If only I had a device in my pocket that had the answer to almost any question…
Oh, wait, I do: it’s my phone.
Five mobile habits that will change your life
By Jabez LeBret
Courtesy of Forbes.com
The phone in your pocket used to only be able to make calls. Now, this device connects with your social networks, gives you access to emails, opens up the world wide web and allows you the opportunity to avoid speaking to someone and opt to send a text message instead.
This marvel of technology offers an amazing capability for connectivity. Personally it is also decreasing the quality of my life, and last year I decided to do something about it.
Getting your phone prepped for this type of adventure is a chore: it requires changing the way you interact with your phone. The default settings on your phone are designed to grab your attention. Little numbers appearing in the corner of your icons alert you to “important” messages waiting, push notifications alert you to activity, and tones signal upcoming appointments.
By altering my phone’s idle communication with me, I started a year of new behaviors and an improved life.
Keep your phone in your pocket: It’s time that we stop putting the phone on the table at lunch and dinner. We should start enjoying the moment when walking from place to place instead of staring intently at our devices. (On a side note, about 1,500 pedestrians are injured every year in phone-related accidents—and that’s on top of the number injured and killed in distracted driving-related accidents.) Being in the moment is an important component of improving the quality of your life.
Turn off notifications: This is very important. Stop letting every notification distract you when you look at your phone. These notifications create a heightened level of anxiety, which has negative effects on your mental and physical health. The term for this anxiety even has a name: FOMO, or fear of missing out. When you look at your phone and see five notifications waiting for your attention on social networks, fourteen emails needing your response and other issues demanding your concentration, you feel an insanely strong impulse to look. These notifications are creating an environment in which you are either distracted by the act of looking or you are feeling anxiety from FOMO.
Move social icons to a folder: Get your social icons off of your home screen. It’s important that you move distractions far, far away from your purview. This applies even if you do not check your social profiles often. You should choose to view your social network(s) when you have the desire and free time, not during every moment that you are in transit (or waiting in line, or in a conversation with someone, etc.).
Learn when to shut it off: Turning off your device can be key to your happiness. Whether you are at the beach or a concert or are playing cards with friends, tell those that need to know that you are turning off your device for a certain amount of time. Then, go offline and enjoy yourself. If you cannot live without access to your phone for a few hours, your life is in need of some adjustment.
Actually use your phone as a phone: This is radical, I know. Pick up your phone and start calling people. Before you send that next email or text, ask yourself, “Would I be more productive if I called this person?” Calling, rather than texting and emailing, typically builds stronger relationships. Even though text, email and social media messages are often more convenient, they may not produce the long-term connections that you are seeking.
Putting these tips into practice will have more than one positive impact on your life. You will be more happy, involved and recharged. You will also be just as connected, only in a more meaningful way. It’s tempting to want to make every moment of every day the most digitally connected moment of your life, but—for your happiness, health and sanity—sometimes you need to just put down the phone.