Step away from the phone

Sunday, November 17, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport||

Sunday, November 17, 2013

As I mentioned last week, I wanted to unplug for 24 hours, which may not seem like a long time, but for someone who is never more than a foot from her phone and checks Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest hourly, it's kind of a big deal. And guess what? Goal completed. And the world didn't end around me. I didn't realize just how much time I invested in mindlessly scrolling. I was able to complete all my work PLUS read a book...for fun. That is unheard of when I'm at school. 

As a communications major and someone who will most likely work in social media on a daily basis, I understand the power that it has and the good it can do. Twitter is my main news outlet; I do not have time to watch the news on television or read through online editions of newspapers, however I can catch up on the headlines and read the stories I am interested in. Pinterest is my go-to recipe book and I always check it before going to the grocery store to figure out what I want to cook that week. Instagram inspires me to find the beauty in the simple, everyday moments around me.

But when you can't even make it through a 30 minute TV show without checking your phone 5 times, you know you have a problem. I was also beginning to turn into a lurker, someone who reads everything, but rarely comments or engages with others. So I decided to do a detox and reevaluate my relationship with my favorite apps. I will never be able to give it up for good, but designating time in the morning and at night to catch up frees up my day to actually accomplish something.

Here are a few tips to be able to manage your online time more efficiently:

1. Find a time that works best for you.
First thing in the morning, at lunch and before bed works for me. Knowing that I have specific time set aside to catch up makes me less likely to check it every hour. I also have push notifications set up, so I don't have to constantly look to see if people have responded.

2. Pick a hobby to fill your free time. 
Do you have a dozen books sitting idle on your shelf or Kindle? Pick one up and start reading. Or maybe you have always wanted to learn pottery or caligraphy. Take a class or watch some Youtube videos and start creating something. Has the idea of starting your own business been floating in the back of your mind for years? Take the first steps to make that dream a reality.

3. Call a friend, and go to lunch. 
Nothing beats catching up with friends face to face. No screen time can replace it. And while you're at lunch, leave your phones in your bags. The notifications, texts and emails can wait an hour or two.

4. Only follow those whose information you care to read. 
Cut down on the amount of time it takes by unfollowing all of the accounts whose posts you consistently glaze over.

5. Don't forget that social media is designed for two-way communication. 
Don't be a lurker. Be engaged and active on social media. Start conversations and jump into other conversations your favorite bloggers and friends are having. It's a great way to meet new people/get your name and blog on the radar. 


lauren, curious constellation said...

This is a great post! I kind of have a rule to get all social media out of the way by lunch time and then afternoon onwards I complete other tasks. I don't always stick to it but it definitely does help.

Emskibeach said...

I've tried to make it a thing to make sure I don't use my phone after nine pm as I need to get myself some brain space!

Amy Hayes said...

Well done!! I love when I'm on holiday and can turn off my phone and internet for at least a week. In real life though, I can definitely get a bit obsessive! Good to put it back in perspective from time to time. :)

Natalie Joseph said...

Great post and advice!