Take Charge of Your Tech
Note from Chelsea: This is a guest post from my assistant Carly.
Do you feel like social media is taking over your life and stealing your peace? Read ahead for my top strategies to take charge of your technology use!
Technology is incredibly pervasive in our society, and our lives are dependent on it in many ways. It can be an extremely positive influence, or it can leave us feeling discouraged and inadequate. It also has profound effects on our physical health. 50% of the U.S. population today is nearsighted, compared to 25% in the 1970s. It also impacts posture, changes your brainwave patterns, disrupts your sleep (via blue light production), and decreases your attention span. For more info on the negative effects of excess technology usage, check out this video from ASAPScience.
Having a better relationship with technology comes down to one simple principle: using it with awareness and intention. I think most people who use their phones for 4.7 or more hours per day (the average according to ASAPScience) are not doing so mindfully. Here are a few strategies I’ve found helpful to reduce my own technology usage. My relationship with technology has never been better, and as someone who works almost exclusively online, that's saying something!
#1. TRACK YOUR TIME
The app Moment is a great tracking tool. you can set yourself a daily limit (total amount of time you can use your phone) and time windows when you aren’t allowed to use your phone. The premium option allows you to force yourself off (with a loud buzzing noise) when you’ve exceeded your limit or are using your phone outside of those hours. These safeguards encourage me to check in and think- am I using this mindfully or mindlessly right now?
When you’re too tired to get ready for bed or to do anything productive, that’s when a lot of mindless scrolling happens. Moment is a great safeguard for this bad habit!
The latest iPhone update also allows you to use Screen Time (located in settings!). You can write in “off times” for certain apps and set limits for phone usage. It’s great, especially since it’s already built into your phone.
#2. FIND FREEDOM
An app called “Freedom” is great when I need to focus on a certain task. It allows me to block a customized list of the apps of my “Time Vampires”- especially Instagram and Facebook- for a set amount of time. I can also block all websites or desktop apps if I need to do some creative writing or reading. If you try to access the apps, you'll see the screen at right!
#3. HAVE AN UNFOLLOW PARTY
Truth time! It is okay to unfollow- and you don't need to justify it. Ask yourself the following questions about the people you follow.
Does this content make me feel empowered?
Is it a positive and helpful influence in my life?
Does it incite comparison and self-doubt?
Does it encourage me to be better and do better?
Does it inspire me in my walk as a Christian?
Use these principles and purge your list of anything that doesn't encourage you. You can do it!
#4. USE GRAYSCALE
Using grayscale has been huge for helping me reduce my social media use. I don't always use grayscale- just when I'm having a hard time staying away from the ever-alluring Instagram feed. The fact that my feed is in gray really helps me to realize that it’s not real life- not to mention it’s not much to look at!
“In iOS 10, go to Settings > General > Accessibility >Display Accommodations >Color Filters. Switch Color Filters on and select Grayscale. To easily toggle between color and grayscale, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut > Color Filters. Now, you just press the home button three times to enable grayscale. Triple-click again to go back to color.”
#5. DO NOT DISTURB
This is another iPhone setting. You can enable this for a certain period of time each day, automatically. Mine is set from 9PM-6AM. I don’t get any notifications or phone calls (except for from my “favorites” list in Contacts) during this window.
#6. TAKE A VACAY
If you still find your social media use is out of hand, try taking a social media vacation for just a weekend. Even maybe just on a Sunday. Delete all the apps off your phone, and block the websites (use Freedom, as demonstrated above) so you can’t access them on your desktop.
Social media vacations can be incredibly transformative and will refresh your soul. I promise that the Earth will continue to spin if you take a brief vacation from social media. :) You might even find you want to delete certain apps altogether!
I hope this article has been helpful to you! Comment below with the strategies you use- I'd love to hear your mindful technology tips!