The rise of the smartphone has revolutionised the way many people interact with friends and family, run their business and generally live their lives on a day to day basis. But it’s also true that smartphone use can prove disruptive – even addictive – if not monitored.
It’s been found that the average adult in the UK checks their phone around 150 times a day, suggesting that technology has become an ever more intrusive element in our lives. This is probably even higher over the last few months of lockdown restrictions. So, if you feel like your phone use has got out of hand (no pun intended), here’s a few ways you might change your habits to help to reclaim some of the time you’re currently dedicating to your phone.
Set yourself boundaries – If you find yourself checking your phone whenever you have a few seconds free, laying down some rules for when you’re not going to use your phone at all is a good way to break this habit. Obviously, you shouldn’t be using your phone whilst driving, but the law still applies when you’re stopped at a red light or queuing in traffic. So how about agreeing that you won’t check it at all whilst you’re in your car, even when you’ve just parked. This will help create a phone-free space in your life. The same goes when you’re watching TV: if you find yourself sneaking a couple of minutes phone time during the ad breaks, stop yourself by getting up and doing something else.
Separate yourself from your phone – If you know that you’re not going to be using your phone or don’t need to look at it for any good reason, you don’t need to have it next to you. Put it on the other side of the room or even in a different room altogether – that way you won’t be tempted to check.
Banish notifications – One reason why many people check their phones so regularly is the noises or vibrations they give off. Most of the time these aren’t important – do you really need to know straight away that someone you used to work with has left a comment about a photo of your cat you put on Facebook? Switching off your notifications prevents your phone from intruding into your life so often, helping you to minimise your screen time.
Use the ‘off’ button – It’s likely that some of you reading this might not be able to remember the last time you actually switched your phone off. Even if you do this for just a couple of hours to help you focus on a task at work or at home, it can be incredibly liberating to know that you have some uninterrupted time when you can’t just pick up your device and check it whenever you want.
Why not use that extra time that you now have free, when you would have been scrolling through the news on social media on your phone to learn a new skill?
Doing something 5 or 10 minutes is a great place to start. Keep the habit ongoing and you will see the benefit, whether it’s a new language, or a new instrument, or even a new programming language.