Wellbeing: Is Technology Taking over your Life?
Oh how 1990s of me, your alarm doesn’t make that noise. I see, is that because you don’t own an alarm clock or because your smartphone is your alarm clock?
When you’re undergoing your daily commute, do you look at your phone the whole journey or maybe even listen to music? Bear in mind the large majority of jobs nowadays involve computers, so you’ll arrive at work to look into another screen of lights and information at your fingertips. You may pop to the toilet and take your phone with you at frequent periods throughout the working day. How about if you’re not lunching with a colleague, will you look into the screen in your pocket for some form of distraction or time-pass?
Then again, we probably do look at our phone even when we are with someone at lunch, no matter how much we refrain from doing so. That vibration or text message can be a bit too hard to resist right? Or what about checking your phone in your pocket because you felt it vibrate, but it didn’t and instead you’ve now checked your phone again for no real reason and losing your original train of thought you had at work? (this has happened to me numerous times.)
The evening has arrived and now it’s time for the commute home, and it’s also time to repeat the same process as the morning. But don’t worry when you’re home you can do something else except look at your phone, which is looking into the next most important screen we all use — the TV. What about before bed; do you have a cheeky scroll through Instagram or Facebook and watch a random viral video before your phone hits the bedside table to go on charge?
If any of the above scenarios apply to you, you may want to ask yourself: “do I have an addiction to my phone?” I’ll be honest and say I frequently find myself asking this same question multiple times a week. We all saw that Simon Sinek clip on YouTube/Facebook about Millenials and how they’re having a harder time than his generation because of the advancements made in technology today, surpassing a pace as which none of us could have predicted. His points are valid, and some of his actions may not be as radical as you think. So therefore see below a few products coined to stop you using your phone so much, or some much cheaper alternatives that I have used which worked a charm:
Yes it’s a box, but one which cannot be reopened when sealed. Okay, maybe not that militant, but this is still a nifty invention. Distractagone is a box which can store up to 4 smartphones at a time and has a set timer attached. The box cannot be opened until the timer has expired, and could be the next best thing you and your family could need at dinner time, or even at social events. We all have one friend who can’t put their phone down no matter what is happening around them. Pre-orders are being accepted now at Distractagone.
The hint is in the name itself, and this iOS app is designed to give you freedom. Freedom from your favourite sports website or social media tool. The app allows you to schedule time periods where access to your choice of blocked site/social network is prohibited. The sooner you get this, the better it will be for your productivity on a day to day basis.
We have to give an Android alternative, and this is the best one I have found for all Android users. This app is similar to Freedom, but one additional factor is this logs and shows you how many times in the day you instinctively click on an app without even realising it, and provides you with a tip for what else you can be doing with your time instead. Soft nudges like that in the right direction are what makes this app really stand out from other Android apps offering similar services.
Personally I have also found the below cheaper and non technology solutions really useful too, but they do require a bit of self control:
Put your phone in flight mode: The oldest trick in the book is also the most effective. You’ll notice how often you may press the home button to check your phone for no apparent reason, and the peace and quiet which comes with your day. Plus, you only need to charge your phone once a day tops.
Remove the phone from your workspace: I have actually put my phone in a different room for some times in the day, which is similar to the above method but if you really are expecting an important call, then this would be your best bet to have the best of both worlds.
Leave your phone at home: Very simple, but effective. I have left my phone at home a couple of times ahead of a hectic work day and you’ll be surprised how often you really don’t miss it. Your output levels at work skyrocket and there is no longer a weight in your pocket you need to worry about or feel for.
Low battery life on your phone: This is hard to get the balance right, but try and go to work with about 40% on your phone. By the end of the day if you get home and you’re still within the last 10% of battery life, you’ve found the right balance between your work and your phone.
The point is, be aware. Be aware of how much you use your phone day to day. I know it seems normal when we all look around and see others doing the exact same thing as us, but once upon a time we all didn’t look down into our palms all day or rely on one device to do numerous things for us at once. Remember to take time out, and that there’s a whole world out there to be explored. Learn a new skill, read a book where possible or even try something you’ve never done before. You never know what you can do unless you go out there and attempt to take yourself out of your comfort zone.