Hi Geeks Fan! May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so we’re taking a closer look at our wellbeing and technology. That starts with something we’re all a little guilty of – being a little overly attached to our smartphones!
How much time do you spend on your smartphone? More than a third of Kiwis (37%) said that the time they spend in front of a screen negatively impacts their mental health. Another survey showed that a similar figure (39%) was concerned about their partners spending too much time on their phones, to the point where it was affecting their relationship.
These days, it’s not uncommon to have an unhealthy relationship with your smartphone. But it is possible to improve. Here are our top strategies for improving your relationship with your smartphone (and perhaps with those around you, too).
Wellbeing tips: Install a screen time tracker
It’s hard to fix a problem when you don’t know how bad the problem is. Install a screen time tracker such as Digital Wellbeing for Android or use Apple’s iOS Screen Time app. Use your phone normally for a week, then take a look at the results. You might be surprised by just how much time you spend on your phone, and which apps are the most time-consuming.
Set daily limits
Your screen time trackers do more than just track your screen time – they can also limit it.
Use the apps to set up time limits that are 75% of what you would normally use. If your screen time is still higher than you’d like, continue to cut it down to a healthier number each week. Keep in mind that cutting down your screen time a little more each week may make it easier to break the habit, rather than trying to do it all at once.
Replace your alarm clock
Many of us use our smartphones as alarm clocks, but this also means sleeping right next to them. And often, check them right before you fall asleep, then first thing in the morning. Invest in an old fashioned alarm clock so you no longer have any excuse to sleep with your phone right next to you. Either set it to charge across the room or in another room instead.
Wellbeing tips: Keep it out of sight
Whether you’re working, reading, or eating dinner, having your phone in sight will make it more tempting to pick it up. Keep it in a bag at your feet or in a draw. You’ll hear it if it rings, but you’ll be less tempted to pick it up and start scrolling when the drive to procrastinate kicks in.
Wellbeing tips: Set up do not disturb
Your phone has a ‘Do Not Disturb’ function. This means that texts, notifications, and even calls are effectively silenced until you are ready to deal with them. Try setting it up during meal times, overnight, when you’re at work, or when you need to focus. You can allow exemptions, such as a call from your boss or kids. This can help to avoid a notification disrupting you and encouraging you to respond, even if it’s not convenient.
You can even separate your Work from Home while using your phone? Both Android and Apple have this wellbeing feature. It allows you to create a work profile that lives on a separate part of the device so that your personal things stay private and unaffected by work. That way, you can block out all the distractions and live in the moment. We’ll share how to set up and use this feature on your phone via our Facebook Page this May. Follow us so that you never miss out on handy tips!
And while we can’t help you to break your smartphone habit (aside from setting up apps and daily limits), we can help with just about anything else. If your smartphone or laptop is giving you issues, give us a call at 0800 4 A GEEK or Book a Geek online for help.