I'm sure it's happened to you before, maybe more often than you'd like to admit. You walk in the door from a long day, sink into the couch and take out your phone. You open Instagram and decide you'll just see what's happening and then get on with the rest of your night. Your thumb starts scrolling and scrolling and it keeps scrolling. What you're looking at isn't even all that exciting but your eyes are glued and your mind is numb and you just keep going. You look at the clock. You've spent double, triple, maybe even more of the time you said you were going to be on social media and can't help but wonder:
Does this even feel good?
There's no denying that smartphones have made our lives easier. We can work on the go, stay in touch with friends and family and have information at our fingertips. This is not a technology bashing post. I'm writing it on a blog, on the Internet and many of you are probably reading from your smartphones. I'm all for technology. It's just that I've started to realize how lonely getting sucked into the social media vortex can be. We're updated on your friends and family but are we actually connected in a real human way? I'd say no. The fancy social apps that are supposed to connect us to the world are actually doing the opposite, leaving us lonely and unfulfilled.
According to Social Media Today, "the average person will spend nearly two hours on social media everyday, which translates to a total of 5 years and 4 months spent over a lifetime". They also point out that in 5 years and 4 months you could climb Mount Everest 32 times.
Doesn't that make you feel like mindless scrolling through photos is a massive waste of precious time? So how do we break the cycle? The answer is simple:
Spend less time on your phone.
You can still enjoy all that technology has to offer, find inspiration and connect with your friends but just limit how many times a day you do these things. For most of us, myself included, when we get a second of free time, we check our phones. It's a tough habit to break so I've set some boundaries to feel more present and peaceful while still enjoying this crazy social world we live in. If you feel at all connected to what I've been saying, keep reading. If you're thrilled with your phone obsession, all the power to you! You have my permission to stop reading and go check Instagram again.
1. SCHEDULE DIGITAL FREE TIME
This one doesn't need much explaining. Put your phone away and you'll realize how often reach for it. Stand in the coffee line empty handed (what!). Go out with friends and leave your phone in your purse (how!). Watch a movie with your phone in the other room (woah!). Wake up in the morning and spend your first 10 minutes just doing things that don't involve screens (they do exist!). If your job is crazy and checking your email first thing is a necessity, then maybe your boundary is taking 3 deep breaths before you glance at your phone. Do what works for you.
2. BE AWARE OF TIME
When you decide to sink into the couch and do a little 'creep' make a mental note of what time it is. How long do you actually want to be on your phone? Then commit to sticking with it. The moment the clock hits that time, you move on to something else.
3. CARVE OUT TIME FOR WHAT FEEDS YOUR SOUL
What is that something else? Remember, you could climb Mount Everest 32 times with the hours you spend on social media in your lifetime. What do you want to be able to say you did instead? Read a book. Meditate. Take a bath. Call a friend. Actually go see a friend (and leave your phone in your purse). These are my things but full disclosure, I'm a 29 year old Grandma so you might want to come up with your own. When you think you have no time for these things, remember, Mount Everest 32 times. That's a lot of time if you're using it wisely.
4. NO PHONE IN THE BEDROOM
I know what you're thinking. But Jenn, it's my alarm clock! I had the same reaction a few months ago when I listened to this talk by Simon Sinek on Millennials and our social media addiction. His answer: buy an alarm clock. Your phone shouldn't be the last thing you look at when you go to bed or the first thing you check when you wake up. It certainly shouldn't be what you turn to when you're awake in the middle of the night. This one is a game changer - try it.