Technology has indeed changed our lives! I would have never imagined ordering a meal or a shared ride on my phone, talking to friends or having a regular meeting via teleconference, and paying bills via an app 20 years ago. With all the conveniences the technology has brought to our lives, it also adds a tremendous level of stress, especially when it comes to the world of social media.
As a life and career coach, I’ve seen simply too many clients that are addicted to their digital devices. Research also shows that the overuse of digital technology is one of the major causes of mental and emotional distress, especially among teens and students. Furthermore, excessive use of social media relates to poor self-confidence, social isolation, shallow relationships, and poor sleep quality which impacts career professionals as well as everyday people.
We can’t undo the technology inventions and innovations, but we can certainly be mindful of the time and energy we spend on it. As a life and career coach, I believe being intentional is the key toward a better control of your digital consumption.
Take your phone out of your morning routine:
In my previous time management post, research shows “96% of people check their mobile phone within one hour of waking up in the morning and 61% take a look at their phone within the first 5 minutes.” Before you notice, you can easily spend an hour or more scrolling on other people’s posts or videos. Be intentional and make a habit to allocate dedicated time for emails and social media instead of being consumed when you first start your day.
Turn off your notifications:
I am not sure about you, but the sound of notifications puts me on high alert and distracts me from the task at hand. I’ve had the habit of turning off not just the notifications but also the sound of my devices and check my phone only a few times a day. Try it out, you will enjoy the needed peace and quietness, and this will for sure help you focus better and get more done.
Separate yourself from your phone:
I hosted a rising college student one summer, and she could not let her phone out of her hand, period. She was addicted to checking her phone all the time even when there’s no notification or alerts fighting for her attention. When my husband and I asked her to leave her phone in her room when we shared meals, the idea of separating from her phone gave her anxiety. We allowed her to place her phone in the kitchen countertop for a week and gradually she became comfortable without her phone in sight, and that’s when we were able to have deep, meaningful and focused conversations over the dinner table. Leave your phone behind, you will discover a new, productive and happy world.
Find alternative activities:
Come up with a list of things you can involve with only if you free yourself up from having to look at a flat screen. You can go for a walk, have coffee with a friend in person, go to the gym, read a books which you didn’t have time for, take some classes to acquire the skills and knowledge you need for personal or career advancement, create art, or visit friends and family. And how about spending time with your little ones, be there and grow old with them?
Get involved and do things with others in the real world! I know it could be intimidating in the beginning if you haven’t done that for some time. Start with some hobbies, interest groups or clubs that you are excited about and get involved with those who share the same passion. Very soon, you will have a community of good friends who are there to cheer you on and support you for the future.
Delete social media apps from your phone:
I am sure this is a scary thought, but rest assure that you won’t miss much. After all, you will still have the access via a browser or a computer. Having to sit in front of your computer creates extra steps to get to the sites, which will help you resist the temptation more easily and therefore reduce the visiting frequency.
Reward and celebrate:
Notice your progress on the reduction of your digital consumption and celebrate it with a friend, a meal or something serves as the milestone reward.
If you’d like to know how I support my clients to detox digitally, discover new purposes, and take control of their lives, be sure to reach out!
About Faye Weng
Your Online Life and Career Coach
Faye Weng is an expert life and career coach who works with clients to take back control of their lives by rediscovering their passions, living/working with a clear purpose, and becoming people who can positively impact the communities around them. As your life and career coach, Faye will help you minimize noises and distractions, focus your effort and attention on the right things, execute a clear plan of action, and celebrate alongside of you when each milestone is reached. Click here to book a complimentary session.