You've been working from home for over a year now, and at first, you were fine that you were spending so much time on your phone because it was a way to connect with people when you couldn't otherwise. It felt like self-care! It felt okay to chill and binge consume things on your phone.
But it's been 390+ days of being home on your phone, and it's all adding up!
You get your weekly alert on Sunday telling you how many hours you spent on your phone, and it's alarming, but also you don't really change anything after seeing the number. You're kinda like, "Oh shoot. Eek. Oh well."
When you wake up in the morning and go to your phone first thing, you start the day feeling crappy about yourself or about life.
You consume social media and start comparing your body to some gal on the internet.
Your mental health is suffering from all the consumption.
Your eyes hurt. Your neck hurts. Your wrists hurt!
Time passes as you're on your phone, and suddenly you've been on it for the first 40 minutes of your day!
And then there are times you go to check it for just a minute during your day, and suddenly you've been on it for 25 minutes!
Oh, and how many impulsive orders from GrubHub and DoorDash and UberEats appear on your credit card statement?
I used to struggle with spending waaaay too much time on my phone. I'd start my day by scrolling, and I'd end my night with scrolling. I'd be on my phone in the checkout line, and sadly and dangerously, I was checking my phone while driving slowly or waiting at a red light. My credit card was stored on apps, and I would impulsively buy things with just the move of my finger. My mental health suffered. My body hurt. It was embarassing how much time I spent on my phone, and I was frustrated with myself.
I wrote some blogs back in 2019 here:
I knew I needed to make a change. And I did! And I feel great! And now I can teach you too!
When you do these 8 things, you're going to stop feeling frustrated and start feeling satisfied with yourself.
Your mental health is going to get better, and your physical health will too because you'll have all this new found time that you can spend going for walks, calling your mom, and making healthy foods.
This won't just be for 40 days. This can be how you live life!
What is the pain you want to move away from? "I am so sick of feeling_____."
What is the pleasure you'd like to move towards? "I'd like to start feeling_____."
What is your current identity? "I am currently the person who_____."
What is your aspirational identity? "I'd like to be the person who _____."
"I am so sick of feeling frustrated with myself for being on my phone all the time. I am sick of having a headache from the screen, and I am sick of feeling terrible about myself from all the images I see on social media."
I'd like to start feeling fine with myself. I'd like to start feeling not rushed- like I actually have time to do the things I want to do during my day. I'd like to feel good/not gross!
I am currently the person who is addicted to their phone and always has it next to them.
I'd like to be the person who has time for things that matter. I'd like to be the person who exercises first thing instead of being on their phone!"
I think most people go on their phone to relieve boredom or frustration. Whatever they're working on isn't exciting or isn't fun, but their phone can provide excitement and fun and relief from work! Maybe they're bored and the phone can fill that time.
You're going to have extra minutes in your day. It might be a giant 40 minute slot. It might be a 10 minute slot. You need to know what you're going to do during these times, or otherwise you will go right back to spending that time on your phone...
What does your aspirational self do?
You're not writing about what you currently do. You're thinking about if you were the person you wanted to be, what would that person do.
First thing in the morning, that person does ____.
During downtimes or when bored, that person does ____.
That person keeps their phone here ____.
"First thing in the morning, I would use my alarm clock to wake up instead of my phone, and I'd exercise first thing. Not check my phone!
During downtimes or when bored, I'd sit and be bored or maybe I'd doodle in a journal, color a coloring book, call my mom, do some chores, exercise, get going on unfinished projects.
I'd keep my phone in a central location instead of right next to me at all times. I could keep the phone on the kitchen counter."
I know. You feel sad about this. Apps are made to make it easier to navigate the internet. But this ease benefits the company. It doesn't benefit you. When it's easy to navigate social social media, you end up spending hours and hours on it.
You can still access your social media accounts and shopping apps, but just do it from your computer. This for sure adds in a step to make it a little more difficult to do. And that's a GOOD thing.
Social media and apps in general are so easy to overuse because of how easy they are to use! So make it the opposite. Make it a little more difficult to use.
Go right here!
When you log onto Facebook from your computer, you will see this instead of everyone's updates.
When you want to see what Susie is up to in life, you will have to type her name in to the search button.
Or you could just call her on the phone and have a real conversation with her!
If you're seeking human connection because you're lonely, calling on the phone will actually help you feel less lonely.
Someone (was it you?) once told me that there is no such thing as an emergency email. If it's an emergency, they will call you. They won't email you.
You will get to your email when you get to it. The notifications disrupt your day and you never get shit done. Take back control of your time by turning off notifications.
This helps you set some boundaries and structure to your use. When you have no boundaries and structure, you feel like shit from overconsumption.
At some point, you will hear yourself say, "It's just this once. I don't have to set a timer."
Connect back to your pain, pleasure, current identity, and aspirational identity. There's a reason you're setting up these boundaries.
Your phone is a tool. It helps you connect with the world. How do YOU want to use it?
Companies know how they want you to use it. Have you decided what you want it for?
Connecting with family:
-Calling my mom, Paul's mom, and my aunt
-Texting photos of nieces, nephews, and dogs with my family in our group text
-Backup Zoom in case my computer isn't working
-Checking email when I want to, not immediately when an email arrives
-Directions! GPS! Phew. No more printing mapquest directions
-Podcasts and Spotify while running, walking, lifting, or driving
-Buying things. I can go to a store in person or I can go on my computer.
-Scrolling social media. I can go on my computer.
-To fill relieve boredom the milisecond I am bored. I used to sense boredom and immediately turn to my phone to relieve it.
-To fill time while standing in line at the grocery store. (I know. Boredom.)
-To fill time while waiting for a podcast to upload. (I know. Boredom.)
-To relieve loneliness. I used to say, "I wonder what people are up to." And go on my phone. Now I have walking dates and Zoom meetups.
-Watching videos. We have a TV. I have a computer. I don't need to use my phone for that.
We order pizza on Fridays and we may go out to eat on Saturdays, but we do not order a bunch of stuff during the week. We used to! That's actually how I gained a ton of weight was because we were ordering so much food. Now we get food only 2 times a week.
When I am going to buy something online, I give it some time. I really think about the purchase before purchasing it. Where will that item be in 5 years? Do I really need it? Will I really use it? Will it be in the garbage or Goodwill in a few weeks?
I used to buy soooo much stuff on Amazon because it's just a quick button to press, and now I really think about the purchase.
I wanted to buy a treadmill, and then the more we talked about our plans for when the world opens up, the treadmill is not needed. I want to have less stuff and be able to travel more. Didn't need to buy it! Can just bundle up and walk outside!
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