“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives.”
What kind of friend would your phone be if you were to describe it as an actual person?
Take just a second, pause whatever you’re doing right now and just think. If your phone was a real person what would your relationship status be?
Wherever you are at right now, there is a happy medium that can be found, and it doesn’t involve getting a flip phone.
Start with what’s wrong with your phonelationship by deleting apps and turning off notifications
How many notifications do you get every day? 10? 50? 100?
Whatever the number is, it’s probably too many, and you know it. How would you like to get only those notifications that matter to you? You can! And you should make it happen.
I’ve been into my app settings many times turning off notifications from any app that gets particularly disruptive. I may even be a little too liberal in my shutting off notifications at times.
If you’re like me you just can’t help but check a notification to make it go away, and getting rid of as many as possible really helps.
Do yourself a huge favor, and stop the notifications. Allow yourself to get notifications only from important calendar reminders and the select few apps that improve your life. Assess the effectiveness of these reminders on your productivity and adjust as needed.
Then, delete all of your useless apps. In fact, delete as many apps as you possibly can.
Including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.
Face it, is your life really any better with these apps?
What purpose do the apps that you have on your phone serve in your life?
Do they serve you? Are they getting in the way? Do they help you reach your goals?
I find that the majority of the time I visit Facebook or other social media sites for relaxation, yet find that I almost never feel more relaxed after I’m done there. Are you the same way?
How would spending more face to face time with the ones you love improve your life?
Next, download apps that will improve your life
“The most important impact on society and the world is the cell phone. Cell phones have actually been one of the primary drivers in productivity improvements.”
My top three apps for productivity include:
Forest– Excellent for focusing using the Pomodoro technique. I’ve been using this app at work for the last several months to develop a focus-session habit, which has significantly improved my productivity.
Overdrive– Unbelievably helpful free way to use your library card to check out books (including audiobooks) online, without going into the physical library. The only downside is that not all books are always available, and some popular books have a very long hold line.
Scribd– Another great app to let you listen to and read books. Scribd requires a cheap, paid subscription, may not have all the titles you want, but doesn’t have the long wait times like Overdrive sometimes does. I’ve used Scribd and Overdrive to listen to over 30 books this year (with a Family, full-time job, and being in graduate school).
Other great apps include Amazon Kindle, Curiosity, and Audible.
Notice how nearly all of my app recommendations involve reading?
My recent productivity increases have largely been due to an effort to change my mindset regarding my phone.
Social media content doesn’t usually improve our lives that much, other than when we actually connect with the people that we know online. Learning by listening to books, on the other hand, has been the catalyst for significant improvement in every single aspect of my life.
Change your mindset. Consume useful information from books and only use social media to actually connect with people. You’ll begin to see a massive change for the better in your life.
Get out of your phone and into the world
“Nowadays we have so many things that take our attention — phones, Internet — and perhaps we need to disconnect from those and focus on the immediate world around us and the people that are actually present.”
Whoa, you mean I actually have to talk to people?
I get it, I experience introverted tendencies too.
I sometimes wonder, though, if smartphones have made more of us “introverts” that may not actually be introverted were it not for these technological advances.
Here’s a little trick that will help- shut your phone down.
Not just off, I mean disconnect it, for a time.
First, quit paying for data, it’s a useless time and money waster when you are probably in wifi areas most of the time anyway.
Switch to Ting to help you track and shut down your data usage. You really don’t need to be connected all of the time. Of course, I understand there are outliers to this, so this may not work for everyone.
And second, shut down your wifi with your router at home. I modified my router settings to block my phone from Internet use for the first 90 minutes after I walk in the door from work every day.
So I actually focus on my Family right when I get home from work. Yes, it still takes some self-discipline to not go into the router settings and turn on wifi.
And even more discipline to not get on my phone and read or listen to all of the amazing books I may have downloaded for listening on the way home from work.
But disconnecting my phone from the outside world and making it a habit to keep it shut down has been incredibly beneficial to my life and to my Family.
And I know it will benefit yours.
Do I really have to do this?
Only if you really want your life to change, yes.
If you want to remain in the complicated relationship you have with your phone, then keep it that way.
Yes, there may be some growing pains as you get used to the changes. But I promise, based on my own personal experience with this, that your life will significantly improve. Adjust your relationship with your phone to be a help and not a hindrance to you and your productivity, and you will be happier.
What can you achieve if you had a healthy relationship with your phone?