There was a problem with my phone, so I called my provider and arranged for an exchange which was also faulty. My first thoughts were of dread and that maybe they can send a same day replacement so I can retain a smartphone. I was thinking a little too positive. The quickest they could arrange was next day at the same time. So, 24 hours without a phone? This is going to make life difficult, isn’t it?
Instead – my anxieties turned to warmth, my expectations of being out of the loop quashed, and my productivity increased. Not only this, but my thoughts became clearer as I redirected patterns of learning and efficiency elsewhere.
This is an obvious prediction, though executing the act is far more difficult. So how can we incorporate this into everyday life ? Here are a few steps…
1. Stay on loud to stay on track
Most smartphone users switch their phone to silent. But, there is a caveat in doing so as a necessity to constantly check your phone becomes a compulsive need.
Instead, switching your phone to loud will hinder a need to persistently check it, as you will begin to train your ears to respond to the sound of incoming messages. You can then begin to leave it in a room other then the one you are present in, limiting a need to compulsively check it.
2. Go screen less on the weekends
This trick was first popularised into action for only one day of the weekend. And although one day sounds convenient, it will make little impact on the mind, and it is that very thing we are aiming to reclaim.
Going screen-less on both days of the weekend gives your mind a day to program in an expectation of two days without a phone, and one day to utilise it to full effect. One day off will leave you eager to return.
When returning to a five-day week of a grind, you will experience a recalibration of sorts, with a newfound respect for life with your pocket gremlin in it. Not only will you begin to relinquish usage of your phone, but on the weekends when you need it, you will find yourself stuck to it less.
3. Notifications off, means your attention is on
One of the first things I do when I get a new phone is to switch off notifications. All my apps are off, and if I can check a particular social media through a browser then I will. If that fails I will cease to use that platform. A company that makes it difficult to use their product, clearly doesn’t have our interests at heart and usually, the answer to this lies in advertising and tracking.
So, firstly, create three screens on your phone. The first for priority apps like settings, maps etc. The second for unnecessary tools and the third for addictive apps like Instagram, news and, if it’s your thing – games.
There are plenty of other ways to increase productivity and wellbeing without the need of a phone. Including, the purchase of kitchen timers and alarm clocks to replace your phone’s utilities. Keeping phones in your bedroom can impede progress to lessening the usage of a smartphone, prompting you to reach for it first thing in the morning. And the less it is within sight means you can regain more time elsewhere. So store it out of sight for the night and where common sense tells you.
Be mindful of what you need from your phone. Chances are, what you need is more of a want, and what you really need is time off of it.