No No Notifications
Managing notifications is a crucial aspect of digital well-being. Making a conscious choice about when and what can interrupt your focus. Spend time deciding which apps you’ll allow to send you notifications.
Disabling notifications and scheduling “check & reply” slots during the day has proven to be an effective method to improve concentration, productivity and reduce stress & anxiety.
Consider disabling badges, they can contribute to increased levels of anxiety & restlessness.
One task at a time
Have you ever reached for your phone to do one task, spend 5 minutes doing something else, put your phone down and realise you actually didn’t perform that task? We’ve all done it!
Focusing on doing the one task you intended to do straight away, and then immediately putting your phone down will help you create a positive habit and waste less time.
Limit yourself to 1 task per pickup, even if it means putting the phone down for a second between tasks.
Try new and old things
Explore new hobbies or rediscover old ones. Hobbies offer an opportunity to take a break and relieve stress. They’re a great way to spend time, instead of mindlessly scrolling on social media.
Hobbies will help you feel more productive, accomplished, creative & be more aware of the present moment. All these things will translate into your everyday life & work!
What are some of the things you loved doing as a child, could you revisit them now?
Set time limits to restrict the amount of time you spend on certain apps. Sometimes it’s hard to put your phone down when scrolling through social media or looking at funny cat pictures.
Setting time limits on apps to match your goals is a very effective way to cut down the time you spend on time-wasting apps and bring your attention back to important tasks & situations.
Most devices have a feature to set time limits on individual apps and websites.
Think before you reach
Before reaching for your tech, take a second to think why you’re doing so. Is it because of a habit, boredom, to perform a specific task, to check what others are up to or to do some work?
By doing this, you can make a conscious decision around why you’re reaching for your tech and decide if you want to go ahead or not, instead of it just being a mindless reflex.
If applicable, creating a longer passcode to access your device, can give you an extra second to think.
Use virtual assistants to perform certain tasks. You can ask virtual assistants to do lots of things, it’s a fast and effective way to get things done.
By using your voice instead of reaching for your phone, it will help you perform the task faster & prevent you from getting distracted or tempted to do something else on the device.
At first, it can feel strange to use your voice, but you’ll get used to it quickly.
From Me To Me
Reward yourself for taking positive steps towards improving your tech & digital habits. They are an effective way to stay motivated, improve your discipline and reach your goals.
Rewards can keep you on a good track as you embed new habits, and work towards your goals. It’s important to find the right type of positive reward, to avoid creating new negative habits.
Try to avoid picking tech related rewards, as it could defeat the purpose.
Become a bookworm
Reading is a productive & fun way to pass the time. Carrying a book, or ebook, with you at all times will help you build a positive habit & reduce the temptation to reach for your phone.
Reading has been proven to have many amazing benefits, including stress reduction, improving memory, increasing knowledge & focus and enhancing your imagination.
Having books on your phone can be very convenient, try turning on Do Not Disturb when reading.
Out of sight, out of mind
Keep your phone out of sight. Studies have revealed that just having your phone in your eye line can lead to you being less focused and more easily distracted.
Keeping your phone out of reach can help improve your awareness and focus, leading to better productivity and better communication in social situations.
Can you leave your phone in a different room while performing certain activities and tasks?
To post or not to post
When posting on social media, take a minute to think about why you’re doing so. We all use social media in different ways & for different reasons, but have you stopped to think “why?”
By taking some time before posting, it will help you become more aware of what’s driving you do to it, and explore if it aligns with your personal and professional goals.
Try only posting from non-mobile devices, this will give you more time to think of the why.
Use more tech
Find apps & services that simplify or automate certain tasks to become more productive, such as email templates, collaboration tools, calendar scheduling & accounting apps.
Automating tasks you perform multiple times a day will allow you to spend more time on the tasks that matter most. Free up some time and brain space to accomplish more.
Don’t fall into the pitfall of spending days trying to find that perfect unique app, start with the obvious.
Build Good habits
Tech has brought us many good things, like handy habit trackers. Sometimes we need a bit of help to get on the right track so find a habit tracker app with the right features for you.
Building positive habits isn’t easy, but once we get started they can boost our motivation and promote success. They can also help us learn more about ourselves and achieve our goals.
Habit trackers don’t have to be in digital form, a journal can be a great option too.
Go out in nature. There are many benefits of going out in nature, it improves memory, decreases stress, boosts energy and creativity, just to name a few.
