Hands up if your phone seems to rule your life. Yep, we get it. But it's time to detox.
Over the last few years, there has been endless research about how we should be frequently unplugging from technology. There’s no doubt that technology and more specifically, smart phones, have changed the way we communicate and interact. And don’t get us wrong, we adore our iPhones, our laptops, our computers, our iPads and every other gadget we seem to own. However, sometimes it feels like our technology owns us, rather than us owning it. Does anyone else feel that way?
We constantly rely on our phones, in particular, to speak to (or more accurately.... text!) our friends, to find our way, to look up something quickly on Google or to scroll aimlessly for 45 minutes on Instagram. Whilst we work in digital media and technology is a part of our lives and our livelihood, we still crave days where we don’t have to look at a screen. Although that is quite unrealistic in many people's lines of work nowadays, ours included, across the SWIISH team we have implemented a few small changes that ensure we’re not glued to our phones 24/7.
Just the sound of our phone vibrating or beeping can cause us enough distraction to lose our train of thought. Although we haven’t turned off notifications off altogether, we limit the time when we do have them switched on. If we’re in a meeting or we’re smashing through a whole tonne of work, or even if we're home watching a movie on the couch, we turn our phone onto Do Not Disturb mode so our phone constantly lighting up or beeping doesn’t distract us. Once we’ve finished whatever we're doing, we can then look at our phone to see what we might have missed. Hint: it’s usually nothing.
This is one we do at night to make sure we don’t procrastinate in going to sleep. An hour before we hit the hay, we plug our phones in to charge in another room and leave them until the following morning. This ensures it’s not the last thing we look at before going to sleep and it’s not the first thing we look at when we wake up. Similarly, if we have to buckle down for a huge project or if we have a deadline looming, we will hide our phone in the kitchen pantry (true story!) for as many hours as needed.
Another easy and effective way to not rely on your phone so much is to put pen to paper more often. Instead of having everything on our Apple calendars, we use an A5 leather diary and we get the exact same one every year. Similarly, instead of having a digital to-do list, everything is handwritten on a notepad. Hand writing things also makes us remember them more than if we typed them out on the computer.
This one is a little more drastic and we have to be honest with you that for true technology addicts (who, us?!), it takes a little while to be able to get to this point, but the best way to fully unplug is to have a proper digital detox. Start slow with half a day, and then work yourself up to one day and then a weekend. We find completing a digital detox on the weekend is a whole lot easier than during the week because you’re not generally expected to be online for work on a Saturday or Sunday. It’s also amazing how much you can accomplish when you’re not constantly checking your phone! Use the time you would usually spend on your phone to go to the beach, have a nap, read a book, bake a cake or ring your mum. You’ll feel so much better for it.
We would love to hear in the comments below how you keep sane in this overly digital world! Any and all tips are more than welcome!