Most of us don’t consider ourselves technology addicts… but have you ever noticed an itch to reach for your phone and open Twitter or Facebook when you are alone? Have you noticed a discomfort when you haven’t updated your status in a while or let your Snapchat friends know what you have been doing? I never thought of myself as a technology addict. I only looked at my phone when I was bored, and I used social media simply as a tool to keep up with my friends, right? However, with the opportunity to take a class centered around disconnecting from technology, I realized that my phone had a tighter grip on me than I thought. Now that the class has concluded, I decided to continue decreasing my social media use, and I have found that I have become more productive and less stressed. Here are some tips on how you can disconnect, power off, and unplug.
(Yes, I realize the irony of me posting this on an online blog.)
Embrace the analog: try reading for fun or writing in a journal.
Many of us reach for our phones because of we’re bored. By finding other ways to remedy my boredom while waiting, such as keeping a book in my purse, I barely wanted to reach for my phone. Plus, I was able to finish 3 books during January (noted here in my January media favorites post). I also started keeping a more regular journal. Journaling helps me get my creative juices flowing, and the feeling of pen on paper can be tangibly productive. Some other ways to embrace the analog include crafting, scrapbooking, or playing cards.
Use an app to track phone usage.
I realize the irony of using your phone to try to reduce phone usage, but as a data lover, I’ve found that knowing the amount of time I use my phone per day helps me gradually reduce that amount of time. My phone usage has been on gradual downward slope since I have been able to track it. You might also be able to find out which apps you use the most. I use Moment to track my phone usage. One of my favorite things about this particular app is that I can see how I stack up against other Moment users in my phone usage. If you have a competitive side like I do, seeing that your phone usage is below average can be pretty affirming.
Delete social media apps from your phone.
This doesn’t mean you have to delete social media or wipe yourself off the grid. I still have social media on my laptop computer and I still check it, but since I deleted Twitter and Facebook from my phone, I found that I don’t pick up my phone as often. Deleting the apps from my phone has also helped me realize that there aren’t really any situations in which I need to check social media. The old “out of sight, out of mind” trick also comes into play. Since I don’t have the apps on my phone, there is nothing to click on when I’m bored.
Disconnect from tech with some friends.
The fact that I had 25 other people disconnect along with me definitely made disconnecting from tech easier. You don’t have to recruit 25 people to disconnect with you (although that would definitely help), but having a companion or two in your effort to disconnect can be incredibly helpful. You can challenge each other, have conversations with one another, play board games or cards, and enjoy the solitude of disconnection together.
With these tips, I hope you can find joy and productivity I found in disconnecting. Follow my blog for more!