I’m guilty of it. And you probably are, too. Technological overload. I don’t even want to think about ever having to actually account for how much time I spend on my phone or computer each day. I’m certain that I would be embarrassed.
Social media is a black hole. A very small fraction of it is actually beneficial and helpful. And an even smaller percentage of it will ever produce anything tangible or useful.
However, it’s almost unavoidable. Isn’t EVERYTHING online? Isn’t EVERYONE online? Event invites. Group pages. Updates. It’s hard not to get swept away when it feels like social media is something you must partake in so that you can stay attuned to what’s going on.
It is at times a necessary evil.
While we might not be able to entirely avoid it, there are ways to not drown in it. Here are some really easy ways to reduce the time you spend on your smart phone.
1.) Don’t take it with you to the bathroom.
I am ashamed to say it, but I am so guilty of this. When I’m heading into the John for a few minutes, I figure that I might as well take my phone with me. Because for about seven minutes, nobody will find me. And I can be alone with my precious phone.
I’m sorry, too many images there.
But it’s true. Stop taking your phone with you into the bathroom or anywhere else that you feel like you tend to hide away to check your notifications. See how fast you used to use the bathroom before the age of iPhones and Angry Birds. And remember, people used to not have ANYTHING to take to the bathroom with them except for themselves and their own piece of mind. You can do it, Pilgrim.
2.) Limit how often you check your social media/email.
A good rule of thumb is to only check your stuff once an hour. I personally like that idea, but of course, you can set your own limit. Set your phone face-down somewhere, perhaps out-of-the-way or in another room even, and be determined not to look at it until you have deemed that you are allowed to. Save for needing it for work deadlines or for small crises, you don’t need to look at it just to check your Candy Crush notifications every three minutes.
3.) For that matter, just put your phone in the other room.
My phone charger is upstairs in our study, so I try to plug mine in and then leave it. If I’m in the kitchen or dining room I can still hear it should I receive a call. I also have a landline, so if someone NEEDS to find me they can. But for me, out of sight is out of mind. And if it’s in the other room, then I can follow rule number 2 a lot easier.
Even if it’s one room away, pry it from your hand and set it down. If you can get away with not having it on you at all times, then go for it. Use a phone like a phone, messages and phone calls only. The rest you can get back to later.
4.) Make certain times a no-no for phones.
The dinner table. When you’re putting the kids to bed. A date night in with the husband. There are times that you just don’t need to have a phone handy. Set it somewhere that you can hear it if you need to, otherwise just put it down and out-of-the-way and savor the moment. Bonus points if you can muster the courage to actually turn it off (gulp!)
If you like doing this, consider having entire afternoons or days where you simply turn your phone off. Sunday is a great day for this. But, let’s start with baby steps. No phones while you’re taking a shower at least, okay?
5.) Turn off push notifications.
You probably don’t need to know immediately that someone just sent you a message on Facebook or retweeted your tweet. If you get automatic notifications from one of your mobile apps, consider simply turning them off.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t open your Facebook app, for example, and still see that you have pending notifications. It just means that your phone isn’t going to alert you with a message or noise the instant you have a new notification even without the Facebook app opened.
Turn off the alerts!! Or, set them to where you’ll get an email alert, and check your email every once in a while throughout the day. Then you’ll have just one streamlined place to see what you want to see.
6.) For that matter, dump any unnecessary apps.
I don’t have a Facebook app. If I want to check out what’s going on Facebook during the day, I use my internet browser. The same goes for Twitter (which, admittedly, I don’t really use) and even WordPress. I feel like pulling these sites up on my browser is sufficient – I can still see what I need to see when I need to see it. Plus, too many apps slow down my phone and are definite privacy concerns. But, despite social media, I also don’t have many games on my phone, save one or two for the boy.
I don’t have any apps for news or websites, save for one for a devotional. Again, if I need it, I can simply pull it up. Otherwise, that’s a bunch of things to check, and a bunch of things that I could potentially waste my time using. Don’t worry, I’m not touting my own glory. I absolutely still STRUGGLE with spending too much time on my phone, despite not having some of these things or many of the things that people are using now a days. It’s a constant for me.
We’re all addicts together, people.
There you have it. My pearls of wisdom and bossing you around about how you use your phone. Don’t worry, you’re welcome. Feel free to share with the class and add any of your own suggestions at the bottom.
Have a great weekend!