A blessing and a burden
Some of you are not going to like today’s challenge, but hear me out.
I love my phone. We’ve gained so many amazing benefits from the existence of the smartphone. Our phones entertain and inform us, whenever and wherever we want. During the 2020 pandemic, we were able to stay connected to loved ones and co-workers through video conferencing. It’s a magical device!
However, we need a little balance because the barrage of stimulation that smartphones offer can add to our mental clutter. There are so many people who never disconnect from their phones. Many of us have them in our hands the majority of waking hours. And heaven forbid you leave your phone at home while you run errands; you’ll feel lost and insecure.
I’m of a generation that clearly remembers what it was like to not have a phone attached to you 24/7. It was pretty nice, actually.
Why it’s good to take a break from your phone
There are benefits to giving your brain a break from the constant influx of information (and misinformation) that comes from your smartphone.
As useful and convenient as smartphones are, they are also huge time-wasters. Think about how often you get email, text message and social media notifications. Even if you turn notifications off, you’re conditioned to pick your phone up ever few minutes to make sure you didn’t miss anything. You might be missing out on what’s right in front of you, in the real world.
Being drawn to constantly respond to messages, on your phone, keeps you from getting things accomplished. It’s multitasking, and multitasking isn’t as productive as it may sound.
As we’ve already discussed, getting a good night’s rest is imperative for your overall well-being. Nighttime phone usage will severely impair your sleep. Your phone’s bright light actually tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Melatonin, a natural sleep hormone, is then suppressed, interrupting your natural sleep pattern.
Unfortunately, studies have discovered that too much exposure to phones can have a negative effect on mental health. Research shows that using your mobile device excessively can result in a number of negative effects on your mental clutter: Depression, anxiety, impatience, frustration, and irritation were all noted.
This can be especially true during election years or when a big national/global event is occurring. Most people feel the need to be validated by sharing and justifying their opinions with others through posts, ads, emails and pop-up screens. That’s a LOT of clutter other people are tossing your way.
Create a few new phone rules that will help you put your phone down more often. Here are few ideas:
- No time-sucking and distracting apps allowed – I can check social media on my computer.
- Unfriend and unfollow all negative social media accounts to protect my happiness.
- I will silence my ringer and text message notifications before beginning any projects so that I don’t get distracted
- I will silence my ringer and text messages when I am spending time with family and friends.
- My phone “goes to bed” at 8pm every night.
- My phone “sleeps” on a docking station in the kitchen.
- I use an alarm clock instead of my phone. This prevents me from seeing notifications and getting sucked into other people’s agendas before I am fully awake.
- No phones allowed at the kitchen table or inside restaurants; we talk to the people we are with.
- All my coworkers and friends know that I do not answer texts or emails after 5pm and before 9am.
- I only pick my phone up once and hour.
Come up with phone rules that make sense for you, and hold yourself accountable. Take full advantage of the amazing technology that you have at your fingertips, but also remember to get plugged back into what’s going on in the physical world around you. You are going to notice some de-stressing happening!
Day 9 Recap:
- Our phones are a blessing, but can become a burden if we don’t set boundaries with them.
- Limiting smartphone usage will helps productivity, mental clutter and rest.