Many of us often go through the day wondering where the time went. It's one thing to develop time management skills, but the problem is that so much of our wasted time is totally mindless. Any mindless activity, (such as checking our cells) deserves our awareness.
The average person checks their cell phone 110 times a DAY (and up to every 6 seconds in the evening).
Cellphones were designed to make our lives more convenient. (After all, "there's an app for that!") But where do we draw the line between convenience and total dependency? You might be an exception to these statistics, but people of all ages have varying levels of dependency or addiction to their phones.
Whether you have a smart phone or a regular cell phone, the idea of always being connected or reachable is difficult to escape socially or set boundaries for yourself. Raga, one of the 5 kleshas, reminds us that any attachment, or anything that we cling to, is an affliction. So if our phones or any other desires, habits, or patterns create suffering, we become stuck.
This simple phone detox plan is meant to be a way to discover that extra time in your day and sprinkle in a lot of extra mindfulness. Try it at your own pace and work your way through in a way that makes sense for you to develop non-attachment toward your phone.
- Relocate your favorite apps. If you use apps, notice which ones you use the most or the ones that are time wasters. If you can't delete them, the extra step of hunting for the app will often be enough to help you realize how often you're checking or using it unnecessarily.
- Turn off notifications. There are multiple studies nowadays showing us that multitasking and interruption are unhealthy for our brain and our nervous system. Rather than having a continuous stream of notifications and interruptions, give yourself some peace and quiet to check only as needed. Constant notifications often create constant subconscious stress.
- Put your phone away 1 hour before bed. Screens and technology effect our sleep. Learning how to wind down in another way will offer us a little more mindful time as well as the possibility of a better night's sleep. Try reading or meditation instead, for added benefit and relaxation.
- Resist your phone first thing in the morning. Transitions are important. Give yourself some time to wake more mindfully. Enjoy a cup of tea, sit outside and/or journal about your experience. Practice restraint for at least 1 hour, if you can.
- Call instead of texting. Maybe it's not always possible or convenient, but when it is, make a point to speak. Texting is great sometimes, but calling can often demand more focus and attention, as well as give some power to our throat chakra. Isn't it great to hear someone's voice anyway?
- Go somewhere and leave your phone at home. Enjoy your time more mindfully at work or play, by intentionally leaving your phone at home. Notice how much it effects you or changes your day.
- Turn off your phone for the whole day. When you're able, choose to find total freedom from your phone. Pay attention to times of the day that you might squander with the distraction of your phone. Use that information to practice non-attachment next time you have your phone in your hand.
Practicing self-control (tapas), looks different for everyone. Some of these suggestions may not apply to you, but it's always helpful to create new patterns where we need them. Often times, the smallest changes and attention in an overlooked area of our lives or our days can create the biggest impact!
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