My friend, Charlie, has been doing this thing where he deletes Facebook and Instagram first thing Monday morning, and then reinstalls it after work on Friday. He has been more productive at work and home, and makes an effort to connect with friends individually instead of through social media. After two weeks, his iPhone usage was down 10 hours per week. Ten hours. Can you imagine all the things you could do with an extra ten hours added to your week?
It made me realize that I spend too much time on my phone. At least, I spend more time than I’d like on my phone.
I got to a point last year where I loathed the phone. It drives me nuts to be reachable at all times, because I’m one of those people who feels obligated to respond as soon as I receive a message (I generally move on and forget otherwise). Social media felt like work. Because it is work for a lot of us. But it got to the point where it wasn’t fun work anymore.
Over the years I’ve experimented with month-long social media detoxes. Like Charlie, I found that I was way more productive and more present in my daily life, but when social media is a huge way of how you connect with students and clients, taking long periods away isn’t always an option.
I’ve never had notifications set on my phone. The only banners I get are for texts and phone calls. In January, I began using my sunrise simulating alarm clock and leaving my phone on a charger in the other room at bedtime.
I still spend too much time on my phone.
Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of things I love about technology and the way it brings us together. It’s amazing to be able to connect with friends and loved ones with a tap on a screen. I love being able to connect with other dancers, yogis, artists, writers, teachers, and inspiring humans across the globe. Funny memes, puppies, babies, smiling selfies, recipes, and thoughtful words keep me going on so many rainy days.
So I guess it’s a matter of setting boundaries. Which I suck at. But I know that I want to spend more of my time away from the screen, and more of it undistracted and actively participating in my environment.
Since I use my phone for music to teach, it gets a bit tricky. I can’t airplane mode to block out texts or use “screen time” since Spotify is considered entertainment. So I’m having to explore more creative solutions. One is turning on “read receipts” in hopes that I won’t open messages until I have the time to respond (the “unread” will let people know I’m not ignoring them). Another is exploring social media blocking apps that will allow me to pick and choose which apps (including Spoitify) are allowed during the times I’d like to limit phone usage.
Have any tips or tricks that have helped you minimize your phone time? I’d love to hear about it!