Researchers have dubbed checking our phones as ‘the new yawn’; when one person checks their phone, everyone in the area does too. This just highlights the addictive nature of the technology at our fingertips. People are living vicariously through social media and the portrayed adventures being had by everyone else. This is leading to severe cases of FOMO, or fear of missing out, and compulsive social media scrolling. Always having access to social media and the internet at our fingertips is reducing our ability to form new memories, and hindering our short term memory. It also plays into the idea that multi-tasking is a valuable skill, instead of what it is: reduced effectiveness and poor concentration. Being constantly plugged-in is leading to difficulty in creating meaningful relationships in the real world. This addiction to our phones is preventing us from experiencing life in the moment.
The best way to start unplugging is to start small. Here are some ways you can start reducing your screen time:
Start the day right:
How you start the day will direct how your day flows. Try and avoid screen-time in the first hour of the day. One way to help with this is to keep your phone out of the bedroom. Charge it away from your bed, and use an actual alarm clock to wake up. When you get up in the morning, if you aren’t in a rush, pick up a book. You can also start on your breakfast preparations and have a cup of coffee before checking your emails or phone notifications.
Pick a time of day when you will leave your phone in another room or when you will turn it off. Taking an hour or two technology free before bed will help you wind down and enjoy deeper sleep. Maybe leaving your phone in the office during your lunch break works better for you. Whatever the time of day, find one and leave your phone off, or out of reach.
Manage your time better:
There are many apps out there that will block social media apps from working during set hours; App Block is one that works well. These apps also record the number of times you try to access social media during the lock-out period and how much time you are spending online.
Take a vacation:
Taking an extended vacation from technology is another great option. Find a day, week, or longer where you can just turn off your phone and tune into the world around you. A holiday is a great time to enjoy this! You can even join in the National Day of Unplugging on March 1st, 2019
However you decide to do it, making sure you have screen-free time will benefit your life in many ways! Your memory, productivity, and relationships will all improve!