The average person nowadays has evolved a slight tilt downward in their posture from frequent smartphone usage. We have never spent more time looking down in the entirety of the existence of our species. Now, there aren’t actually any stats on that. But think about it — on the subways, at the beach, on the bus, at home, at work, at school — everyone’s eyes are glued to their devices. No one looks at the world that’s passing by. So if you feel that you spend too much time on the phone, here are a few options for you to disconnect with the device.
Turn off notifications
This is a simple solution, but an extremely effective one. There is something that psychologists call the “Zeigarnik Effect.” It basically means that a “loop” opens up when you hear the ding of the notification bell. And you find yourself itching to check it out. It could be important, life and death, right? The “loop” does not close until you have opened the app to see what the notification was about.
But what usually happens is the app sucks you in with more interesting info, and you don’t end up putting the device down for the next 15 minutes. The app companies are smart and they’ve built their apps to make you get the most short-term pleasure possible. So the first step is to not fall in the trap by switching off the notifications and alerts.
Delete the apps
Don’t freak out. These apps cost you time. And time is not infinite. Why do you want to dedicate a major portion of your life to looking at other people’s dog pics? Sure, they’re cute, but is it really worth it? Download an app like Screentime (the irony) and track your different app usage times. Figure out which corporation’s got your attention the most. Who’s making the most money from you? Delete that app from your main device, the one you carry with you to work. Have it on only the device you have at home.
Replace app time
Find a hobby, learn something, read a book, exercise, take a walk, clean the house, plan your week, or do something that gives you more long-term happiness and satisfaction than just swiping up, down, left, right. If you have free time, do something fun, active, physical. Or, just simply sit. Can you manage to do that? Simply sit for an hour. Can you bear yourself? Learn to do it. It’s a good skill to have — getting comfortable with yourself. Once you develop a hobby, you can develop some good, healthy connections with other people.
When you sit down to work, focus on what’s at hand. Switch off the phone and other distractions, and simply focus on the task in front of you. This is increasingly difficult in our distracted world. Doing this makes you more productive. In less time, you will accomplish more. This is particularly important when you have mind-intensive tasks.
It’s a myth when people say they don’t have time to do something. The fact of the matter is that it is just not their priority. They would like to think that it is. But, in fact, it is not. You do things that you like to do, you want to do, not necessarily those that you need to do. So it actually boils down to the problem of willpower and discipline.
Plan your week and days properly. Do not put too many things on the to-do list. Just one or two things you need to see accomplished that day. Once that’s done, keep practicing, and make it a habit. That’s the simple solution to keeping you off distracting stuff, whether it’s on the phone, TV, or online.