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Most of us are more addicted to our gadgets than we’d like to think! Whether you’re constantly checking Facebook on your phone or keep refreshing your browser tabs waiting for emails and messages, there’s a good chance that you’re spending more time online than you realize.
Smartphones in particular have contributed to society’s growing tech addiction. With friends and family just a message away and search engines always available to answer our questions, it’s no wonder that we’re constantly staring at our phone screens.
Being perpetually glued to our phones, tablets, and computers, however, isn’t good for our health and well-being. The following tips and tricks include a few simple suggestions for helping you “unplug” from your gadgets, reducing your tech dependency for good.
Have Device-Free Zones at Home
Did you know that 4 out of every 10 adults check their smartphone if it wakes them up at night? Bright screens and phone notifications are ruining the quality and quantity of our sleep! The bedroom is one place that should ideally be kept low-tech or tech-free. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, set it across the room so you won’t be tempted to check it throughout the night. To truly separate yourself from your phone, revert back to using a traditional alarm clock.
Consider asking yourself whether other parts of your home should be kept device-free, too. Many of us, for instance, have gotten into the habit of scrolling through our phones while eating our meals. Consider making the kitchen – or at least your kitchen table – tech free, too.
If you’re struggling to keep yourself away from your devices, consider starting small. Taking half-hour “tech breaks,” for instance, can be a good start in reducing your tech dependence.
Keep Your Devices Out of Sight
As the old saying goes, “Out of sight is out of mind.” Perhaps the most straightforward way to break free of your phone is to simply put it somewhere out of sight. Instead of having your phone sitting on the table next to you, put it in your purse, a jacket pocket, or in another room. If you’re always checking your phone while at a stoplight or caught in traffic, put your phone in the backseat of your car instead. While working on a project that requires your attention, put your devices elsewhere. You’ll be less tempted to grab your phone if it isn’t sitting right in front of you.
Take Up Tech-Free Hobbies
Nowadays, almost anything that can be done offline can be done online, too. No matter what you want to do, it seems like there’s always “an app for that.” Despite this fact, it’s often better to reconnect with the physical world. Instead of taking an online course or completing a workout with the help of a YouTube video, sign up for a class at your local community college. Call a friend to schedule an in-person coffee date or dinner rather than emailing them. Spend your mornings reading a paperback book or printed newspaper. Unwind in the evening by playing board games or completing a puzzle with family, friends, or your love interest. Go for a walk or pick up another outdoor hobby, like gardening or fishing. Though the itch to grab your phone might linger, you’ll soon remember how much fun it can be to spend quality time offline.
Set Your Phone to Silent
In many cases, the lure to grab our phones is made exponentially worse by the “pinging” of incoming notifications. Almost all of us feel the need to check our phones when we hear them ring or vibrate. Unless you’re awaiting an important phone call, set your phone to silent. Turn off all of the “push” notifications you’ve been receiving from your apps, too. Instead of being beckoned to your phone every few minutes, check it once every few hours to see if you’ve received new messages. Almost anything can wait!
Forcefully Break Bad Habits
We all struggle to maintain our willpower at times. If you find that you simply can’t stop opening your favorite apps, it might be time to force yourself to change. Scramble the icons on your phone screen and put your most tempting apps in folders. Place these folders on a page that isn’t the home screen of your device.
If you’re truly spending too much time on your phone, tablet, or computer, consider installing a tracking or blocking app to monitor your tech use. There are dozens of such applications available today, ranging from simple, free apps to more involved subscription services. Manually tracking and limiting the time you spend on your devices may be tedious, but doing so ultimately has the potential to help you reduce the time you spend online.
If you feel guilty about spending so much time on your computer, phone, or tablet, you’re not alone. Many of us feel the same way! Though there’s nothing wrong with playing a few app games or scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, it’s important to be mindful of how we spend our time. By distancing ourselves from our devices and becoming more aware of our online behavior, we can more effectively “power off,” allowing our own batteries to recharge. In doing so, we can improve our health and the quality of our lives.
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