Going out in nature and forgetting about your tech is a powerful way to reconnect with your surroundings & yourself. If you live in a city, a walk in the park can have many benefits.
We all like taking nice pictures of sunsets, just make sure to turn on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode
Sticky note on screen
Attach a sticky note on the screen of your phone or tablet with a gentle (or not so gentle) note asking you if you really need to use the device. “Are you sure you want to use me?”
To help you be more intentional, having a physical reminder on your devices can help you become more aware of how frequently & why you reach for your phone.
Instead of a sticky note, you can use a customised wallpaper saying something like: “Why are you here?”
Establishing a meditation and/or mindfulness practice can further encourage the building of new habits. It’s also a wonderful way to cultivate a healthier and calmer mind.
Some of the benefits of meditation are: improve concentration, reduce stress, boost creativity and improve productivity. It’s also a very effective way to reduce tech dependence.
There are many great apps and books to help you establish a meditation practice.
Black and white
Put your devices on greyscale mode. This means your device will show everything in black and white.
App designers are keen to make their apps as attractive & addictive as possible, greyscale can counteract this by diminishing their appeal. With a less stimulating phone you’re more likely to limit your use to essential and necessary tasks.
Greyscale mode can usually be found in the accessibility features of your devices.
Plan your day
At the beginning of your day (or working day) set yourself a few goals & tasks you want to achieve. Consider how using tech could be helpful, or not, towards reaching those goals.
Having a clear intention for the day and set yourself a couple of significant goals can help you become more efficient, creative, productive and disciplined.
Here we’re talking about any type of goals and tasks, not just tech oriented ones.
Take a walk
During your lunch or coffee breaks go for a short walk. Our breaks often involve checking our social media or reading something online, but is that a real break?
Taking a real break and having a quick walk can do wonders in reducing stress levels, boosting energy and improving your mood. Even a short walk can have significant benefits.
If the weather is bad or you don’t feel like walking, sit down & observe your surroundings
Delete those pesky apps
We all have 1 or 2 (or more) apps that make us waste hours on our tech. Deleting those apps from your devices will help reduce the temptation to have a ‘quick’ check.
Removing easy access to time wasting services like social media will make their use more intentional. Setting these boundaries will contribute to happier & more productive habits.
You can limit the use of those apps and services to your computer and/or only when you’re at home.
Only watch TV
When watching TV try not to use other devices. Studies have shown that even while performing enjoyable tasks, we often still look for more sources of distraction.
This diminishes our ability to focus & retain information, and it can increase our stress & anxiety. The more devices ask for our attention, the harder it is to fully enjoy what we’re doing.
Start with activities you enjoy, and then try it with less enjoyable activities, like house chores.
Dumb down your smartphone
Dumb down your smartphone. When you schedule Downtime, only phone calls & apps that you choose to allow are available. It’s a great way to take a break from your devices while remaining available.
Downtime allows you to keep using some vital apps on your devices, like phone and camera, while removing all other distractions (or temptations).
You can schedule Downtime for certain times of the day and specific days. Or just turn it on when you need a break.
Schedule reply times
Throughout the day schedule set times to check and reply to emails and other messages, slowly reducing the feeling that you need to always be available and answer immediately.
By doing this, you can focus on important tasks and be more productive. It can also reduce stress and anxiety related to FOMO (Fear of missing out).
Try using the time of day when you’re least productive to deal with emails.
Refrain from using tech & digital devices for a certain amount of time. Start with a short amount of time, maybe 1 or 2 hours, and gradually increase that time.
Can you do a whole day or weekend?
Digital detox can improve your focus, productivity, creativity & even sleep. On the other hand, it can help reduce stress, anxiety & restlessness!
If you use your phone for taking photos, use Downtime or put it on Airplane mode.
Tech out, sleep in
Leave your devices outside your bedroom at night. Remove the temptation of checking your phone just before going to sleep and/or just after waking up.
Studies have shown that this practice can improve your sleep, decrease anxiety and even improve relationships. It’s a powerful way to improve your sleeping routine.
Get an old fashioned alarm clock so you have no excuses to keep your tech in the bedroom!
When I eat, I eat
Try having meals or a coffee without using your phone. Focus your attention on your food, its flavours, smells, texture. Savour and enjoy every bite and sip.
Mindful eating has many physical benefits, but it can also contribute to your mental wellbeing, enhance focus, attention and overall improve your eating habits!