The Power of Powering Down

They’re part of our lives but is your phone taking over yours?

Did you know?

  • Australians are spending on average 2.5 hours a day on their phone
  • 23% (almost one in four) of the adult population report being heavy (5 or more times a day) social media users with 6% of those being constantly connected.
  • 12% report “issues with keeping up with social media networks” as a source of stress
  • 51%, so almost one in two Australians report using social media to manage stress!

Have you ever picked up your phone just to check something ‘quickly’ only to emerge and an hour or two later? Sound familiar? Well you are not alone. A recent report by Huawei found that two out of five people say damaging their phones would be more upsetting that being cancelled on by friends. Surely there is something very wrong with that?!

Anyone who knows me well will also know that I am not a big fan of modern technology. In fact I dislike it – a lot! I appreciate it has it’s purpose but I feel it’s taking away our want or need to communicate the old fashioned way – face to face and exchanging verbal communication; seeing people’s reactions, etc. I believe it has something to do with how generally rude we are today (I’m generalising here), people don’t smile at each other – they walk down the street with the heads bowed staring at their phones; road rage – people often will check their phone whilst driving; been on a train lately? How many people are on their phones in some context? They wouldn’t even know who they were sat next to most of the time.

If you are keen to take a break from the phone, here are a few tips how:

  1. Change your thought pattern about how you feel taking time apart from your phone. Think about all the things that you could do that make you happy when you are not on your phone such as catching up with friends (face to face); catching up on your hobbies, etc.
  2. Think about other activities you would like to spend time on. Create triggers for those activities such as leaving a book out, have your gym bag ready the night before or make a shopping list for a new recipe.
  3. Charge your phone away from the bedroom so you are not inclined to pick it before bedtime; disable notifications that you don’t need to know about and make meals a no phone zone.
  4. Try creating small obstacles to make you think consciously about whether you want to me on the phone or not – put a rubber band around it as a reminder to pause before you use it.
  5. Practise trial separations to help you get out of the habit of being on your phone every spare minute. Next time leave it in your bag or pocket when you get on the train, etc. Leave it at home when you go for a walk or to the shops.
  6. It may sound counterintuitive to use an app to help break away from your phone but they can work. Try apps like Moment or Flipd or Forest.