I’ve got 99 problems and my device is one.

Have you ever spoke to someone and all they do is stay on their phone or mid conversation will be pulled in by a notification or text? 🙋🏽🙋🏽🙋🏽🙋🏽Well, you’ve been phubbed. We all do it subconsciously and it’s a marker to a serious problem that needs a little more attention. I am a huge supporter of ways we can all be more aware of ourselves. Technology does a great job at showing us (through data and tools) who we really are but also can be a huge distractor. Let’s all aim to be a little less distracted in 2019.

Whether or not you’d like to admit it, you are addicted to your device. We all say we aren’t but the truth is in the ScreenTime. Once I did a post diving deeper into my own personal ScreenTime I became aware of an issue I didn’t think was that big of a deal. Since then, I decided to make a conscious effort stay on my phone less. Whenever I see the weekly notification say “Oh you’ve spent 36% LESS time on your device” I get a little high from it. There are so many ways you can practice cutting down on your screentime There’s even a test to see how addicted you are to your device.

We are all instant gratification robots who fall into a trap of notifications, buzzes, and likes. It’s extremely toxic because it gives us a false sense of reality and plays a toll on our mental health. Technology is extremely addicting and it’s designed that way. It’s very easy to get lost in the bubble of social media where everyone’s lives are perfect and everyone is super hot and fit.

It’s no surprise that being on our devices puts a strain on our overall health. Social media and streaming platforms are designed to keep you more engaged. Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms want to keep you on their applications as long as possible. They design platforms that are easy to use but keep people coming back.

Starting the New Year this is an opportunity to become more aware of our habits to live healthier, happier lives.

Be aware and be honest with yourself.
If you’re an iPhone user, you can utilize the ScreenTime feature built in. Though this is a long time coming, Apple provides an easy to understand dashboard to see how your time is being allocated on your device. If you’re an Android user, you can use Google’s Digital Wellbeing feature. More and more applications are putting out these dashboards so users can be more mindful of how much time they are spending on their devices. There are tons of other apps that monitor your usage.

Set Reminders
On Instagram, you can actually set a reminder for the app to tell you how long you’ve been spending on IG scrolling away. I’ve set my timer on for 1-hour and once that goes off, I adjust my usage throughout the day.

Don’t sleep with your phone
This is a tough one I even struggle with. Our brains stay awake when stimulated by bright light so staying on your phone while you try to go to sleep won’t support a good nights rest. Ariana Huffington actually made a chargeable phone bed where you can plug in your phone and put it to bed. If you use your phone as an alarm clock like most of us do, putting it in another room or across the room makes you get up and brings you out of bed.

Turn off non-important notifications
I have turned off all of my social media notifications. It’s helped me not get distracted throughout my day and have the urge to check every buzz that comes to my phone. I even put my phone on Do Not Disturb or mute certain notifications so I have less of a reason to be on my device.

Stay focused, be present

Download apps that prevent you from using your phone 🌲
There are a few out there but I love Forest. Forest is a paid app you can download that sets a timer on the app and plants a tree while you work, study, or sleep. You can set the timer for however long you want and after a certain number of points you have collected, they will actually plant a tree in your name. It’s good for the environment and it’s good for you. I am using it right now actually. Every time I go to check my phone it shows me a message to refocus my brain.

Keep your phone in your bag or off the table when you’re around friends
When you’re checking your phone while someone is trying to talk to you, your body language signifies that you’re closed off. It’s also super rude. Unless you’re expecting an important call or a message, try to keep your device out of sight so the urge to check it isn’t there. Your attention will stay focused on your friends and you’ll be a better listener. Some of the major issues with technology usage is that it is ruining our ability to stay focused for long periods of time because everything in the digital world is so instant and fast-paced. We are always waiting for the next best thing which is very distracting. It puts a lot of tension on our bodies. Taking an hour or two in a workout or being present with your friends will reduce that urge to check your phone.

I hope we can all make better strides to stay more present in our own worlds. Technology can be a tool but also a significant deterrent to our overall wellbeing, mental, and physical health. Let’s stay more aware in 2019 of how much we are using our devices and curb our addiction.

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