Let’s face it, the Digital Age is wondrous.
Technology is ever-growing and ever-changing at an exponential rate. What we have now in 2018 is drastically different compared to what we had in, say, 1998.
With the introduction of the internet, social media and smartphones, we’ve never been more connected as a society. We can speak face-to-face to an old pal in Australia, drop our boss a quick note and grab ourselves a date — all within one click of a button.
Ain’t it grand?
Sure, there are many benefits of living in the Information Age; however, there are also some downsides. (Black Mirror, anyone?)
As Matt Haig describes in his latest amazing book, “Notes on a Nervous Planet,” technology has a habit of over-cluttering our already cluttered minds.
You see, our brain only has so much capacity. It finds it super difficult to handle multiple thoughts and ideas at once, especially if you’re jumping from app to app and not letting yourself focus on one thing for more than a minute.
Sometimes, it’s important to put your phone down for the sake of your mental health. Read on for 10 phone tips to help you survive the digital age and avoid information overload.
1. Don’t feel like you always have to be there.
Is anyone else as rubbish at replying to texts and WhatsApps as I am? And then do you also get certain members of your tribe yelling at you because you haven’t got back to them in a week and they want an answer right at that very moment?
SIIIGHHH. I feel you, brother.
Okay, so — Matt Haig is a smart man. He thinks that we all shouldn’t succumb to the pressure of responding to phone messages instantaneously. He says that we should choose not to feel that obligation and simply let them wait.
I mean, we’re all just trying to have a life here — right?
Me, personally? I’m a relatively new business owner, and I’m trying to balance my 10-page work to-do list with finding the time to exercise, do life admin and socialise. It sure ain’t easy in the 21st century!
We should all just give ourselves a break and trust that we will all get back to each other once we have some free time. It’s not the end of the world if your homie takes two hours to reply to your text, instead of two minutes.
Patience, young Skywalker.
2. Turn off your notifications.
The pressure to respond instantly, whether it’s to my Mum’s text about my Uncle John coming to visit or to a stranger’s comment on social media, mostly comes from the influx of phone notifications we receive on a daily basis.
In a work meeting, trying to help your mate move house without interruptions or just sick of all the pinging? Simply switch off your notifications for a while.
I’ve done this several times with Twitter and Instagram and it’s so refreshing not to feel like you’re being pestered all the time.
Go on, give it a try. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
3. Limit phone time to once per day.
In addition, I’ve only been going on social media and answering messages just once per day on a nighttime for the last 12 months.
I have “phone time” for around 30 minutes every night (when we’re together, my long-distance boyfriend knows not to disturb me during this time) — and that’s it.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with phone activities, it’s probably because you’re on your phone too much. #JustSaying
Start limiting the amount of time you’re on your phone and you’re bound to have a simpler, happier life.
4. Don’t be on your phone right before you go to sleep.
I understand that a lot of us use our phones as an alarm, but try not to have your phone time right before you go to sleep.
I used to be guilty of doing this; however, I stopped when I learned that the blue light emitted from our phones can mess with our sleep melatonin levels. The result? It keeps us awake for longer and lowers the quality of our sleep.
5. Stop multitasking on your phone.
As I mentioned before, our brain can only fully function at a certain capacity, and constant multitasking can overload it. It can also make you lose focus and increase your stress levels.
And who wants that?
Instead of jumping from one app to another all the time, make mono-tasking your new best friend. Mono-tasking is exactly what it says on the tin; it means focusing on one thing at one time.
Your brain will thank you for it later.
6. Don’t look at your phone when you wake up.
I recently learned this tip from a male influencer who I can’t remember the name of. (Dude, I’m so sorry! If I find you again, I’ll link you.)
Why not try to avoid the demand and start your day refreshed by not checking your notifications as soon as you wake up?
Most of us scroll through Facebook first thing in the morning like the daily newspaper; however, you’re setting your mind up to be cluttered before you’ve even had your breakfast coffee.
Instead, de-cleanse yourself from the phone bug before you start your day and only check your phone during your dedicated phone time.
(Trust me, it works!)
7. Be present at social events.
Okay, hands up — how many people are guilty of being on their phones when they’re supposed to be socialising with their friend/family member/colleague? (Delete as appropriate.)
Don’t get me wrong — if you’re checking on the progress of your sick Aunt, that’s a bit different. However, if you’re scrolling through social media purely to see what’s up — SHAME ON YOU.
I know we’ve all done it, but try to make a conscious effort to stop paying more attention to your phone than the people you’re supposed to be spending time with.
I mean, you can go on your phone during phone time later; however, you don’t have as many opportunities to socialise with the ones you love.
8. If our ancestors can cope being phone-free, then we can too.
And always remember that we all functioned perfectly fine as a society before phones and technology rocked our world.
Having a phone in our pocket is not the be-all and end-all. Life goes on.
It’s important to remind yourself of this when you’re crying into your cocktail because your phone died before you had chance to take photos of you and your friends on a night out, or when you’re having a strop at work because you left your phone at home and you won’t be able to check Facebook in your lunch hour.
(Both have happened to me and are true stories. Eek.)
9. Indulge in regular digital detoxes.
Now, I know we’ve talked about being phone-free for most of the day, but what if you were phone-free for longer periods of time?
Whether it’s a week-long holiday or a weekend getaway for your pal’s hen do, digital detoxes are paramount in our era.
Like, they’re just SO GOOD FOR THE SOUL, I can’t even tell you.
Well, I can — because I’ve done them several times before, and I always really enjoy them.
It just makes you feel so at ease knowing that you don’t have a phone to deal with. Sure, it’s a more simplistic lifestyle, but sometimes you just need that calmness and clarity in your life.
Even if you can’t abstain from your phone altogether, cut it down to solely WhatsApp usage or scrolling through one social media page. Trust me, it really does work wonders.
10. Remember your phone is an inanimate object.
YOU’RE AN INANIMATE OBJECT!
(In Bruges, anyone? Ahem.)
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget that your phone is just an object at the end of the day. It can’t hug you hello or listen and give you advice on your problems like a human can.
Don’t talk to your phone and don’t swear at your phone when you’re angry and throw it across the room because it honestly won’t know what the eff you’re doing.
Instead, put it into perspective and remember that your phone is just a phone. Sure, it’s a useful tool, but it doesn’t really hold any value in the grand scheme of life. It’s the people around us who matter, not inanimate objects.
There are many wonderful things about technology. However, there are also some not-so-wonderful things and, in this day and age, it’s easy to let your phone rule your life. Sometimes we need to remember to put down our phones in order to stay more connected to society, and to real life.