Intentional Phone Habits
One of my intentions for 2018 was to learn how to learn my phone and social media in a healthier way. A way that is life-giving instead of energy-draining. Some days I do better than others, but the fact that I'm being more conscious and mindful has made a huge difference. These are a few healthy habits I have been implementing into my daily life with a smart phone.
1. Only 1 hour of "for fun" social media time a day. (this does not include work-related responsibilities) Sometimes I use my time all at once, sometimes I use 30 minutes in the morning and 30 at night. But I always try to set a timer for myself and it helps a lot. I don't do great with this everyday, but I like to think most of the time I do pretty well 😜 Set a timer for yourself when you know you are going to be taking a moment to scroll through apps. This will give you a place to stop and help you monitor your time.
2. Take one day a week where you don't log on at all. After trying to be more aware of how social media affects me, I can usually gauge when it's about time for a break. Because I do this intuitively, sometimes I end up logging off during the weekend, other times I need a day away during the week. No matter when I take a break, I always come back feeling refreshed and ready to use my phone in a healthy and inspiring way.
3. Post what you need to post and log off right away. If I do want to post something on social media throughout the day (on my instagram story for example) I allow myself to do so, but I try my darndest not to scroll through everyone else's posts when I do. This is still very hard for me because it's so tempting with those little stories right at the top of the timeline! But I've learned that posting what I need to post and then turning it off until later saves me a lot of time and keeps me from getting distracted. Definitely still working on this one though!
4. Take advantage of airplane mode. (Or do not disturb mode but honestly I still can't quite figure out what that does?) Not only does this protect you from excess radiation, but it's helpful in staying focused and not being tempted to pick up your phone throughout the day.
5. Turn off push notifications. Seriously, do it. I haven't had notifications on my phone (other than texts or calls) for over 2 years and I can't even imagine how distracting and tempting it would be to be bombarded by notifications from social media all day. I also think I read something once that said phone notifications and dings and buzzes are actually linked to anxiety and stress. And I totally believe it. I always keep my phone on silent because even the dinging noise of a text makes my stomach sink every time I hear it. (Maybe that's a more deep-seated issue or maybe I really just need to get rid of my phone? LOL)
6. Set an electronics curfew. I now turn my phone off 2-3 hours before bed. I used to do 1 hour but that was never enough time for me because it takes me a while to wind down from things. Having a good chunk of time where my phone is off forces me to spend my evenings in a better way like reading or just hanging out with family. Now that our clocks have been sprung forward for spring, I'm thinking about trying out a curfew where there's no electronics until the sun comes up in the morning, and no electronics after the sun goes down in the evening. I think this is a mindful way to savor those beautiful, slow moments in the mornings and evenings. Setting a curfew on electronics is so helpful, especially if you do work related things on your phone or maybe social media is your work. Having a cut off time creates healthy boundaries and a better relationship with social media.
I'm definitely still in the process of learning these habits and making them stick, but I after about 2 months of intentional social media use, I can definitely see a difference. There are some days where I'm like "did I really spend that much time on instagram today?!" and other days where I don't even remember to log on at all.
A lot of people suggested to me the app Moment which tracks your time on your phone and each app. I liked the idea but ended up deleting it because the notifications where driving me nuts. But if you don't mind that, Moment may be an app you can look into for tracking your phone time.
I hope these tips were helpful to you in some way! What did I miss? In what ways do you practice healthy and intentional phone habits?