August 6th, 2022, is the 3rd Global Day of Unplugging. When you read this, think about if you can put your phone down and stay offline for 24 hours. Many people think they can, but few people have the willpower. Are you up to the challenge? #globaldayofunplugging
How often do you pick up your phone? If you are average, it is 58 times in a day. That is the number of times the average user interacts with the phone, so it does not include just checking the time. If you have an iPhone, activate the Screen Time feature under Settings to get your number. On Android, look under Settings, Digital Wellbeing and parental controls.
When you have found your number, challenge yourself to get it down. We only have so much time in our lives, and we are spending too much of it glued to our phones.
Did you check your phone time last Monday? If you did and set the intention to change it, did you notice that the time spent on your phone dropped this past week?
Setting a clear intention and telling our mind what you want is a powerful tool to make a change in your life. When say what you want, your subconscious mind will start working to make that thing happen, often without your conscious mind even noticing. In cases like phone use, my clients report that their time dropped even if they did not think about “I have to use my phone less” at all.
Give your mind something to work on, and watch it do its magic.
Are you aware of how you are spending your time? Your phone probably has some kind of “screen time” report – find it and look at how much you are using your phone and which apps.
If you are not happy with the amount of time you spend with your phone in hand, tell yourself you will reduce it slightly this week. Any number lower than the one for last week counts as a success. Simply stating a goal to yourself focuses your attention and affects your behavior. Try it this week and check your statistics next Monday. You’ll probably be surprised.
When you go out for a walk this weekend, wear a backpack with an extra sweater and a bottle of water. And put your phone in airplane mode and put it at the bottom of the backpack. Then go somewhere new – somewhere where you haven’t walked before (you might need to drive a short while to get to a new starting point). Walk aimlessly and just notice the things around you: The color of the leaves, birds in the sky, the sound of the wind.
If you’ve done your aimless wandering right, and are not equipped with an exceptional sense of place and direction, you’ll eventually be lost. At that time, you are allowed to dig your phone out of your backpack and let it help guide you back.
In addition to being a fun way to get exercise, this also helps reset your relation with your phone. It reminds you that you should not let your phone feed you stress and anxiety, but appreciate it as a useful helper that you command.
To stay healthy, you need to communicate with someone. Working from home removes the small talk that is part of a day in the office, and starting a video meeting is like going into a meeting room: The setting limits off-topic conversation.
If you live with someone, make sure to create time for conversation and don’t just spend the evening slumped in the sofa with a screen each. If you live alone, call someone on the phone for a chat. Again, video feels like a meeting. Just use an old-fashioned voice call. You can even call people while you take a walk and do two good things for yourself at the same time.