Two weeks of no access to my personal mobile was a blessing in disguise. At the time I was not pleased, in fact, I was upset. My mobile phone was damaged while I apprehended a young man trying to break into my neighbour’s car.
A good deed resulted in a broken mobile phone. But everything happens for a reason. Not having my personal mobile phone helped me to realise how much I needed a break from the constant connectivity my smartphone brought.
This rectangle shape device approximately 5″ in length, was zapping my time and focus. I was becoming increasingly reliant on this device for on the spot planning, recording and researching information, etc. Information was accessible at my fingertips and I was contactable literally 24 hours of the day. I had not realised how impatient I was becoming and the addiction that comes from the immediate gratification of WiFi and instant responses.
According to Network World, The average adult checks their phone 50 to 300 times each day. And tap, swipe and click on their devices 2,617 times per day. That’s a lot of time on one device. These figures appear extreme but if we take into account the amount of time we spend reading emails, as well as messages, scrolling through social media and watching movies on the go, at work, and at home, it’s very easy to see why we spend a lot of time on our smartphones.
Smartphones can easily distract us from our own priorities because we end up urgently responding to other people’s priorities which fill up our inboxes, keeping up to date with trends, debates and even gossip on social networks.
David Greenfield, a clinical psychiatrist and founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, asserts that smartphones can easily take over a person’s life because they’re always in our possession and the constant notifications capture our attention. He further claims the constant use of smartphones has been found to affect people’s sleep pattern and posture.
Taking a break from our smartphones from time to time can only do us good. Known as a digital detox, I recommend you apply the tips listed below.
* Establish a maximum daily time allowance for your devices.
* Unplugging periodically from your smartphone, will give your mind space to be creative and an opportunity to gain mental clarity and solidify your attention. It will also give your fingertips and wrists a break.
* Turn of notifications for set times during the day. Or better still, switch-off your smartphone when going to bed.
* Constantly checking and responding to emails is not always productive, so schedule a time during the day/evening to check and respond to personal emails and once you have finished working your contract hours turn work devices off!
* Be proactive instead of reactive. Take control of your actions instead of being led by events. Your mobile device should not be controlling your every action. Yes, there will be times when you will receive a change of plan or an emergency deadline which you have not planned for, but ensure these are not the norm. And remember, when you are proactive, you’ll act ahead of time.
To summarise, a digital detox is something we all need from time to time. But if you are still not convinced, try it. You will find that downtown replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, but more importantly, it creates real-life connections and conversations with ‘people’ hopefully, face-face.