“We unlock our iPhones an average of 80 times and rack up more than 4.7 hours actively engaged with our mobile device each day.” – Taylor Pipes, Evernote Blog writer
It’s said that the answer to any addiction is found within the addiction itself.
“Phone addiction” is a real thing and it’s being used by many as a way to avoid addressing the rapidly rising depression and anxiety dilemma in our society.
A common ‘answer’ found in the addiction to cell phones is the lack of human connection we are feeling in our lives.
The catch 22, is that while this gives our brains the illusion we are more connected to what’s going on in the world, we are in fact becoming more disconnected to the world going on around us. This drives us to seek more connection in the very thing that’s causing the disconnection and so on the saga continues.
If everyone is doing the same thing, how is it really a problem?
This is an addiction that no one wants to face and very few can even see. We’re surrounded by the rationalization that this is a “necessary evil.”
At worst we’re turning into a society descending into mediocrity and calling it “productive.”
At worst we’re literally dying of loneliness.
Mental Health & Social Media
Rates of depression have doubled in the last 30 years.
It is predicted that by the year 2020, reports of mental health problems will rise by 50% globally.
Mental illness will transform to one in five of the most prevalent causes of mortality, morbidity and death for young people.
Huffington Post stated that 60% of people are having more negative thoughts about themselves due to social media.
While the brain may understand conceptually that it is watching the 10 second highlight reel of someone’s 24 hour day, our emotions still fall for the illusion of what we perceive on social media to be “real life” which causes us to compare, judge and feel unworthy.
Habits “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle.
If this is true, it means then that finding solace in our cell phones is also just a habit that can be broken and built into a better one.
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for the perfect lifestyle habits; each one of us will have a different combination of tools that helps us best manage our tech time. However, instilling a morning routine, pre planning our day/ week and implementing healthy boundaries around phone use are all extremely helpful habits to adopt, if we want to find our way back to feeling connected, creative, productive and happy.
Due to an influx of demand for help on the subject of phone control, business consultant/ Life Coach Lo Myrick & wellness leader and I have teamed up and put together some of the best habits we’re adopting into our lives to promote more of a phone-free lifestyle!
Set the Stage
American author, entrepreneur and public speaker Tim Ferris says “if you win your morning, you win your day.”
The term “set the stage” refers to doing exactly that.
Partaking in a morning routine sets the stage for us to perform as our most productive, creative and happy self for the rest of the day.
The idea is to create a mindfulness- based practise where we allocate the first 60 minutes (at least) of our morning to ourselves without any tech (with the exception of potentially playing music from an offline playlist), before we get ourselves into a reactionary mode.
The mindfulness practise can involve movement, journaling, mindfulness meditation, tea time etc.; in essence anything that develops a reflex for us to live our day with self awareness.
“Morning pages (journaling) don’t need to solve your problems. They simply need to get your problems out of your head, where they’ll otherwise bounce around all day like a bullet ricocheting inside your skull.” – Tim Ferris
- encourages self-reflection thus leads to profound self awareness & discoveries
- dream recall (if done first thing when you wake up)
- forces your brain to awaken out of its sleep fog
- promotes self honesty
- unlocks creative thinking
- allows you to vent frustrations/worries
- opportunity to map out day/week ahead of time and prioritize most important tasks
- cages your “monkey mind” on paper so you can go about your day with a clean slate
“Mind monkey” or “monkey mind” is a Buddhist term meaning “unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable.”
Once you set the stage, preview your pre-planned day to get perspective on how many hours in the day can and will be utilized instead of being on social.
It may seem like overkill to block your time right down to “morning tea” or “reading non-fiction,” but the more you see that your day is filled with important tasks, the less likely you are to think your time is a free for all and get lost in the sticky vortex of the inter-web. Also, if you know you have some play time on social scheduled in, you’re less likely to check it in unnecessary doses.
“Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.” – Cal Newport, Wall Street Journal Bestseller
Reach for phone. Check texts. Read email. Scroll through social feeds. Answer DMs. Post to instagram stories. Scroll again.
According to a recent survey commissioned by Microsoft, we lose our focus faster than a goldfish.
Even a quick glance at Twitter or reviewing an email has a negative impact on your ability to focus on tasks. In fact, that one quick glance costs you about 15 to 20 minutes of attention loss.
Pre-scheduling 3 hours minimum of deep work in your daily regimen is imperative for both creativity and actual productivity.
This is a time you can also reflect on the tasks that didn’t get completed and schedule them in for the next day.
3 Stone Cold Phone Laws:
- ‘Human presence takes precedent’ (inc. lineups, elevators, ubers and walking by people on the street)
This will force you to seek more connection at any chance you get.
- No tech when eating
Research shows we are more likely to overeat if we are engaged with our phone, computer or tv screens while eating. Concentrate solely on your food at meal time to achieve optimal nourishment.
- Put phone on airplane mode/no wifi at gym
For a lot of us, our phones are multi purposed and provide us with our music while we’re at the gym. However, we can’t achieve proper mind-muscle connection when our phone is occupying our mind and thus we won’t get as much out of our workouts. If part of your brand is to post pictures and videos of your fitness routine, do it after the workout is done- not in the middle of it.
Download this graphic to help with your tech patrol!