20 years ago, we could not have imagined that our phone would be constantly attached to us, nor would we have thought a phone becomes far more powerful than our desktop computers at the times, with capabilities that extend to our social, work and home life.
Today, our smart phones are more than just a phone or computer. They have become necessary for banking, communication, work, school work and even identification. Our phones make us feel "connected". And yet, studies show we feel more disconnected from our peers than ever before.
Our constant phone usage also means that we are always open for business. Unlike previous times where it may have been considered rude to call someone after 8 pm, today we are always available to messaging, emails and phone calls. This, and our constant accessibility to news and current affairs also places us at point where we can quickly burn-out, or what is becoming to be known as techno-stress
What's the answer? To have a healthy relationship with your smart device. Know your limits and allow yourself downtime to have face-to-face contact with your family and friends and time on your own
Coming between your children and their devices may not be easy. Afterall, their phone is now part of their identity and the way they communicate with their peers. However, teaching your children to establish a healthy boundary with their phones is important. An understanding of what is real and what is "all for the gram"is vital for their own self esteem for their growing brains
Put away your smart phone for greater productivity
If you are feeling he constant pull towards your device throughout the day then it will be having an effect on your productivity at work and also at home. Looking at another screen, replying to messages or updating your social media all interrupt your work flow.
You may find yourself pulled to answer a message then quickly scroll your social media apps to make sure you haven't missed out on anything. Or, if you are so inclined - you may find yourself playing a quick game before returning to your work.
Surely, you will have noticed your new intolerance to reading any long paragraphs, preferring now to quickly scroll through an article to read the headlines, or the quick summary at the bottom.
How disconnecting can help you feel more reconnected
- FOMO. Social media is a constant stream of what everyone else is doing. It is a highlight reel of life, showing only an angle of what is actually happening. The feeling of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) may not be instantly recognisable, but its hum will be in the back of your head as you recognise holiday places, restaurants and even TV shows that people are talking about on social media.
- Time. How much time are you really spending on social media? Your phone is like a time vortex, without realising it you can easily spend half an hour comparing prices of clothing without even looking up!. Put the phone down and spend this time with your family.
- Eating without your devices will have you sharing stories of your day with your family, This is an important time to gain a picture of how your family members are doing and what their days look like. Besides this, it is an opportunity to laugh and be thankful for time together
- Get away from the anger. Why is everyone so outraged online, willing to share an angry opinion on just about everything? In the real world, most people won't tell you how awful your outfit is or ask you why you have put on a couple of kilos over Christmas. Reconnecting offline with your friends is so good for your self-worth and will restore your faith that not every human is a grumpy gnome.
Tips to disconnecting from your smart phone
- Use a smart phone app to monitor your usage and set time limits. Apple devices feature an in-built screen time control that you can set as for your children, or for yourself. This feature will also tell you just how much time you and your family are spending on each app. If you are using a Samsung or android phone there are apps that will set a time limit on your phone
- Put your phone away in the evening. Set an example for your children by allocating a box or charging station where all devices are stored from 6pm until morning
- Don't remove phones as part of a punishment
- Grow a tree. The Forest App helps you to keep off your smart phone for lengths of time by encouraging you to grow a tree during periods you are away from your phone. This imagery will quickly help you build a forest, representing the time you spend away from your device. What's more, Forest app have planted more than 600,00 real trees thanks to its users. Spend less time on the phone - plant more trees. Win/win
- Stop dual-screening. Watching a movie or tv show? put your phone away
- Make a phone call instead of chatting via messenger. A message conversation on and off can span hours per day. A quick phone call will keep you up to date with your friends, but make you more productive in the workplace
- Charge your phone in a dedicated space, away from your lounge or bedroom.
- Delete Apps. Constant app notifications are distracting and reduce your productivity at work.
- Turn your phone to greyscale. Ever wondered why poker machines are bright and colourful? It's to make them more addictive. Our phones are much the same, the colour filters make them more enticing and more difficult to turn away from.
- Keep busy. Get yourself a screen-free hobby that boosts endorphins such as exercise, walking, painting or even knitting!
At LVN Life, our message is clear, make the most of your community and spend your time actively enjoying your life. Put in some real facetime with family and friends and disconnect from your phone to create some real life memories. Peace out!