We’re all SO addicted to technology. It permeates through every single aspect of our lives. It’s a widely acknowledged claim. Shit, a photographer recently photographed couples and then removed their phones from the shots in post and it’s insanely unsettling. I find myself on my phone way more often than I should be.
I mean, how sad is it that we live in a world in which we can’t sit through a dinner with friends without checking Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, texts, and emails. We’re willingly relinquishing the most important aspect of life: human connections and relationships. Again, this is widely acknowledged.
There was the viral picture of the old lady without a cell phone surrounded by people with their phones out. She sticks out like a sore thumb.
There is also this comic, which made me feel awful.
So the question remains. “What can we do?”
I’ve spent some time testing things out, and here’s what I came up with.
1. Intentionally leave your phone away from you.
It’s been proven that the further something is away from you, the less likely you are to use it. We’ve seen this with working out and going to the gym. If you have to travel further to get to one, you’re less likely to go. So, let’s apply this principle to our technology. You and a friend are going to go on a hike or a walk in the woods…
Leave your damned phone in the car!
I know, I know. You’re probably thinking to yourself “How will everyone know I was there?” “How could I possibly go on a hike without taking 50 selfies?”.
Here’s a better question: How does it make you feel to realize you're missing out on the things that are most important in life, because you can’t be present for those moments when your face is buried in your smartphone? Leave your phone at a further distance from you, keep it in your purse or coat, leave it in the car, whatever it takes. The separation anxiety will subsist eventually.
2. Stop Watching Netlfix in Bed at Night
Oh, the horror! This is probably the toughest one for a lot of people, but we have a suggestion. Read a damned book before bed at night! It helps to put you to sleep and serves as a form of silent meditation. Beyond that, you’ll strengthen your mind a lot more this way than you would just by simply watching re-runs of Friends as you drift off.3. Carry a Journal
No one carries a journal anymore, but maybe more people should. Instead of sharing your thoughts to the world on twitter in 140 characters or less, maybe it would benefit you to write your thoughts down on paper. It helps you to get them out, without the need for tech. Let’s say you’re going camping. You’re surrounded by beauty. Instead of whipping out your phone and taking pictures to help you remember the place, journal about it instead. This is how people used to do it after all.4. Schedule Tech Breaks
You control the tech, the tech doesn’t control you. You need to make an effort to form a new habit. The habit is taking scheduled breaks from your technology and filling that time with other things. You’ll realize how much time you spend on your phone and computer when you take these breaks.
Ultimately, this line of thinking is all about maintaining focus on what is really important in life. It sounds so incredibly simple, but the experience can be transforming. You’ll start to become less available to the world of social media and more available and present for the people you are with in real life and the relationships you have with them.