In an earlier post on tech addiction, “Assessing Use and Dependence on Tech” I suggested a self-assessment. How do you rate yourself in how you engage with or use tech? I’m on a journey. I’m asking myself if I am an addict and, if true, what I should do about it. It’s likely you’ve heard the cliché: The first step to dealing with your problem is admitting you have one. This could be an extreme or simple way. Whether you feel trapped in the jaws of some sort of tech addiction or not, considering how you use tech is helpful. Here are suggestions on how to reclaim your life.
I’m worried about how much time I spend on devices, the internet. I’m wondering how it’s affecting me, relationships and other areas in my life. Arianna Huffington says, “We’re so busy scheduling our lives, documenting them, logging them, tracking them, memorializing and sharing them that we’re not actually living them.” That statement articulates one of my fears. I also wonder if this concern is rational. Is my concern justified?
Other concerns are around how they impact relationships. This Pew Research study says that 89% of cellphone owners have used their phone at a recent social gathering.
Whether rational or not, measures addressing some of these concerns can’t be a bad thing. The big question: what are some simple, practical things I could do about my ‘(potential) addiction’?
If you haven’t already, going through some of the questions in this post can be helpful.
Get to grips with concrete data/facts. For example, do you know exactly how much time you spend on a device, or using a particular tech?
Apple introduced Screen Time in their iOS 12 update (July 2018). It allows you to track how much time you’ve spent on your device. It also shows time allocation.
It will be worthwhile keeping track of how you’re spending time. Maybe track or journal for a few days. Study yourself. LOL.
I’m sure there are Android alternatives and even more detailed third-party apps.
Reclaiming Your Life
Screen Time it allows you to schedule Downtime– intentional time away from the phone. Like me, you might need to be that deliberate. Screen Time also allows you to set a time limit on app use. If you spend too much time (whatever that is for you) it will be worthwhile putting a lid on it. With this, you can set apps that are available all the time.
Disabling notifications that force me to pick up my phone or shift focus has meant less anxiety for me. Notifications are one of those things that rob us of being in some important moments. Instead of automatically downloading emails to my phone, I’ve opted to pull. I only download when I want to.
What notifications don’t you need right now? It might be time to be more ruthless with things that compete for our attention.
Putting your device away, on it’s own, is not the only solution. You’ll need to fill that time with something healthier. Do you need to exercise more? Read a book, your Bible? Meaningful and uninterrupted time with family? Nature hates a vacuum. What healthy activity are you going to do instead?
In The End
Everything we interact with impacts us and our relationships in one way or another. The important thing is awareness and the will to do something about it. No list of apps and tools you could use can trump your will to act. Nothing can beat you doing something about it.
If you decide you’re at a point you need to do something. The question is: what will you to reclaim your life?
Disclaimer: I’m no therapist and I only offered suggestions. For professional help, you might want to check here or find a local, qualified and registered therapist.