There is nothing wrong with being on your smartphone. It’s like a little computer in your hand. After a busy or stressful day, it can be a preferred way to decompress for a bit. But sometimes our phones sort of hijack our time. We get sucked in and find it hard to escape. I know I am not the only one who looked up two hours later and wondered how that much time had passed and all I had done was stare at my phone at one app or another.
It’s important to remember that we control our phones; they don’t (or shouldn’t) control us.
Being intentional is an important part of living the life you want to lead, and being intentional with our phones is part of that. It is easy to fall into habits and suddenly hours of time are gone, and we have no idea where they went. If you are working towards a goal or a dream, it is especially important that your time goes into dream-building and not endless scrolling.
I talk a lot about mindfulness, and this is one clear example of that. A lot of people think that being mindful means sitting in a yoga position and being quiet for half an hour while humming “om” out loud. It can be that. But it can also be being fully present and “checked in” to what is happening in real-time. It means not getting sucked into your phone. Saying to yourself (and following through) that you will only check this email or that bank account, and then you are done. We forget that these smartphones, social media especially, are designed to keep us on them. After all, the longer we are on it the more information we give, interaction we have, and stuff we buy- and that’s the goal. Don’t fall into the goal of the developers. Use your phone to achieve your goals- not distract you from them.
So what are some ways to ensure that your phone doesn’t get the best of you?
Turn off your notifications, sounds, and lights. There is nothing that gets a person distracted like the sound of a smartphone. You don’t have to keep notifications and sounds off all the time (although some people do- me included- and find it makes them much happier). But definitely turn them off during the times that you’ve allotted to working on a project or doing something constructive, whether that be reading a book, playing a board game with a child, or making plans for a goal you want to see through.
Set a timer on your smartphone usage. There are apps available that can monitor how much time you’re spending on your phone and help curb it. There are apps that will lock you out of another app if you have reached the time limit you set- if you really want to go that far.
Take “vacations” from social media. If you struggle with scrolling or find yourself getting depressed when seeing other people’s curated lives (and they are curated), consider taking time off from social media Monday through Friday or maybe on the days that you find yourself with the time to get sucked in (which could be the weekends).
Whatever you decide to do know that this is within your power and that ultimately you will seek the happier and more balanced life you seek.