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Technology Health & Wellness

Phone Detox: How to Stop Looking at Your Screen and Maximize Efficiency

By Meaghan Maybee on February 8, 2022

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Meaghan Maybee

As pc/nametag's in-house Word Wizard, Meaghan creates educational content that brings people together and drives meaningful conversations in the events industry.

Today, cell phones are our constant companions. They are the first things we grab when we wake up and the last things we put down before bed. Between social media platforms, streaming services, unlimited data plans and constant connectivity, it’s no wonder why the average American in 2022 spends just under eight hours per day consuming digital media.

While smartphones have become an integral part of our lives, there may be days when you feel the need to take a break from technology. This week, we are covering how to go on a “digital detox” any time you feel anxious, overwhelmed or unproductive due to your phone habits. Read on to find simple strategies for maximizing efficiency and giving yourself a mental break whenever you need it. ❤️

 

Table of Contents

 

 

“Why can’t I stop looking at my phone?”

Ask yourself the following: Do you constantly check your phone for new messages or notifications? Does your phone distract you from getting work done or studying? Do the people in your life ever complain that you are not paying enough attention because you are constantly scrolling on the Internet?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re not alone. Studies show that most Americans find it difficult to live without their cell phones. The following report from Reviews.org reveals shocking statistics about today’s phone habits in the United States:

 

2022 Cell Phone Usage Statistics

  • 74% of Americans feel uncomfortable leaving their phone at home.
  • 71% of Americans check their phones within 10 minutes of waking up.
  • 53% say they have never gone longer than 24 hours without their phone.
  • 47% admit to feeling “addicted” to their smartphones.
  • 35% use or look at their phone while driving a vehicle.
  • 70% of Americans check their phones within five minutes of getting a notification.
  • 61% admit to texting someone in the same room as them before.
  • 48% of people say they feel anxious when their phone's battery life drops below 20%.
  • 45% consider their cell phones their #1 most valuable possession.
  • 43% say they use or look at their phone while on a romantic date.

After reading these statistics, it may not surprise you that the average American checks their phone 344 times per day (or once every 4 minutes). Texts, emails, calls, notifications, and social media messages constantly compete for our free time and attention.

If your phone usage gets in the way of your productivity and mental clarity, it may be time for a change. Keep reading to learn about the concept of a “digital detox” and how you can use it to decrease distractions in your personal and professional life.

 

What is a Digital Detox?

A digital detox is a period of time when a person refrains from using smart devices (like cell phones, computers, tablets, TVs, and smartwatches) to decrease stress associated with constant connectivity.

In other words, “detoxing” from technology is a simple way to decrease distractions in your life, improve social interactions with others, and help you achieve more on your to-do list. Temporarily forgoing digital devices can also help you focus on self-care and manage mental overload.

Learn more by watching the following video with Cal Newport, author of “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World,” as he shares the benefits of taking breaks from technology.

How Constant Connectivity Affects Working Professionals

Our smartphones have become an integral part of our lives. In fact, many professionals stay connected and available throughout the week, even outside of business hours. But, just how many hours per week are business professionals dedicating to working?

It may come as a surprise that one survey of 483 executives, managers, and professionals found that 60% of those who carry smartphones for work are connected to their jobs for 13.5 hours (or more) on weekdays and five hours on weekends. That’s a total of more than 72 hours a week.

If we assume these individuals sleep around seven and a half hours per night, this schedule only allows for about three hours a day, Monday-Friday, to do house chores, shop, exercise, and relax.

This same study found that while 24-7 connectedness can help professionals feel more “on top” of their to-do lists, it can also significantly undermine their personal lives, productivity, creativity, and strategic thinking skills.

While some business professionals may not mind being connected to work for more than eight hours a day, it is apparent that work/life balance can suffer when too much personal time is dedicated to work. If you are someone who has experienced work-related digital fatigue, read on to find strategies to help you cope.

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Manage Digital Fatigue with These Strategies

If you are someone who feels technology-induced FOMO (fear of missing out), it’s time to rethink your habits and be more deliberate in how you use your smart devices. We have created a list to give you easy, concrete steps to help you tone down your usage and reprogram the way your brain thinks about your phone.

1. Learn your habits with iOS Screen Time or Android Digital Wellbeing.

On many phones, you can learn helpful information about how you spend time on your device. For instance, you can learn how many hours per day you use your phone, how often you unlock it, which apps you use most and how many notifications you received.

Understanding this information can help you brainstorm ways to improve your digital wellbeing. Are you looking for a quick and easy way to discover your digital habits? Follow these directions:

 

For Android Users:

Open your phone’s settings. Scroll down and tap “Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls.” Under your digital wellbeing tools, you can find insight that will help you improve your digital habits one step at a time.Set a daily screen time limit and unlock limit, then utilize “Focus Mode” when you are working, driving, studying or relaxing. Use “Wind Down” mode to change your screen to greyscale, mute calls and alerts, and silence sounds.

 

For iPhone Users:

Launch the “Settings” app from your home screen, then scroll down and tap “Screen Time.” If applicable, tap “Turn On Screen Time” to proceed. Now that you have opted in, you will eventually be able to see your data populate in the chart. Tap “See All Activity” for a deeper breakdown. As a note, you will not be able to retroactively view past screen time data. Here, you will see which apps are taking up your daily screen time. Remember to set limits for ones you would like to spend less time on. Check up on your screen time regularly to discover ways to improve.

