Remember back when we were learning about all of the features and capabilities of our smartphones and how utterly stoked we were? We could check email from anywhere, we could order anything from a rideshare to a new book, we could listen to a podcast, and on and on and on. We were in awe of all that these little devices could do while in the palm of our hands. At some point, this constant connectedness began to take a toll and there became a shift. Our phones became an extension of our body.
We would pick them up without even realizing it. We would scroll and scroll, wondering why we were feeling drained and down in the dumps. What first started as a new discovery as to all of the ways we could utilize our phones, we’ve now needed to explore how to take breaks and distance ourselves from them for the sake of our sanity. I do know that for our well-being, we need to put the phones down, away, and out of our sight on a regular basis.
For our mental health’s sake and to give ourselves a break. We don’t actually need to be connected 24/7/365. I promise! There are plenty of tips out there for how to do this, but I’ve found three that are manageable and truly have helped me through this quasi breakup with my iPhone:
Put your phone in another room while you sleep.
Can I just say… game changer? Seriously. This one gave me the shakes a little when I first started to do it, but it’s helped tremendously. I have an actual alarm clock that wakes me up each morning and I can’t grab my phone before my feet hit the floor. That’s right. No mindless scrolling. Same goes before I go to sleep… I’m not glued to the blue light before hitting the lights. Both have helped me sleep better, get more sleep, and not feel depleted in a place where relaxation is my primary goal. The emails, texts, and notifications will be there when you’re ready for them (in the morning).
Remove notifications from your phone.
Again… this one made me nervous when I first discovered it. You want me to do, what? But I need to know all the things, I thought! Shoutout to Emily Ley for sharing this one. It’s changed my work days for the better and I am so happy I’ve implemented it!
Take 30 minutes and go through the apps on your phone. Go to your settings and turn off notifications. The only exception for me is my travel apps, because they only notify me when I am traveling (remember traveling #quarantinejokes) and these notifications tend to be super helpful. I am no longer interrupted by a notification from a new like on social media, a new comment on my recent GoodReads update, or a new email coming through.
When I want to look at these notifications, I’m intentional about it. They don’t pull my attention away from my work. Let me tell you, it’s made a world of difference. I’ve also taken off part of my text notifications, so I will get a new message and see that it’s there, but it won’t drop that annoying notification from the top of my phone that nine times out of ten interrupts me from the app I was trying to work in in the first place.
Place time limits on social media apps.
Do you know how many hours you spend on Facebook? On Instagram? On Snapchat? Seriously… when I first saw how much time I was wasting, I wanted to throw up. More importantly, do you notice how you feel when you’ve been scrolling for hours on end? Drained. Less than. Comparison central. Not just me? Okay, great. I place a 90 minute limit on my social apps so I have been way more intentional with my time on them.
If I need to do a post for a client, I do it and close it out. If I have a few minutes in between calls and want to browse stories, I take a few minutes, then close it back out. Believe it or not, I rarely hit the 90 minute mark and when I do, I notice that I feel drained. If you have an iPhone, it’s super simple to set this up:
Settings > Screen Time > App Limits > Social Networking
Those are the tips that have worked for me and have made a huge improvement on my productivity, how I can show up for my clients, and how to take better care of myself. I’d love to know how you keep your phone usage in check. If you have a strategy, drop it in the comments below… or if you’re wanting to spend less time with your phone glued to your hand, let me know!