It's old news that devices have become an extension of who we are, but it can still be surprising when we find ourselves scrolling websites, apps, and reaching for our tech on auto-pilot. Whilst technology can bring a wealth of convenience, innovation, and connectedness into our lives, it can also leave us burned out from an 'always on' culture, so it's important to understand how and when to take a break.
At the heart of the addiction to our devices, notifications are the first beast to slay when it comes to nurturing a healthy relationship with technology. Whether you set quiet hours or remove notifications altogether, curating your phone to only show you what you need to see helps your mind detangle itself from the addiction of the little red dot.
Limit Screen Time
Most devices have settings that allow you to limit screen time. Set yourself a time limit on how long you want to be spending on each app per day, and if you want to take it further, make limiting screen time a communal event. With your family or housemates, establish a tech-free period after work - whether thats one hour or four - and motivate each other to peel yourselves away from your screen to focus on who and what's right in front of you.
Exclude Tech From Your Routine
Most of us are guilty of checking our phones first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Removing your devices from your routine can be tricky, but a good place to start is by investing in an old school alarm clock, rather than using the alarm on your phone. Keeping your phone in another room overnight means that pre and post bed time you will get into the good habit of being present in the real world.
Distance Yourself From Social Media
We've written a whole blog on leaving social media behind, but we realise that cutting ties with Insta, Twitter, and the rest of the gang isn't always easy. Easing yourself into a healthier relationship with social media can be done by curating your feed to follow more mindful content (think: stuff that makes you feel good - puppies, kittens, delicious food) and unfollowing things that make you insecure. Making note of how you feel after using social media is useful too, and might help you limit the time you spend scrolling.
Take Regular Detoxes
Setting aside entire evenings, days, or even weekends to be completely tech-free can create a mental reset that grounds you to the present, and takes you away from the barrage of information constantly making its way into your mind via screen time. Doing this in a group or as a couple can be a great way to make it fun - gather a bunch of board games, or set up a day of activities, and see how much fun you can have without technology.
A simple, age-old trick, the Do Not Disturb function can leave a person happily uninterrupted for extended periods of time, without completely removing access to important messages. DND can help you check your phone less regularly, as well as ensuring you stay focused on the here and now.
Nurturing a good relationship with tech isn't a walk in the park; not only is it addictive, but it keeps us connected to those we love. Awareness of over-use is the first step towards doing something proactive with your technology use, so see which steps work for you, and share your own tips with us at firstname.lastname@example.org