Smart habits for you and your mobile
The Mobile World Congress – which is held annually in Barcelona – is one of the biggest and most important digital technology events. Leading multinationals come together to showcase new products, make deals, network, collaborate and present awards. A huge amount of business is conducted during the four-day congress – with more than 2000 companies taking part and over 90,000 attendees.
In fact, the Spanish market is one of the leaders, with smartphones taking an 81% share (Telefonica Annual Report 2015). Furthermore, “La Sociedad de la Información” quoted that in 2014 over 26.25 million Spanish residents regularly connected to the Internet and 1-in-3 people checked their mobile every five minutes.
How much time do you spend using your smartphone and other digital technology?
Maybe you aren’t on the same level as Americans aged 18+ who spend “more than 11 hours a day watching TV, listening to the radio or using smartphones and other electronic devices” – as described by Nielsen’s Total Audience Report. However, whether you are constantly messaging or try to avoid using your mobile at all costs, the fact of the matter is that we can use technology for almost everything: work, entertainment, shopping, relationships, travel, news, education and more.
Being connected has many advantages – such as access to a huge amount of information, easy scheduling and synchronizing as well as being contactable for last minute changes or emergencies. But there are disadvantages too. Many users complain about not being able to disconnect from work, focus on one task or give someone undivided attention.
If you are concerned about your smartphone usage, it may be worth considering the following questions:
1. ..constantly check emails, Whatsapp, Twitter etc.?
2. ..panic if you leave your mobile at home by accident?
3. ..check your mobile before you get out of bed/before you go to sleep?
4. ..sleep with your phone switched on next to your bed?
5. ..experience anxiety when the battery is running out and you can’t recharge?
6. ..feel it is not possible to have a phone-free day?
7. ..find it difficult to eat, be with friends or wait without looking at your mobile?
8. ..take your phone to the bathroom with you?
If you are nodding in agreement to the majority of these, it may be wise to consider managing your daily digital diet in a healthier, more sustainable way. Ideally, we can enjoy the benefits of technology, but also have time to recharge and connect both mind and body. Making small changes in the way you use your mobile may help you to relax more easily and enjoy traditional pleasures such as eating, reading, and conversation.
If you think you need to disconnect from your favourite network, try following these simple, yet effective, tips to power down and switch off:
1. Phone-free socials. When you go out for a meal or drink with friends, agree that all mobiles are switched off during your time together. You will be amazed at how different it feels to focus on the conversation and not a plastic screen. Remember no excuses to get your phone out while eating…not even to take photos!
2. First and last hour rule: For the first hour of your day (or at least half-hour) have a rule not to check emails, start messaging etc. unless essential. Only permitted use is for some relaxing music. Definitely no news or work emails. Likewise for the last hour power down, commit to switching off not only your mobile, but your laptop and tablet too. Read a book, write in your journal or talk to your partner. Allow yourself to unwind mentally and physically so you can enjoy a good night’s sleep.
3. Switch off to sleep: No bleeps or flashes on the bedside cabinet or a sneaky smartphone hidden under your pillow, please! If the last hour rule is too much for you, try to have it switched off or on silent with minimum processes running while you sleep. Remember to check your alarm function still works though.
4. Set times to check mail and messages: Instead of randomly glancing at your mobile every five or ten minutes, keep to specific intervals and limits. For example, checking in four times a day at 9:00/13:00/17:00/21:00.
5. Day out = Day off. Take an intentional day off from your mobile. Ideally, leave it at home and head off to the country for the day or go the beach. Let everyone know you are going to be offline for a day.
So now you have some ways to wean yourself off your 24/7 smartphone obsession!
Executive Coach. Consultant. Trainer. Facilitator.
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