When is the last time you didn't look at your phone for 24 hours? How about 12 hours? What about even just 1 hour? Technology addiction in our society has become a real thing. Push notifications along with incessant phone and social media checking have become the norm. But the truth is, these behaviors are extremely unhealthy, prevent us from living our lives, and developing meaningful relationships.
It's time for a change.
By Janey Brown (@janeybworld) and Lo Myrick
“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.
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 says 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, the mind still falls for the illusion of what it perceives on social media to be “real life” which causes us to compare, judge and feel unworthy.
Due to an influx of demand for help on the subject of phone control, I've teamed up with Performance Mindset coach and wellness leader Janey Brown to put together some of the best habits we've adopted to promote more well-being, happiness, creativity, and productivity.
“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 individual will have a different combination of tools that help them best manage their 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.
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 practice where we allocate the first 30 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 practice 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.
Benefits of Journaling
“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 vortex of the stick world of the inter-web.
Also, if you know you have some play time on social scheduled in, you’re less likely to cheat throughout the day and 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 the phone. Check texts. Read email. Scroll through social feeds. Answer DMs. Post to Instagram stories.
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 2-3 hours minimum of deep work in your daily regimen is imperative for both creativity and productivity.
“Boredom inspires creativity.” Scott Hofert, founder of ColsenKeane Leather in Charlotte, NC
Our tech never gives us the chance to be bored, thus inhibits our ability to think creatively.
Give yourself permission to have a block of uninterrupted time with literally nothing planned and nothing distracting. Be still with yourself each day and take note of what surfaces.
How you finish your day is every bit as important to master as how you begin it.
“Research has found that exposure to blue light (the LED lights are found in our phones and computer screens) suppresses the production of the sleep hormone melatonin more than any other type of light.” This inhibits our bodies and brains from getting the restful sleep they deserve.
Ending the last 30 min (minimum) of our day without tech gives us the opportunity to find maximum recovery, which enables us to restore the most amount of energy needed to tackle the next day ahead.
This is a time you can also reflect on the tasks that didn’t get completed and schedule them in for the next day.
Journaling at night time can also be a great way elicit gratitude which cultivates positive emotion before you fall asleep.
3 Stone Cold Phone Laws:
- Human presence takes precedent
Including 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 mealtime to achieve optimal nourishment
- Put phone on airplane mode/no wifi at gym
For a lot of us, our phones are multi-purpose 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.
Find more tips and ideas in our 'Do Not Disturb" Infographic:
For one-on-one coaching, click here.