(Sourced from The Star)
We’ve all been there. The phone screen flashes, and you automatically glance at it to see what’s the notification. A WhatsApp tone rings, and several people within hearing distance involuntarily reach for their phone. While smartphones have made our lives so much easier, it has also come with its own set of distractions that can adversely affect our physical and mental health. Smartphone addiction is a real thing, and it is important that we get some “time out” from the distractions offered by the many mobile apps in these devices.
Yes, but it’s still an addiction nonetheless, so to help you get a little rehab, here are some ways to get some ‘time out’ with your phone.
#1 Enjoy your errands
No matter how much we want to deny it, we are adults with adult responsibilities and errands to run. That includes going out to pay your bills, buy groceries, walk your dog, get a manicure, and any number of things that require you to head out, even if it’s just for half an hour. (Honestly, if you need an app to do all that while staying indoors, you really need to re-evaluate your life choices.) It can be difficult to leave the house phone-less for safety reasons, but make a conscious effort to leave it charging at home, or at the very least, turn off the mobile data and leave it in your pocket or bag. You’ll find that you’re more aware of your surroundings, and appreciate the little details of things that happen around you.
#2 Go push-free
Yup, you know them all too well. Those pesky push notifications that pop up on your phone, distracting you from whatever you’re doing. Turning them off – besides texts and calendar reminders – is a good way to get rid of useless distractions, and makes you proactively check your apps to see if you’ve gotten an email, tweet, WhatsApp message, game request, Facebook notification or Instagram mention. This means you won’t be constantly notified of things that are not important. It can be liberating, and give you more time to focus on things that do matter. Trust me, your bank account will probably thank you for missing out on that ~awesome sale~ notification.
P/S: The Estate123.com iOS notification only pushes once a day on weekdays to bring you the latest property news. 😉 We promise it won’t annoy you. 😀
#3 Go old school
Books have been around for much longer than mobile devices, and continues to be a source of information and enjoyment for many. When was the last time you read an actual book or newspaper? Instead of going through Facebook (pun intended) on a lazy Sunday afternoon, why not pick up an old favourite book? You might be pleasantly surprised at discovering an old favourite, plus nothing beats the feeling of thumbing through paper pages.
#4 Sweat it out
The thing about (a proper) exercise routine is that it allows you to completely focus on working out without distractions from your mobile device. Even if you’re the type to plug in your earphones for some motivational music, it gives you a certain amount of personal time with no exceptions. Use this time to collect your thoughts and visualise achieving goals, instead of checking social media updates. If you have to check your phone even in the middle of a 30- or 45-minute workout, you really need to consider your priorities, your job, or both. Also, you wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself like this while checking your phone on the treadmill.
#5 Set a curfew
Opt for an “electronic sundown” or set a device crfew for yourself. Put away all your electronic devices (phone, tablet, smart watch, laptop, etc) half an hour before bed. Do some stretches. Light some candles. Read a book. Blog or journal. Talk to your spouse or roommate.
Stare at the ceiling counting sheep. Not only will it help you sleep better (and earlier), it’s been proven to improve your health because you’ll have longer and better quality sleep.
#6 Buy an actual alarm clock
Not all alarm clocks are made equal, so you have to get one that’s within your budget and, most importantly, has an alarm that is annoying enough to make you want to wake up just to shut it up. There are some pretty ingenious inventions out there like the runaway alarm clock and floor mat alarm clock, or get something like this if you’re the type of hit snooze a bazillion times in the morning.
Do the prospects above scare you? It can be difficult at first, but with enough determination, you can definitely change unhealthy obsession with your smartphone into a healthy relationship in no time.
Now, put your phone on silent mode, put it down, and back away slowly. Don’t stress; you’re not breaking up with your phone. You’re just taking some time away from each other. And all relationships benefit from a little space. 😉