As some of you may remember, one of my main resolutions this year is to spend less time scrolling and more time strolling.
I found that it's easy for me to get sucked in by social media, not just because it has tonnes of cute videos of sausage dogs, but because it plays a massive role in my job. I realised that I was spending my day either scrolling for the sake of 'networking' or scrolling for the sake of doing something mindless. And frankly, it wasn't good for my mental state. 2016 taught me just how exhausted I become when I spend all of my time wandering around the internet. Having so many opinions thrown my way 24/7 just made my world too loud for my liking. Being constantly plugged in made me feel like it was impossible to find a quiet moment.
Now, I'm not going to lie to you guys, the process of decreasing my phone time hasn't been easy. I didn't just decide to stop using my phone and suddenly have 12 hours a day to power through uni work. The truth is that checking for notifications is a habit (read: addiction), so there's no quick fix. But, throughout January I tried a few different ways to get off my phone for the sake of productivity and mental clarity. Although I'm not there completely, I've got a few things figured out. So if, like me, you feel the screaming presence of social media in your life a little too much, here are some tips that I've found have helped.
Just leave it behind. No, really.
I realised that most of my phone time was taking place when I was bored. So that meant that as soon as I jumped on a bus, was waiting for a coffee or there was a lull in conversation I somehow ended up on Twitter without even thinking about it. The obvious answer seemed to be to simply not give myself that option. To leave my phone in my room and get on with my day.
I found that I was weirdly hesitant to do this, which made me even more sure that I needed to. I don't want my phone to be a safety blanket in my life.
The first step to spending less time on your phone is to actually find out how much time you're spending on it in the first place. For this, I used the app called "moment" which runs in the background and tells you at the end of the day how much screen time you've had. Be prepared to be scared shitless, that's all I'm saying.
Use Earthmiles and Charity Miles
Along with scrolling less, I had the resolution to stroll more. I felt like the two went hand in hand. Getting outdoors more makes me feel less stagnant and, so, I'm less tempted to go on social media purely out of boredom. And if I ever do get bored or frustrated with work, I put my trainers on instead of scrolling for miles on the Instagram explore page. It's a win-win.
To encourage me to get outside more, I downloaded Earthmiles and Charity miles. Yes, more app suggestions in a post about using your phone less. Yes, I recognise the irony. Much like Moment, they run in the background (so you don't actually need to be actively on your phone) but these bad boys measure how far you walk or run every day. Earthmiles lets you cash in those miles in the form of discounts and free shit in the categories of nutrition, fitness and wellness. Charity miles is the same concept but means that you can donate to a charity of your choice every time you get active. What's not to love?
Do everything you've always said you wanted to do
What's your reason for not ticking off a point on your bucket list yet or for not getting started on your New Year's resolution? I think for a lot of people, me included, it's a time thing. All of us like to think that we're too busy.
Well, consider this your opportunity. If you cut down the time you spend on your phone every day you'll have more time to do things for you. Whether that means working on your badass business idea, reading more or learning how to embroider. And if that's not a reason to put it down, I don't know what is.