My Top 3 Tips For Maintaining a Healthier Relationship With Your Phone
I started the Procrastination Paper after I discovered I was spending around four hours staring at my phone each day. FOUR HOURS! I was horrified to discover this information, but unsurprised to find out that most of that time was spent on Instagram.
I use Instagram for work and do I need it in order to promote my business, but is being on it for four hours a day a good use of my time? Absolutely not. I realised I'd just been using it as a tool for procrastination. This got me thinking - how did I procrastinate before I had social media? Well, I probably watched a lot of TV... but I also used my time for more positive things, such as getting creative, reading, talking to people, doodling, tidying up... I decided to start the Procrastination Paper in order to help other people procrastinate in more positive ways, away from their phones (at least for a little while).
I'm still almost as addicted to Instagram as when I started the Paper but I have made some changes to my lifestyle that have improved my relationship with my phone, so today I thought I'd share my top three tips with you...
- TURN OFF YOUR NOTIFICATIONS. All of them! Seriously. OK, so I totally get it if you want to keep messaging notifications on, or if you need to keep some email notifications on for work or for your kids... But ask yourself what notifications you really need or want to pop up on your screen? We live in a world in which it feels like we're expected to be 'on' 24/7 and it's hard to believe that not so long ago we didn't even have mobile phones. Try not to put pressure on yourself to reply immediately to everybody who gets in touch with you - don't let those little blue ticks on WhatsApp get to you! Consider what times you actually want to be doing things online and work with that. I know I'm much happier and more relaxed when I don't start the day by looking at my phone and I sleep better if I don't look at it for at least an hour before bed too.
- GET AN ALARM CLOCK. One of the biggest changes I made in 2018 was getting an alarm clock. Previously I was using my phone alarm, so how could I possibly avoid the temptation to have a little Insta-scroll before bed? I had to start using an app to block myself from my email account after 9pm because I would find myself replying to emails and worrying about missing orders whilst in bed. Unsurprisingly I wasn't sleeping very well. I read an article about how blue light (the kind your phone emits) affects our sleep and decided something had to change. So I bought an alarm clock! Not only did I start sleeping better, but I suddenly had time to read my book - something I kept telling myself I didn't have time to do. Now turning my phone off at night and leaving it in the other room feels like hitting a little off switch on the part of my brain that stresses out about work. Sometimes my phone does creep back into my bedroom, but that's OK too. I don't believe in perfection anyway!
- BE MINDFUL & SET LIMITS. Think about how much time you legitimately would LIKE to spend on your phone in total or on specific apps each day. I'd like to spend no more than an hour on Instagram each day (which sounds like loads) and yet I go over that almost every single day, unless I set a timer to cut me off. I find that once I get into the habit of using certain apps less I naturally fall into the flow of staring at my screen less too. It's interesting that most phones now have inbuilt software to track your screen time and many apps now are focused on digital wellbeing - the tech industry has been doing a bit of a 180 on the days when they tempted us in with dopamine-inducing features such as the like button. I'll be doing a round up of some helpful apps soon, so keep an eye out for that!
You'll find more tips and tricks like this from me and Procrastination Paper subscribers in your Welcome Pack when you subscribe. Each Welcome Pack contains the Procrastination Paper Guide to Putting Your Phone Down and Wasting Some Time Offline!