In this Choose Your Own Adventure scenario, the powers-that-be have decided that the internet should be turned off for at least an hour daily. How do you react? Do you embrace the time away from your devices and head out for a walk? (Turn to some other blog!) Or do you start rocking in a corner? (Read on!)
Although smartphone use is now integral to many parts of our busy lives, research has shown that excessive use of devices is associated with sleep problems, impaired cognitive function, anxiety and depression. The good news is that a recent study has shown that a conscious reduction of daily smartphone use by just one hour can contribute to greater mental wellbeing and a healthier lifestyle.
So, let’s get started today! Here are some tips to help you build healthier technology habits with your phone and other devices:
1. Set boundaries
Yes, sorry, this does involve some work on your part! And one of the most important things you can do is set boundaries for your technology use. Avoid using your phone during meal times or when spending time with your family or friends. You can also establish ‘no device’ zones in your house. An obvious one is your bedroom. An even more obvious one is the bathroom!
2. Replace your alarm clock
With your bedroom now an official ‘no phone zone’ – it’s likely you’ll need something other than your smartphone to wake you up. Invest in an old-fashioned alarm clock (or one of those new-fangled options that wake you gently with ‘natural sunrise colours’!).
3. Install a screen-time tracker
It’s always easier to fix a problem when we know the exact parameters of the problem. Use a screen-time tracker such as Apple’s iOS Screen Time app or the Android Digital Wellbeing app to see when and where you’re spending the most time online. Once you know which apps are your biggest time-suckers, you can start to break those bad habits (see Set Boundaries above and Practice mindful use below!).
4. Practice mindful use
Mindful use means being intentional about how you use your devices. And now that you know your online Achilles heel(s) via your screen-time tracker, you can set specific time limits for those apps or activities. Focus on one task at a time. Limit multitasking (which can lead to feelings of stress and overwhelm). And avoid mindless scrolling!
5. Customise your settings
You can enhance your ability to practice mindful use by customising your device and app settings. Many devices now come with built-in tools to help you manage your technology use. You can set screen time limits, for example, or turn off notifications for certain apps. You can even go so far as to set up the ‘Do Not Disturb’ function so that all texts, notifications – and even phone calls – are effectively silenced at certain times (dinner, overnight, work hours, kid’s sporting events etc…!).
6. Take breaks
Taking breaks from technology is essential for our mental health and wellbeing. If the powers-that-be really did turn off the internet for an hour a day, other than causing chaos, it would actually be a good thing! Set aside time each day to disconnect and do something offline – rediscover the joy of reading a book, heading out for a walk or spending ‘us time’ with your family or pets. You can also try taking a digital detox for a day or a weekend to help you reset your priorities and recharge your wellbeing battery.
7. Establish healthy technology habits
It is essential to establish healthy habits when it comes to your technology use. This starts with ‘everyday’ things like getting enough sleep, staying physically active and taking care of your mental health. By prioritising your overall wellbeing, you’ll be better equipped to manage your technology use in a healthy way. Don’t be beholden to your technology – take charge today!
Contact Geelong’s technology specialists
Okay, so we can’t help you break your smartphone habit (aside from setting up apps and daily limits), but we can help with just about anything else tech-related. If your device is playing up, you need a tech upgrade or you’re concerned about cybersecurity, we’re here to help. (We even offer a pick-up and drop-off service!)
Our experienced technicians and retail staff are here to help with advice and support for Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula homes and businesses.
☎️ 1300 GET GTG (1300 438 484)
📍 166 Francis St, Belmont