Smartphones have made our lives more convenient but they have also made us unfocused and distracted. About 2 years ago I realised that I wasn’t concentrating at work as much as I should be. I was checking my phone regularly for no particular reason at all.
This initial realisation made me do one thing and that was to…
Turn off most notifications on my phone.
I turned off notifications for most social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram. I also deleted a few apps that I was no longer using.
This initial change did help me and the number of times I checked my phone did reduce. I was satisfied with the progress I made, however as time went on I realised that this was not enough.
The problem was that I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t want to give up my phone entirely and I had already switched off notifications for apps that were the most distracting.
So about one year passed by and I didn’t do anything more about it until I had a random conversation with a friend. My friend told me that he had been doing some research on this topic as he was sick of being distracted and wanted to spend his time on more meaningful things.
We discussed some of the changes he was starting to make in his life. He said he had plans to downgrade his phone to a basic one and use his smartphone for music only. Hence he planned to do all of his online tasks on his desktop computer.
This was a light bulb moment for me!
Why not do more things on the desktop/laptop computer instead of the phone? It made perfect sense and I wish I had thought of it myself.
So that afternoon I took a leap and removed several apps from my phone. I removed every social media app except for Instagram as you can’t use that properly on a desktop computer. I figured I can check sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest on the computer and I should try and limit myself to check these sites 1-2 times a day.
After making these initial changes I did feel bored the first few days. However, I realised that this was because I had extra time on my hands. With a toddler it is a little hard to make use of it as you have to watch them constantly but its certainly better to be more present with them compared to being distracted and checking the phone for the 100th time.
As the days went by I made another big change which was that I stopped taking my phone with me to bed. I usually charge my phone in the bedroom overnight, but now I charge it in the living room instead. Previously the first thing I did when I woke up was check my phone and waste at least 10-15 minutes on social media. I would also check my phone before going to sleep and sometimes start looking up random things if I wasn’t able to fall asleep. This has been one of the biggest changes I have made and has been a very positive one that even my husband has followed me on 🙂
I’m really happy with the progress I have made so far and it has been a positive change in my life. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing though as I did turn to my phone a lot more when we were moving houses and relocating overseas at the end of last year.
I can honestly say I have definitely reduced the amount of time I spend on social media. I no longer check Facebook, Pinterest or LinkedIn on a regular basis, maybe once a week if at all, and I probably check Twitter about twice a day. Not having these social media apps on my phone has made a big difference.
Moving forward I want to continue to reduce the time I spend on my phone even more. I don’t want to turn to my phone whenever I feel bored and would obviously prefer to do something more productive with that time.
A few additional things I want to start doing are:
- Start having a “phone off” time at 9pm every night. Theoretically, starting at 9pm I should start to get ready for bed and not touch my phone.
- Use the desktop computer to do more digital tasks. I am still using the phone to do things like blogging, pay bills, banking and check emails but I really want to use the phone as less as possible.
- Eventually delete the WordPress and Email apps from my phone.
Here’s some further reading if you are interested on this topic.
- Is Screen Time Harming Health
- “Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia
- The Crisis Of Disconnection. (Video)
Have you tried to reduce the amount of time you spend on your smartphone and social media? If so, what strategies have you used?