Do you sometimes feel like you need to disconnect in order to reconnect? You’re not alone. Dependency on our technology has become a growing theme in past years. Digital distractions are all around us, and our phones can often be the biggest culprit. We use them for everything from work, to connecting with friends, to keeping track of our children’s extracurricular activities. In fact, we feel so attached to our phones that more than 70% of us sleep with them within reach.
Technology is capable of making our day-to-day lives easy, but it can also lead to us missing out on being in the present for moments that matter. Putting your phone away may seem impossible, but our tech experts offer the following tips to help you occasionally unplug and take control of your tech life balance.
- Limit your notifications. Fear of missing out, more commonly known as FOMO, is a phenomenon that leads many of us to check our phones and social feeds often — after all, are we really living our best life if we didn’t see the picture Molly just uploaded of her new puppy?! Luckily, there is a cure for FOMO. Turn off push notifications and alerts so you won’t be tempted by the excess beeps and tweets, which can in turn assist with cutting back on your social media usage.
- Take full advantage of Do Not Disturb. When you need a mental break throughout the day, try turning on your phone’s Do Not Disturb mode. You can set exceptions, in case you’re waiting on an important call, and still use other features on your phone while in DND mode.
- Go grayscale. Your phone is designed to be alluring, full of eye-catching technicolor features and graphics that will grab your attention. Going grayscale makes your phone less attractive so you’ll be less tempted to keep looking at it.
- Let an app be your (tech) life coach. With apps such as Moment for iOS, you can track how much time you’re spending on your phone and set daily limits that will help you meet your digital detox goals. For Android, check out Space. This app helps you be more mindful of your phone usage by setting screentime goals and rewarding you with badges once you meet your daily goals.
- Power down at least half an hour before bedtime. In a recent Asurion survey, 62% of people say they’ve stayed up past their desired bedtime because they lost track of time while using their phone. Get better rest by removing your phone from the sleep equation. Recent updates in both iPhone’s iOS12 and Android Pie have built-in features that focus on your digital wellbeing and will help to make this change to your bedtime prep even easier. Bonus tip: keep your phone somewhere other than right beside your bed to be less tempted to pick it up and start mindlessly scrolling.
- Switch off mobile data. When you’re away from your home or office, try switching off the mobile data on your phone. Not only will this save you money on your bill, but it will also make it harder to use your phone unless Wi-Fi is readily available. Without data, you’ll be less tempted to use your phone and more likely to engage in conversations with those around you. Added bonus: it will improve your phone’s battery life.
- Step away from the phone. Last but not least, challenge yourself to put your phone away during certain times of the day – at bedtime and while you’re eating are great places to start. This will allow you to give your full attention to a task at hand, whether it be a work project, time with your kids and significant other, or just some time to be alone with your own thoughts.