So, here's the truth, I think I may be addicted to my phone. Here's a few scenarios - how many do you recognise? So I'm watching tv but in reality, I've also got half my attention on my emails that I'm scrolling through with one hand - what happened? Noooo, now I'm going to have to watch that TV programme again as I missed the crucial bit; 3am, can't sleep so I reach for my phone and scroll down through Instagram feeds, or peruse interiors on Pinterest and suddenly realise it's 4.30am and I haven't had nearly enough sleep; sitting in a coffee shop waiting for a friend and before I know it, phone's out and I'm scanning social media, checking my messages and scrolling through WhatsaApp. Even worse, I look around and see couples sitting having coffee together, but they're both on their phones, not even speaking to each other. I don't want to become that person, I really don't. Sometimes I catch myself manically scrolling between all the social media apps and precious time has elapsed and I have absolutely NOTHING to show for it; not only that but it doesn't make me feel good! In fact, quite the opposite. Often it leaves me feeling that my life isn't as gorgeous or insta worthy, or my photos aren't as good, or my home isn't as glamorous, that my hair isn't as shiny as that person on stories and so it goes on. Social Media can be such a product for good, but it needs to be carefully managed or before you know it you have a serious habit that's hard to break, a compulsion that becomes an anxiety if you don't look every few minutes.
I'm not sure I can actually remember what it's like to not check one of my devices, phone, laptop or ipad on rotation. So, I've been mulling this over for some time and taking myself in hand in other ways to try and improve my quality of life - getting my nutrition sorted with the help of the wonderful and ever practical May Simpkin, taking my meditation and down time seriously with more exercise and regular slots with Calm, but how was I going to start on decreasing my time on technology, specifically my phone and ipad? Louise Parker, who runs her own business, The Louise Parker Method has spent the last 20 years encouraging her clients to live their best life and advocates the four pillars Think Successfully, Live Well, Eat Beautifully and Work Out Intelligently. One of her biggest pieces of advice in the Live Well section is that we all take a 'digital detox' everyday, at least 90 minutes before bed. This has several benefits - firstly it helps to stop the frantic scrolling, but more importantly it helps you sleep better. Ah, my old friend sleep - where have you gone? The science behind this is that screen-light stimulates your brain and prevents you from feeling sleepy, it's also a total time-drain. We need more time, not less of it. Louise Parker recommends that you shut your phone away out of sight, or even better in a different room.
So, what steps have I taken to sort out this little addiction of mine? Well, I went and bought myself a real old-fashioned alarm clock to start with - off Amazon and it looks like this. I have to confess, the first morning when that alarm went off it was SO LOUD and wasn't the gentle waking I was used to with the sweet birdsong from my iphone, and then I couldn't find the off switch! But, it was a start and I've stuck with it. I'm not saying that I've got this sorted - baby steps, and I'm not saying that I never want to look at social media apps again, but what I do want, is to enjoy the individual accounts that I follow and love and take my inspiration and LEAVE the site. It's not easy, my brain is conditioned to reach for the phone, to have the constant stimulation, so it's definitely a work in progress...BUT, acknowledging my dependency and taking some small steps to control my usage, I know I'll be happier and crucially, more present in the moment as it's happening.
If you'd like some more tips on how to make some simple changes to your phone/ipad use have a look at these. I've implemented quite a few of them and it's made a big difference.
I'd love to hear if you have had similar thoughts and any tips for how you manage and control your app addiction? Let me know in the comments below...