How often do you find yourself distracted by Facebook or WhatsApp while trying to complete an important task?
Productivity is impaired by our inability to drown out the background noise created by online activity. The benefits of minimising your time spent staring at a screen can be considerable.
Being more present in real life can boost your attention span, enhance sleep quality, improve your presence of mind and reduce anxiety and stress.
But how do you overcome the all-consuming urge to flood yourself with rewarding, happy hormones at the simple touch of a button?
App developers no longer base the success of their product on usability, but rather on how addictive their software will become. The compulsion to comfort ourselves with empty ‘likes’ and increase our sense of popularity by garnering more online followers are commercial strategies which are deliberately devised to leave us feeling dissatisfied in the long term. Tech companies are profiteering from our loneliness and social anxiety, both of which are exacerbated by us disconnecting from real relationships and logging into virtual ones.
With this in mind, it is imperative that we reflect on the relationships with our technology and invest in creating good new habits to replace these bad, superficial ones. And ironically, there are apps available for that!
Moment is our favourite app of this kind available online. Devised to set limits on daily social media usage, Moment tracks the amount of time you spend entertaining your addiction to your on-line technology. Moment is a simple and easy way to be more aware of just how much of your life you’re wasting peering into your phones abyss, double-tapping your life away.
Another trigger for vacuous scrolling is boredom. After a busy day at the office it’s too easy to collapse onto the sofa with the television ‘droning on’ in the background, phone in hand, lost in a vortex of profiles, live stories and online messages. Whatever you endlessly search for night after night on your handset is seldom satisfying you, whereas a project with a beginning and an end can provide satisfaction.
Taking up a hobby you once enjoyed again can replace the pointless habits your screen time now demands of you. Drop into a local craft shop and invest in a new past time. From cross-stitch to watercolours, acrylics to pottery, you’re never too old to rediscover a forgotten talent which will develop and broaden your creative flex. Engaging your imagination and appreciating the beauty of the natural world, crafting will undo the negative effects your screen has had upon your presence of mind.
So many of us keep screens in the bedroom. Good sleep hygiene means simplifying your evening routine. Instead of relaxing into your favourite TV series lying in bed, switch to a podcast or listen to sleep music. Engage your ears instead of your eyes. Much like walking into a salon and hearing calming serenity music, your brain will recognise that now is a time for calm relaxation. Sleep will come quicker and last longer.
Refrain from charging your phone in the bedroom to avoid temptation of technology at bedtime.
Eating and watching shows or using your phone is another common bad habit many of us overindulge in. Studies have proven that sitting down to enjoy a meal without distractions from our screens enhances our sense of taste and the satisfaction we derive from eating, meaning you will feel fuller faster and therefore more likely to eat less and lose weight.
There you have two life hacks for the price of one!
Now switch off your technology and live better.