Hi, my name is Adam Stewart, Debt Collection Expert and owner of ADC Legal Litigation Lawyers.
I confess I am a bit of a workaholic and probably have a bit of a problem with compulsive Internet and phone usage. I am addressing the issue over the holiday period and I have done some research that I would like to share with you.
I was reading an article (while compulsively surfing the Internet!) about compulsive use of the Internet and how it is linked to excessive work. This compulsive internet usage is needed in order to keep up with the constant work-load we put ourselves under. This can lead to isolation, depression and anxiety. See this article.
I have come up with my top 5 tips on how to quit your phone addiction over the holidays and get your life back. I am going to try them although I am not confident of success, at least I can say I tried and you can too, so here they are:
1. Schedule your Internet/phone time.
This suggestion came from my friend David. (Thanks, David!) It sounds incredibly boring, I know, but he suggests only checking email and social media twice a day, in the morning and again at night. I am going to also suggest a time limit of 15 mins for each session, see how you go.
The best app for this is Moment. It tracks how many minutes you have spent on your phone and it also lets you set a self-imposed limit for how much time you want to be spending on your phone. It also gives you little nudges if you are spending more than 15 minutes looking at your phone. Awesome.
2. Kill the notifications.
Pretty much every app in existence sends you text message and/or notifications from time to time. And while staying informed is great, being forcibly informed can be enormously distracting. I use Android, so here are instructions for doing it on an Android phone:
Step 1. Pull down the notification bar.
Step 2. Long press the notification until a box appears.
Step 3. Hit the box that says, “App Info.”
Step 4. Uncheck the box for “Show Notifications.”
Step 5. You can re-enable notifications by re-checking the box.
Here is a longer version of the instructions above.
3. Accept that not every email can be answered.
A simple tip, but a revelation to me. Backed-up emails can be a terrifying prospect, but once you accept that it’s impossible to live a healthy life at the same time as answering each and every one, a surprising amount of time frees up. The thought of leaving any emails un-read is quite terrifying to me, so this one is going to be difficult for me, but again, I am going to try it out.
4. Use an app to help out.
OK, sounds a bit silly, to use your smart phone app to get over your smart phone addiction, but there are actually some amazing apps to help with the “switch-off” process. I have already mentioned Moment, but here is some others for you to try – Flipd, Checky, AppDetox, Offtime and Screen Time Control. Of all of these, Screen Time Control seems to be my favourite so far.
5. Make a to-do list of real things you want to do during the day.
Create a daily bucket list — what you want to be doing more of but feel like you don’t have the time for. Then make a rule for yourself that you won’t check social media or browse your email until you’ve accomplished at least some of the things from that list. This helps you prioritize what you actually want to do with your day. My list will include simply things, such as a walk along the beach, spending time with family, reading a book and doing some meditation by the pool.
I wish you luck as I know I am going to need it. Switching off my phone is not going to be easy. Let me know how you go.
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