When you wake up in the morning do you roll over, stretch out your arm, feel around on the bedside table, floor or bottom of the duvet for your other piece of you – I mean your smartphone/mobile phone? Because these days our phones really are an extension of us. From Snapchat & Instagram to Twitter, Facebook & WhatsApp, if you want to check up on your friends, family, acquaintances, and even complete strangers (celebrities or interesting people you’ve heard about), you just have to scroll across to the app of your choice, open and enjoy. It’s that simple. Scroll, open, enjoy. That’s how simple and progressive our lives have gotten. And we usually start and end our day like this. Scroll, open, enjoy. But let’s not forget to add – waste time. Because that’s a little bit of what we are doing too.
I often have friends and family say to me, ‘I’m trying really hard to cut down the amount of time I’m on Facebook’, ‘I spend about 45 minutes in the morning and at night checking and re-checking social media sites when I should be sleeping or being productive’, or even worse, ‘I left my phone at home, and my life was almost over.’ YES! I truly have heard these words. Are you shocked and shaking your head in disgust at these smartphone addicts? Or have you too at one point or other said these exact same or similar words to this effect? I have! Indeed, as much as our phones are a fantastic source of connection, they are equally a fabulous source of disconnection.
Don’t worry, though. I’ve personally discovered three quick & easy ways to curb the smartphone addiction.
3 Disconnect to Reconnect Engagement Strategies (DRES):
You can use these strategies all together or choose which best fits your lifestyle. I mainly use the last two options.
- Switch your phone off completely (if you know your phone engagements are usually social and non-urgent this may be a handy option for you!)
- Turn your phone on silent. Usually if your phone is on silent, when somebody calls you once you won’t be alerted, but if they call a 2nd or 3rd time your phone recognises this as urgent and alerts you. (If your phone doesn’t do this automatically there is a way to set this up, so ask for help from your operator.) This way you know that when you pick up your phone to interrupt a meeting of any kind it will be important, and not a ‘could you please pick up a chocolate bar on your way back into the office?’ type of call!
- Turn off your Wi-Fi & data connectivity. Only texts and calls get through and these may probably be the most urgent things anyway. You also save having to be alerted every time a junk email comes through or somebody comments on a picture on your Instagram, or somebody @’s you on Twitter.
Three handy tricks to disconnect to reconnect:
- Set a ‘wind down’ time and consistently stick to this every single night, or for a specified number of nights during the week. For example, use DRES at 10pm every weekday evening.
- When you wake up, wait 30 minutes before you turn on your Wi-Fi & data, turn your phone off silent, or switch your phone on. This way you can talk to your spouse, housemate or children free from distractions, and give them your full complete attention. Your morning preparations can be done quickly and you’ll have free-flowing productive thoughts, and you can at least appreciate 30 minutes of connection through [smartphone] disconnection that will greatly impact your day ahead!
- Commit to employing DRES when meeting up with friends, clients, or family. They will certainly notice a difference and so will you. You will feel more connected, engaged and present, and being in full presence of mind within meetings like that will without a doubt positively impact in more successful relationship outcomes – both personally and professionally.