We now spend over half of our day connected to digital devices (TV, Phone, Computer). The world we live in requires that we use our smartphones almost all the time, which has created a problem of increased stress that serves no purpose other than to distract us from what really matters; our friends, family, work, play and real life. This is part of a greater push by tech companies to engineer addictive behaviours into our personal devices.
Here are some of the life hacks you can use immediately to reduce the stress caused by the most prolific digital device in our lives, the smartphone:
- Turn off all notifications. You are going to check it anyway, why would you need the dings and buzzes of notifications all the time? You will see an instant improvement in your wellbeing by simply turning off all notifications.
- Put all social media applications into one folder. By moving these off your home screen, you can begin to be intentional in how you manage your social apps. Once you have them in once spot, you can more easily scan all socials for messages
- Only check for messages, updates and mentions. By reducing the endless ‘boredom scrolling’ you will have more focus in your life and less dependence on satiating your need for constant content.
- Create don’t consume. Become a creator of content rather than a follower of content. By becoming a consistent creator, you will find your voice and you won’t get caught up in the never-ending deluge of other people’s perfect insta-posts.
- Set a schedule for checking your phone. Rather than check all your social apps every time you pick up your phone, have a system for checking things fast. Once an hour (or once a day), grab your phone and go through your system (Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok) figure out the system that works best for you and use it to minimize the amount of time spent on each.
- Forget about ‘Streaks’. Snapchat created a monster addiction platform when they invented the idea of ‘streaks’ where the system keeps track of how many times you consistently message back and forth with your friends. THIS IS NOT A REAL METRIC for anything in life, ignore it and move on with what really matters.
- Turn off your phone when with friends. It is so easy to sit with friends where everyone is on their devices, but remember that face-to-face interactions are real and you will get way more enjoyment from your friends if none of you have your phone on.
- Leave your phone OUT of your bedroom. By keeping your device out of your bedroom, you will instantly eliminate the knee jerk reaction to pick up your phone and check news and social media immediately when you wake up. Don’t let others dictate your mind first thing in the morning.
- Use Airplane mode when working on a task. By turning off the connectivity of your device while working and putting your phone out of sight, you will increase your productivity and focus because your mind knows that there is no way you can get any messages during this time. By placing your phone out of sight, you will also reduce the urge to check it randomly and for no reason (remember it is not connected to the internet)
- Take one day off per week. Once a week, leave your phone at home and enjoy the real world around you. If you cannot commit to a full day, do a half day. Perhaps you can do this as a family on a Saturday or Sunday when spending time with your loved ones.
- Set a goal to reduce screen time. iOS now has a screentime recorder built in and there are some good ones for Android also. By measuring your screen time and setting a goal to consistently reduce your time spent on your phone, you will be able to measure your results. Set a goal and give yourself a reward for attaining it (perhaps dinner out with friends, sans cellphone).
- BONUS: Use a meditation app. Every time you open your phone, take 1 minute to create a moment of intentional meditation before opening your social media apps. This will force you to be more focused on yourself, your mind and your wellbeing. A good app for this is Calm.
About Alan Smithson
“Alan’s purpose in life is to inspire and educate future leaders to think and act in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable way.”
Alan is the CEO of MetaVRse, a global leader in XR Technology (Virtual, Augmented & Mixed Reality for Marketing, Retail, e-Commerce, Education & Training). Alan is a TEDx speaker and LinkedIn XR thought leader with millions of views of his articles and videos each month.
He is an Independent Global Advisor on the Business of XR to a select group of the world’s largest companies, chief investment advisors, and ultra high net worth family offices.
To book Alan for speaking engagements, email your request to: firstname.lastname@example.org