You are not alone if you feel slightly shocked, ashamed, or even defensive when the screen time message shows up on your phone! We are all guilty of overusing our phones for a variety of legitimately useful and entertaining reasons, but when does it become too much? Is it seeping into aspects of our lives that we are not aware of, and causing at best unhelpful distraction, or at worst stress and anxiety?
So much of our work, communication and information comes at us via our phones, so it is not surprising that we are on them more than ever. I am sure you have seen people stepping into traffic whilst on an alternate universe via their handset, headphones in, glazed look, and totally unaware of their surroundings, or distracted when someone is talking as messages ping for their attention, answering the phone when they are on the bus when it can wait, or texting whilst talking.. the list can go on!
We have a lot of external influences to contend with daily, not to mention the availability of 24/7 news, adverts, media, and radio, streaming often negative and manipulative information at us from every angle. Phone screen time can tip the visual and information overload balance considerably.
In addition to the anxiety screen time can bring, it is also a fair assumption that if friends and families notice when attention is being commanded by our phones or tech, then bosses and colleagues will feel the same too. It’s not professional or ideal for giving the impression of being committed to the job!! If it is that we are using phones for quick hit entertainment more than work or life admin, it may be worth thinking how to reconnect in real time.
Just because tech is here to stay does not make us powerless to it. Here we have suggested a few small tweaks to decrease usage, or at least to help prevent it seeping into every area of our lives ….and maybe be a bit more present……after all who doesn’t want that?!
- Turn off notifications (home screen at the least)
- Delete apps that consume most of your time
- Have a time slot scheduled social media (comments / likes / messages etc)
- Try not to take your phone everywhere you go – if possible – especially to the loo ….. yuck!
- At work, put personal phones out of sight during work hours – or have it on silent at the very least
- Put your phone down or away when talking to people
- Try to check emails only on your desktop / laptop
- Take note of how often you reach for your phone and try and not pick it up as often
- Put phone into grey-scale colour mode – apparently significantly reduces scroll appeal!
- Leave it out of your bedroom (get an old school alarm clock!), screens before bedtime are proven to be detrimental to sleep