The cultural impact of the iPhone and its cousins can hardly be overstated – even Star Trek didn’t have this sort of technology. We’ve been carrying around email, apps, cameras, games, social media, home security and our entire photo album now for more than ten years.
While smart phone technology has provided us with access, engagement, and entertainment, not all of its effects have been unilaterally positive. Many of us are concerned that we spend too much time on our phones, distracting ourselves from in-person relationships, focus, and the joys of our physical surroundings.
If you want to reclaim some of your attention from your smartphone habit, it may be easier than you thought. You may not need an aggressive digital detox or a meditation retreat. Although smartphone usage can take on some of the hallmarks of addictive behavior, most of us simply need to be more mindful of how we use this technology, and whether or not we’re using it to our best advantage.
Here are a few steps you can take to make your smartphone less of a bothersome distraction and more of the revolutionary tool it was meant to be.
Quantify Your Usage
The rise of “big data” has made it easier than ever to get concrete information about our lives and behaviors. Crunching the numbers and quantifying our smartphone usage can show us, beyond dispute, how it impacts our time, and give us actionable insights about how well it serves us.
Just as Mint has helped people gain control of their spending by breaking it down with charts and graphs, apps such as Moment (for iOS) and QualityTime (for Android) track and illustrate how we’re using our phones, minute by minute. With this detached perspective, we can begin to regain control.
Make Your Phone Your Friend
If you spend some time with your phone’s control panel and rework some of your settings, you may find small changes dramatically improve the way your phone harmonizes with your life.
Start by turning off unneeded notifications, those little pings and vibrations that pull your attention away from the world outside. Delete apps you don’t use – decluttering your interface helps declutter your mind. You can even put your phone in “airplane mode” when you need to get some work done or you need peace and freedom.
Take Regular Breaks
To make sure you’re not using your phone too much, make sure you spend plenty of time without it. Create a buffer between sleep and digital absorption. When you turn off the lights, shut it down. (If you’re using it as an alarm clock, buy an old-fashioned one to use instead.) Stop checking your email as soon as you wake up – substitute an early-morning meditation practice, or make coffee and read a book for an hour before you engage with your phone.
If you’re afraid to fully power down, the gorgeous app Forest will reward you for disengaging and turning your attention elsewhere for awhile.
Now that you’ve freed up some time, try adopting simple practices of mindfulness – at home, at work, or anywhere else – to train your attention, be present, and relish the simple joys of being alive.
At Artisan Creative, we believe a healthy, balanced lifestyle is essential to building a happy and fruitful creative career. Contact us today to find out how you can align your work with your values and take your career to the next level.
We hope you enjoy the 447th issue of our a.blog.