First off, we live in a microwave generation that wants quick answers. We want solutions in microseconds and do not want to be bothered with details. That at times robs us of growth and development…but I digress. The point I am making early on is that if you want to successfully wean yourself off smart phone addiction, you have to acknowledge that it might not be something that will happen overnight. It will take some time. First, you have to read the previous post about this addiction in order to bring it into perspective.
So now that we are on the same page after reading the previous post, let us delve in and reveal how exactly we can get our productivity back.
I know it sounds negative to call it an “addiction”. People think that just that the addiction to smartphones has no adverse side effects like those of drugs, then it’s not an addiction. It really is. If you cannot stay without looking at your phone and scrolling through it in a space of 15 minutes, you are addicted. If that is the first thing you look at when you wake up, you are addicted. After reading the first part of this article, it is time that you came to the stark realization of how much time you are losing/wasting through smartphone addiction. Unless you notice it, you will not be motivated enough to take any form of tangible decision and action to free yourself.
Tonny Robbins tells us that it is in the moment of our decisions that our destiny is shaped. Now, if we will not decide to better use our smartphone, the addiction will keep on raging. Still Tony Robbins says that he does not leave the scene of a decision before taking the necessary action to make the decision firm and in motion. That is when you know you have decided. But just that you have decided does not mean that you have already been delivered. All you have done is to set the direction you want to take in motion.
Frankly, if we planned our life, it will be manageable on how we use our time. We get addicted to things that take our productive time because probably we are unplanned and we do not have some compelling project that we are working on. When you plan your life, most obviously, you will have to plan your day. Each weekend, I take time to decide things that I will do that will contribute towards my purpose. That means that I can now schedule what I want to do and at what time and where. Now, I am not saying that we throw away our smartphones, I am saying that we use them better. And I do not think you will ever use your smartphone for greater productivity if you do not plan your life. It is as simple as that.
What does it mean to be productive for you? A smartphone, a laptop and other gadgets are supposed to help you be more productive than you currently are. As a writer, probably my productivity is measured at some point by how many articles I churn out a month. So, how can technology and a smartphone help me in that area? The answer is “appropriate apps”. That’s why I have an App such as Evernote on my smartphone. Every time there is a nugget that I need to consider or write about, I jot it down on Evernote so that I will not forget. So if I do not know what productivity looks like for me, I will accumulate useless apps on my phone which will end up using space and time and derail my productivity.
It’s that simple. If you have gaming apps on your smartphone, you and I know that they are a source of addiction to that gadget. If you remove them, then it reduces the need for you to touch your smartphone every now and then. If you have social media apps that are derailing your productivity, get them out of your phone.
Permanently! Get rid of all social media and email notifications from your smartphone. Every time a notification sounds, dopamine shoots up in our system and we have to check it out. When we go to check it out, we find that there are other things that need our attention. As we are checking it out, more notifications come and we have to attend to them. You picked up your phone while working on a paper or example and it’s one hour later you have not put it down. You were called there by a notification. Put all notifications off apart from the ringer. There are nice smartphones that allow you to load the pre-smartphone version of it. This means that the only two things available are messages and calls. Wonderful.
Let me ask you a question: Can you remember the last time your phone was off? In fact, the degree of your addiction to your smartphone is directly proportional to how much time you allow it to be on in a day. We are always checking to see if the battery is full..and once it hits 50%, all alarm bells ring. We start charging it again. Learn to switch off your phone when you get home, during weekends, during family times, during meetings and during the times that you are working or meditating. When it’s off, your mind registers that it is and so the need for picking it up is nipped in the bud.
Why do you waste time on social media? Because of controversy, gossip and innuendo. I have learnt to unfollow people that do not add value to my life. There was a time I cleaned up my twitter “mentors” to the bare minimum. The types of people you hang around with on social media should be those that enhance your productivity and life. Political, religious and sexual discussions take time and emotion and are so addictive. Wean yourself off of these.
Like we have already stated, weaning yourself out of this will not happen overnight. At times the addiction is so strong. Be conscious of that fact, but also be conscious of the fact that you are getting better. Learn to catch yourself with your hand stretched to get your smartphone and stop dead in your tracks. Win these little battles over and over again until you install a new “software” in your mind that has completely weaned you out of the smartphone
OK. So we do not want you to completely stop using the phone. That is why you can set aside X number of hours or minutes each day to do things that are not necessarily productive on your phone. Once you know that you have scheduled time for fun, your mind is now at peace and freed to concentrate on other things.
It is possible. Let us add more productivity in the day starting today.