Ever since smartphones came on the scene, we have seen them gradually overtake our culture. They have become a constant presence in BOTH our professional and our personal lives. However, this constant sensory overload and overwhelm of information makes our thoughts scattered, impacts our feelings, and ultimately, shapes our LIVES.
- The AVERAGE smartphone uses their phone 2 hours 51 minutes per day
- The average user clicks, swipes, and taps 2,617 times PER DAY
- 47% of parents are concerned that their child is addicted to screens while, 89% of parents blame themselves
- The amount of screen time per day — regardless of what the content is — goes hand in hand with the higher instances of depression
Whew… Crazy. With all this usage, it’s easy to assume that phones are impacting our productivity. And as a business woman, I want my work to be focused, intentional, and not scattered, diverting my attention from one app to the next.
Not only from a business perspective, but from a LIFE perspective, I want my life to be present, focused, intentional. I want to really LIVE. Not refresh my feed every few minutes. And while that sounds great, I understand how difficult it can be to break our phone and screen habits, which is exactly why I wanted to make this episode full of TANGIBLE tips, tricks, and methods that will ensure that you can put the phone down, and keep your eyes up. You in?!
Phone Usage is Everywhere
We’ve all been there: we have one MOMENT of free time and we instantly reach for our phone, sometimes without even consciously realizing it. One time I deleted a few apps off my phone to reduce my usage, and I realized my thumb would AUTOMATICALLY move to “click” the app even when it wasn’t there! I was a total creature of habit with my phone!
So, how did it get like this? Increasingly since smartphones have released, so have their capabilities. While cell phones used to be for, well, calling people, they have become a vessel for taking photos, answering emails, navigation systems, recording devices, business tools, the list goes on.
With rapidly evolving phone capabilities, it’s no wonder we have become more dependent. As our phone features increase so does our dependence on them.
So What’s the Issue?
Okay, so we use our phones more. What’s the big deal? Well, actually, our phone usage impacts us on an emotional, mental, and physical level.
EMOTIONALLY: Constantly being connected via social media is shown to increase comparison, issues with self-confidence, and increased feelings of loneliness.
MENTALLY: From a mental standpoint, constantly being attached to devices has been correlated with being less productive, shorter attention span, and feeling “less present” in day-to-day life.
PHYSICALLY: Many people don’t think that screens impact our physical status, but smartphones have been shown to negatively impact our sleep, potentially negatively impact our thumbs (from typing and scrolling), and constantly expose us to harmful blue light.
So how do we take steps to a healthier relationship with screens? This is not a “cold turkey” subject as SO much of day-to-day life and business happen from screens, but I do have 5 tips below that are sure to TRANSFORM your relationship with screens, for good. You ready?
Number 1: Do Not Sleep with a Phone in Your Room
Rule one, and my most important! Sleep is the absolute FOUNDATION of our health, and if we are interrupting those precious hours of sleep eye by staying up late scrolling, or even worse, scrolling first thing in the morning… You are doing NO FAVORS for your sleep habits and subsequent emotional, mental, and physical effects.
“But, Jenna, it’s my alarm clock!”
If you rely on your phone for an alarm clock, something tells me that instead of turning it off when it wakes you up, you go down the rabbit hole of checking all your messages, opening every social media app, and checking out your inbox before your feet even hit the ground. While it’s tempting to check in on what happened overnight (ya know, while you’re busy doing a thing called sleeping) taking your phone out of the bedroom will help you be more productive, and increase your overall wellness.
There’s something about just laying in bed for few minutes while you wake up and think of the things you’re thankful for. Lately I’ve been trying to spend just 10 minutes in bed, no phones, snuggling, petting the pups, and practicing gratitude. Since doing this, I feel less frantic in the mornings and I feel a sense of joy and not dread about what I’m about to do for the day.
What would your life look like if you took an extra 10, 20, even 30 minutes to start your day off right? If you make these tweaks and spend a little time reflecting, stretching, moving, and prioritizing, you’ll feel more focused, more excited, and more grounded as you enter your workday. These tiny tweaks to your routine can make a GIANT difference!
Number 2: Shutting Off at 7 PM
Okay, this one can be hard, but WHAT. A. DIFFERENCE.
You guys, evening can be such a precious time with our spouse, children, friends, loved ones, or just time by ourselves. Do we really want to fill that time mindlessly scrolling? NO!
Think of all the other things you can do that would fill your cup instead: baking, a family movie night, reading that book you’ve been meaning to finish for years, writing a note to a loved one, tackling that to-do list that has been weighing on you — whatever it is, actually TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF.
I get it, our screens are basically like an extra limb, but I promise once you get over the initial “discomfort” of not having your screen on you 24/7, you’ll instantly feel lighter and more connected to the real life MAGIC happening all around you. Trust me, okay?!
