Delete all those things that take up your time, because you can actually spend your time doing other things. Making plans, reading books, writing books, setting up businesses, working out. You don’t need your phone for everything.
Let your phone work for you
There are certain modes on your phone that can help you see your technology for what it really is. Turning on light modes at the end of the day can stop your phone screen light from interrupting your sleep, but there’s also a grayscale mode to make it less interesting to look at.
The grayscale mode will help you stay away from your phone by taking away the bright colors and positive associations.
Reward yourself for tech-free time
Apps like Forest guilt you into spending time away from your phone. You don’t want to be responsible for a dead, dilapidated forest, do you? The more time you spend away from your phone, the better your tree will grow. It’s a simple, but addictive concept. You want to aim for a huge full forest and prove to yourself you can stay away from your phone.
Ask yourself why
You’re pulling out your phone unconsciously. But why are you doing it? Are you checking on something for work when you should be relaxing? Are you bored? Are you looking for distractions from social situations? Pulling out your phone at the dinner table is the worst thing we are all guilty of.
We tend to use our phones as a security blanket, which we shouldn’t do. So embrace your fears, try to connect with people more often, and don’t use your phone as a crux.
Use the rule of thirds
Divide your life into thirds—8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep, and 8 hours free. We all know that working harder does not actually make you more productive, nor does working more hours, so work smart and keep your free time as best as you can.
Working more does not actually make us more productive. Working smart and keeping time free allows our minds to wander in ways that make the hours we do work more efficiently. Research shows that for rote workers, more than 40 hours per week diminishes productivity; for creative workers, more than 20 hours per week does. So if you let your smartphone control your life, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.
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