We’ve all seen the videos, right, the ones that inspire us to put down our phones and start living in the moment.
We’ve all sat and nodded in agreement, shared on our Facebook pages, wondered how life got so entrenched in and entangled with a handheld device.
If you’re anything like me, though, actually detaching yourself from your phone is great in theory, but tricky in practice. Especially when:
- Your job requires lots of Insta and FB and email shenanigans
- You have a bazillion things to diarise on a daily basis and the phone is the only way to do it – there’s the emails or texts back and forth, the calendar invitations, the RSVPs, the looking-up locations and details, then rearranging it all at least once (double, triple, quadruple that when you have kids)
It’s a love/hate thing
I have a love/hate relationship with my phone.
I love it because I can take cute snaps of my little boy 24/7 and video his new scooter tricks at the skate park. Because I can order my coffee without having to queue, or even take cash out with me. Because I can communicate with friends near and far whenever I want. Because, wherever I am, I can check the weather, book a HIIT class, Shazam a song, work remotely, have a guided meditation, do my banking, google the answer to just about anything.
But as the years of being mobile have gone on, our lives have become so dependent on our phones that there’s also plenty to hate. We’re always ‘on’, always available. Instant responses are expected to everything. We’re continually distracted from this thing in the palms of our hands.
It’s actually quite overwhelming.
There’s precious little time to just stop and ‘be’.
Prolonged ‘looking down’ is only good news for chiropractors.
Although the smartphone is indeed super smart and super handy, it has robbed us of time and space alone with our thoughts. When we have that space, we work through stuff. We have ideas. We find peace.
I don’t know about you, but I need a bit more peace in my life. I recently surrendered to the reality that I have an unhealthy relationship with my phone. Not quite as bad as an addiction (although I suspect some of you can relate to that) but it was definitely taking up too much of my time, contributing to feelings of anxiety and a pretty severe lack of sleep.
So I set myself some new phone rules. I‘ve been following them for a few weeks and I can categorically say that life feels calmer. When I follow these rules, I can be more mindful, more present, more productive.
Perhaps you can implement them too.
My New Phone Rules
- No phone after 9pm. None. Down, boy, night night, see you in the morning.
- No phone before 7am. That means no checking of phone until after breakfast/spin/yoga/meditation whatever else you do first thing in the morning. Create a morning routine where the phone comes last.
- At work, don’t have your phone on your desk. Too tempting.
- In the car, leave the phone in a bag or back pocket (rather than in a bracket on the windscreen where it’s so easily accessible).
- Never ever have your phone on the table during dinner.
- Go for a run or walk (or whatever you fancy) without the phone. Unplug yourself at least once every day, physically put some distance between yourself and the phone. You’ll notice how free you feel, it’s actually liberating once you get over the slight panic of being without it.
- Turn notifications off. You don’t need those beeps in your life.
- Instead of scrolling through Insta and FB and Snapchat until you’ve seen it all, accept that it’s not the end of the world if you miss stuff. No. Big. Deal. Set your phone timer to 15mins and set aside two or three times a day to do a 15 minute block of social media phone action. When the timer goes off, put the phone down, no matter what you were in the middle of.
- Do not, I repeat, do not use your phone as your morning alarm. Charge that baby overnight in the kitchen, he does not belong in your bedroom. Get an alarm clock (or become a parent haha then you don’t need one).
- Make a point of enjoying experiences without taking photos or Insta stories/Snapchat. A meal out, a concert, a run, whatever. Document them in your memory, not on your feed.
I won’t lie, it’s not easy to follow all these rules all the time.
But at least if we set our intentions we are bringing consciousness to the way we use our phones. And consciousness, awareness, is always the first step to creating positive change.
Get over your PHOMO and get some rules in place. I’d love to hear how you go, leave a comment below to share how you’re taming your phone habit.