Number 3: No Email on Your Phone
This. One. Is. HUGE. Guys, no one in the world should be reachable 24/7, and I really believe that. As if the text messages and phone calls weren’t enough, why on earth do we need constant dings and vibrates tellings us about an email?
Often times, most emails are NOT urgent whatsoever, so why not take this opportunity to delete it from your phone? Between spam, business matters, and personal life, I would say less than 1% of emails are actually urgent. And if you’re thinking, “What if someone needs me?” I promise you, if it was TRULY an emergency, they could reach you via phone call or text message.
Take this as PERMISSION that you, my friend, do not need to be 100% reachable at every moment. Not every email needs a response, not every call needs to be taken. Be selective with your screen time. Spend less time responding to emails and more time connecting with your spouse in REAL-TIME. Life is happening right now! And email DOES NOT need to be along for the ride 24/7. 🙂
Number 4: You Don’t Have to Give Your Number to Everyone Who Asks
Now this may sound silly, but truly guys, do you want EVERYONE able to reach you? While giving out a phone number used to be no big thing (because if you weren’t home, it just went to voicemail and you answered it on YOUR TIME), but now, when our phones are with us 24/7, do we really want everyone having access to that? I sure don’t!
I don’t want this to sound diva-ish at all, but I am very particular about who I disclose my phone number to. Not because I’m “too good” to hand it out or anything of that sort, but because I want as few people to be able to reach me as possible! I want my phone to be a vessel to connect with Drew, my family, and friends — not everyone in the world!
And this goes for everything in your life, be protective of your own boundaries. If you are constantly saying “yes” to things you don’t want to do or handing out your phone number to people you don’t necessarily connect with, what’s the point?
I get it, it can be awkward to not give out a phone number, but just say, “I’d love it you reached out to my email address instead!” And boom, you don’t blow them off, but you are still protecting that 10 digit number, ya know?! This is a tiny step that can make a huge impact!
Number 5: Assess Yourself
See how bad your phone addiction actually is… I have used the app Moment a few times to assess where I’m “at” in terms of phone usage, and I am always shocked at what I see.
Moment is an iOS app that automatically tracks how much you use your iPhone and iPad each day. If you’re using your phone too much, you can set daily limits on yourself and be notified when you go over. You can even force yourself off your device when you’re over your limit.
It measures all sorts of statistics that show you how often you are truly using your phone, and I think the results could astound you. It opened my eyes to how easy it is to just pick up my phone when there is a moment of boredom or down-time. Yikes! Sometimes you need a little dose of reality to create change, and I can definitely say that tracking my phone usage has completely changed my relationship with my phone for the better.
10 Extra Quick Tips
There you have my five main tips to ensuring that your phone is used for GOOD and reducing our screen time every day. Although those are my absolute go-to tips, here are some extra tricks and hacks to ensure that you are using your phone less and less everyday, most of which require being self-aware and actively changing habits that encourage less screen time.
Nurture Other Interests: Invest in your hobbies to continue developing real life interests and skills.
Communicate: If you want to make an effort to use less screen time, be open with your spouse or friends and tell them what you are thinking.
Keep it Out of Sight: It’s amazing how much the “out of sight, out of mind” saying applies to your phone usage.
Turn off Notifications: It is one of the easiest ways to reduce use! When your phone buzzes, it’s much easier for you to pick it up and use it. Turn off notifications and check your apps when you FEEL LIKE IT, not instantaneously.
Delete Apps: Every so often I’ll delete some of my most-used apps just as a little reset.
Identify Your Phone Triggers: Is there anything in particular that keeps you reaching for your phone? Pay attention, identify these small moments, and create actions in place that will result in less phone usage.
Meet in Person: If it’s an option move your interactions into real life. Meet for coffee or dinner instead of Facetiming, etc.
Don’t Use it as a Wall: If you find it easier to communicate through messaging or social media or vent online, work hard to change that!
Turn it Off and Put it Away: Placing your phone in a drawer at work or leaving it in another room on charge can help reduce the anxiety of wanting to check it.
Notice Your Boredom: Often times, when we are just laying on the couch looking at your phone, we could be doing something much more productive (and fulfilling!) Notice when you are wasting time and use that time to go on a walk, bake some cookies, look at old photo albums — change things up!
There we go, Goal Diggers! You have NO EXCUSE! This episode is jam-packed with little tips, tricks, and hacks you can implement TODAY in order to balance out your relationship with technology. Life is full of choices, and I think today is a perfect day to CHOOSE to invest less in screen time, and more in real-life! What do you say?
If one of your friends, family members, or even your spouse could use the message of this episode, why don’t you take a second to send it to them right now? Together, and little by little, we can all fight back on screen obsession, and get back to the real life magic.