Source: Photo by Bruno Gomiero on Unsplash
The traditional landline telephone has been replaced with the all-singing-and-dancing smartphone. Even though it enables you to make and take calls, most of its use is for everything but: taking photos, scrolling social media, writing emails, scheduling your calendar, making payments, and checking the weather just to name a few. It is like a computer in your hand!
Modern technology supports progress, enhances innovation, creates new careers, and forges connections. But, like most things, it has its downsides. With the addictive nature of social media, email, and being forever connected, it’s increasingly hard to switch off.
Our relationship with technology has become increasingly heavy and complex, adding weight to our shoulders that wasn’t there before. Some days, it feels like these advancements in tech have surpassed us and our ability to handle them.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can choose to build a better relationship with your technology and ensure that it is adding to your life rather than detracting from it.
Here are some ideas on how you can get started:
- Keep your bedroom a technology-free zone.
You deserve a good night’s sleep, and your body needs it. Keeping your bedroom a technology-free zone helps to make this happen. No scrolling or posting means no dopamine shots in the brain that keep your mind alert and awake. No screens means no blue light that interferes with your natural sleep cycle. The only exception to the rule is an e-reader like a Kindle that doesn’t do any of this.
- Start your day by being 30-minutes offline.
You don’t want to start your day by being reactive to the world and what’s going on in it. Instead, you want to start your day by connecting with you. Journal, meditate, do some stretching, do yoga, go for a jog, get some fresh air, or simply enjoy your morning tea, coffee, or juice in complete silence and mindfulness.
- End your day by being 30-minutes offline.
The same goes for the evening. You want to wrap up your day by connecting with yourself rather than scrolling mindlessly about random nonsense. Take a moment to say thank you for the day or even go as far as to list what specific things you were grateful for in your day. Do another round of stretching or meditation, or simply read a good book.
- Delete push notifications from your smartphone.
Unless you are waiting for an important call, there is no reason for you to stay glued to your smartphone waiting for it to tell you what’s going on. Knowing when someone liked, commented on, or shared your post adds nothing to your life except mindlessness. Instead, have dedicated times you check your phone for any alerts—for example, at the start and end of your morning, and at the start and end of your afternoon.
- Limit your scrolling time.
Do you ever pick up your phone to do something, forget what you were meant to do, end up on social media, and all of a sudden 30 minutes have passed? This is the addictive nature of social media. If you want to scroll, give yourself dedicated times to do it—and limit it. Set an alarm for however long you want to allow yourself to scroll. Don’t scroll purely for boredom. Imagine if every time you were bored you read an informative article, wrote something, or did some stretches instead? Social media can become a never-ending black hole if you let it.
- Switch on an out-of-office message during your holidays—and stay offline.
That’s right. Going offline on holidays is more important than ever. Emails are one thing, and social media are another. Have some dedicated offline holidays where you vow to stay disconnected from the online world and fully connect to your offline world. It will revive you like nothing else.
- Do a social media audit.
List every social media platform you are on. Identify what you like about each platform (if nothing, leave it blank). Brainstorm what you dislike about each platform (I’m sure you can think of things here!). Decide what you want to let go of to make each of them more enjoyable. Sometimes this might be letting go of the whole platform. Remember, this is your choice. You don’t have to be on any social media if you don’t want to be. Yet, you can be on any that you enjoy. So, if there is a platform you like to use, stick to it. Forget about the others.
- Review the people or accounts you follow.
Which ones do you like interacting with? Which ones inspire you or make you feel good? Which ones are you following simply because they’re popular or because you feel like you should? You get to choose what you see on your feed (minus the sponsored posts and algorithm-boosting posts). Make sure you produce a feed that makes you feel good, that motivates you, inspires you, or informs you about something you want to be informed about. Otherwise, what’s the point?
- Stop feeling the pressure to post.
Just because people are doing it doesn’t mean you have to. You can post anything or nothing. You can share bits of your day or something you hope to be inspirational. Simply do whatever you feel like doing. And do it for yourself, not for the likes. Most importantly, be real.
- Have at least one morning, afternoon, or day offline every week.
Better yet, make this screen-free time. No iPads, no TVs, nada. Go old school and enjoy life the old-fashioned way. Hang with friends, cook, bake, garden, exercise, do a jigsaw! Anything goes. You’ll be surprised how much sweeter life is when you give your undivided attention to it.