I can admit that I am bit addicted to my smartphone. I have everything I could possibly need at my fingertips! There’s some comfort knowing I’m not the only one out there who has this addiction. If you Google ‘smartphone addiction’ there are articles and websites abound that talk about it. The worst part is, while some of us have realized we do have this affliction, we have no idea how to quantify the cost of it. I’m one of the fortunate few who realized that I was spending a large amount of my day just staring at my phone…for what? I don’t even get that many messages or phone calls and I was able to do something about it.
Many of us feel the need to have our phones present just in case we need to respond to something important. However, a notification from a phone can break our focus. These digital distractions ultimately reduce productivity and overall engagement, whether at home or in the office.
After acknowledging my smartphone addiction, I decided to make some changes in my daily life that would allow me to spend less time on my phone and more time in the present.
The first step to change is acknowledging the problem. If you are finding yourself spending more time than you would like crying over others’ touching life moments, injuries, daring feats, or animals doing utterly adorable things, and are willing to scale back, here are a few ideas to implement to help you eliminate those digital distractions.
- Less is More – Slowly begin to eliminate some of the applications on your phone that you notice are taking up time out of your day. I started with Twitter; I was never using it; I would just scroll through the newsfeed but never post anything. Then I removed Facebook; before I went to bed, I caught myself in the black hole of the Facebook videos and I knew that once that app was gone, I would gain a lot of my hours back. The important thing is to start small and then move up to more of the time-suckers.
- Spend your time elsewhere – What are some of the hobbies that you have been meaning to take up but haven’t? Use the time you would spend on your phone or searching the internet with things that you have been wanting to do more of! Recently, I have made it a habit to spend the last 30 minutes before I go to sleep reading a book. Now granted, I sometimes use my iPad to read an electronic version because getting up to turn off the light is a struggle, but…. I only use my iPad to read, it’s too ancient for anything else. The time you normally use for scrolling through the social media or replying to emails, could be used for reading, exercising, dancing, cooking, you name it!
- There are apps for that – Now I know I mentioned removing applications on your phone to help you eliminate distractions, but there are apps like Forest – Stay Focused, that allow you to track the time that you are NOT using your phone and at the same time, does something positive for the environment. The more you focus, the more coins you earn, and then you can spend your coins to have the company plant a real tree. While this is one option, it’s an opportunity to help hold you accountable.
- Out of “site” out of mind – If the distraction of your smartphone is too unbearable, keep your phone out of reach! If you are going out to lunch and are worried about your phone distracting you from your company, leave your phone hidden in your car. Leave your phone in another room in the house to avoid spending too much time on your phone. When you don’t have your phone in your line of vision, you will spend less time worrying about how difficult it is to beat that level in Candy Crush and more time enjoying other activities. If you need to have your phone with you for emergencies, place it face down or conceal it in your purse or pocket so you’re not distracted by notifications. You can also change your setting to limit notifications to only the essential ones that you need to act on right away.
It’s not going to be easy, but implementing these things into your life will make the difference between 6 hours on average of screen time during the day to 3 hours on average of screen time. Watch your productivity sky rocket and see how much more time you get to spend doing other things you enjoy that add more value to your life.
Peak Performers Program Coordinator
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128