 

No matter which smart devices you have, make it a goal this year to set bite-sized goals that are easily attainable, like using Facebook 10 minutes less per day or muting your phone from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. You will be making big improvements in no time.

smartphone user tracks exercise goals in mobile app

 

2. Read “How to Break Up with Your Phone” by Catherine Price.

Do you ever find yourself picking up your phone “just to check," only to find yourself scrolling for the next hour? If you like the idea of spending less time on your phone but are not sure where to start, this book is your solution.

Award-winning journalist Catherine Price presents a practical plan to help you "break up, then make-up" with your phone without the need to give it up completely. The result is learning how to create a long-term relationship with technology that you can feel proud of.

How to Break Up with Your Phone" teaches readers how phones and apps are designed to be addictive. You will also learn how the time we spend on smart devices can damage our ability to focus, think deeply, and form new memories. Lastly, you will learn how to make customized changes to your settings, apps, environment, and mindset to help you take back control of your life.

Book Cover - How to Break Up with Your Phone
“Breaking up with your phone means giving yourself the space, freedom, and tools necessary to create a new, long-term relationship with it, one that keeps what you love about your phone and gets rid of what you don’t.”

Catherine Price

Author of “How to Break Up with Your Phone”

Create a list of all the ways you like using your phone. Then, make a list of all the ways you would like to change your habits. What concrete steps can you take to make a change?

 

3. Use procrastination apps and gamification to make focusing fun.

It can be incredibly difficult to find the time to disconnect and focus on what really matters in our hyperconnected world. Luckily, we can use our phones to our advantage, especially in situations where it is not possible to be 100% disconnected from technology.

It may sound crazy to use our phones to stop using our phones, but you can utilize one of the following apps to help you be more successful the next time you need to disconnect and focus on a task:

 

Forest

“Forest” is a fun focus timer that uses gamification to help you stay productive. Start by planting a digital tree and running your timer. Staying focused will help your tree grow strong while exiting the app will cause it to wither.

Eventually, you will have a forest of trees that represent your dedication. Plus, you can earn virtual coins that go towards growing real trees (1,289,390+ have already been planted)!

Forest Productivity Timer App

Image Source: MobileSyrup

 

Flipd

“Flipd” is a productivity tool that locks you out of your phone when you set it to “Flipd Off.” See how much time you spend on productive activities with the app’s time tracker, celebrate your progress with reports that visualize your progress, and collect badges along the way for every milestone in your journey.

We love that this app blocks distracting notifications and offers public study rooms to help you feel motivated.

Flipd Productivity App for MobileImage Source: RTE

 

OFFTIME

“OFFTIME” is a mobile app for people who want more digital disconnection in their lives. Use it by yourself to schedule digital detoxification time when you need to rest and relax.

Or, use it with your team by inviting everyone to participate in an OFFTIME event. This encourages everyone to “unplug” and get more done without the temptation to constantly check electronic devices.

OFFTIME Productivity Mobile AppImage Source: FileCR

QualityTime

QualityTime” is a phone addiction management tool that helps you stay honest about your smartphone usage. See helpful statistics, including hours spent on your device, the number of unlocks, and the number of clicks you have made in a set amount of time.

You can even link QualityTime with If This Then That (IFTTT) to get notifications for when you’ve exceeded usage limits.

Quality Time Smartphone Habit AppImage Source: BestApp

Checky

“Checky” is a phone habit tracker that records how many times a day you check your phone. This insight can be incredibly helpful in rewiring your brain with daily phone usage habits and smartphone reliance.

If you are less concerned with the amount of time you spend on your phone, and more concerned with how often you absent-mindedly check your screen, this application may be a great fit for you.

Track you phone habits with the Checky Mobil App

Image Source: TechCrunch

Sleep Town

“Sleep Town” is a cute app that empowers you to build healthy sleep habits through gamification. Go to sleep and wake up on time to construct digital buildings. Maintain healthy sleeping hours every day to construct an entire town and prevent what you have built from being demolished.

This game element is ideal for people who tend to stay up late into the night scrolling on social media or texting with friends.

SleepTown App for Healthy Sleep HabitsImage Source: APPLESFERA

 

Give the Gift of Digital Disconnection to Your Team

It is often up to leadership teams to find ways to increase engagement and incorporate work/life balance into workplace culture. When employees are healthy and mentally refreshed, they’re more productive at work and less likely to take sick days.

Looking for employee wellness program ideas? One of our favorite ideas is to assemble employee gift boxes with wellness items included. This is a fun, engaging way to weave wellness into employees’ routines by boosting employee engagement and giving them the opportunity to disconnect from technology.

Your gift box should feature a variety of items to help your team members lead healthier, more active lifestyles. Water bottles are a must for keeping employees hydrated. Yoga mats, workout towels, earbuds, and a healthy snack are sure to be a hit.

HubSpot Video

Digital Detoxification: Relax More, Stress Less.

Remember, it is not enough to simply decide to “use your phone less.” Instead, avoid feeling overwhelmed by setting concrete goals that measure your success along the way. Frame your goals as positive intentions instead of restrictions.

“Think about it as opening up this world of possibilities of what you’re going to do when you’re not on your phone,” says Catherine Price, Author of How to Break Up with Your Phone.

Tell me, what are your phone habit goals for this year? Do you plan to use your newfound time to read, learn a new skill, spend time with someone you care about, or simply relax? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Let’s work together to inspire each other to be more productive and less distracted this year.

 

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