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A Simple Hack for Reducing Phone Addiction

This talk discusses a simple method to cut down on screen time and use your phone more intentionally.

In today's episode, I'm going to share how we can start to break our phone addiction and be more intentional with how we use technology. More to come on that in a moment, but first let's settle in with the sound of the bells. Do you find yourself checking your phone more than you'd like? Do you find yourself spending more time in front of a screen than feels healthy? Do you find yourself randomly scrolling through emails or social media when it's really not necessary and is not serving your wellbeing in any way? If so, welcome to being a human being in 2020. Yes, you are not alone. All of us are learning how to contend with this new technology.

Even though it's been around for a number of years now, it is increasingly becoming addictive and increasingly becoming an integral part of how we navigate and live our lives. And while I don't intend for this episode to be a philosophical discussion on the merits of technology or even the ethical design of technology, I do think we're all in new territory trying to figure out how to be in relationship to these devices that are highly addictive and also highly useful. One thing I've been noticing for myself in relationship to this technology is that many times throughout the day, I need to be checking emails, checking social media, or the calls, text messages related to my work. There may be people that need something from me, that need to update me on something, or I might need to respond to something on social media or respond to an email. Because of this, my device, specifically my phone, has become a big part of my life.

And I do check it many times throughout the day. But one thing I've started to notice more and more is that I'm often randomly checking my phone when I don't actually need to, or if something were to come in, I'm not in a position or don't have the intention to respond anyway. So, what do I mean by that? A lot of times I'm scrolling through Gmail throughout the day, checking to see if there are any important updates or if someone needs something from me. But a lot of times, because I do do that checking so frequently, I find myself going on automatic pilot with it and checking it out of habit. And oftentimes when I do see an email come through, I'm not in a position or don't have the time to respond.

And so it just becomes something that clutters my mental attention and creates this felt sense within me that there's so much to do. So this habit of checking my phone without actually intending to, or having the time to do anything about what I would be seeing, whether it's a notification, an email, a comment that comes through, just ends up becoming wasted energy, wasted time and wasted mental space. And in talking to more and more people about this, it does seem to be a common experience. So I imagine you might have some familiarity with what this is like to be caught up on your device, not only on autopilot, but really out of habit, thinking you're there to do something perhaps productive. Or even thinking you're being intentional with it, like you're intentionally going to scroll through Facebook for a period of time for entertainment.

But it's really just because you're bored with whatever you're doing and your thumb is very used to swiping, swiping, swiping. So, something I've been using to help me with this, to be more intentional with my phone use is before I reached for my phone, I asked myself the question. If I were to see something that needs my attention, email, Facebook comment, text message, if I were to see something that needs my attention, would I be able to tend to it right now? If I were to see something that needs my attention, would I be able to tend to it right now? In the context of email, that's very simply if an email were to come through would I respond to it right now? And if the answer is no, I'm just randomly checking it during this short break in a conversation I'm having, then I'm not going to look at my email. If it has to do with social media and a comment comes through, I reply to a lot of comments on my social media. Is this a comment that I would respond to? Is this a direct message I would respond to? Am I in the space to do that right now? Or am I just checking it out of habit to get a little dopamine hit, to see that little red circle that says three, four or five so I could get so excited cause people commented on my ? And if it's the latter and not the former, if I'm not in a space to do something about what's coming through, then I see if I could put my phone away.

This has been a surprisingly powerful heuristic for me. Not only does it help me be more intentional with how I use my device, but it also creates much more ease in my mind. I find, and I think the research is there to support this, that, that aimless scrolling, that neurotic checking, that going on our device out of autopilot or out of habit just creates extra angst in my system, especially when I'm seeing things that I can't even do anything about. And by checking that tendency in real time and saying, no, it allows me to do something more intentional with my attention and my presence. Now is this a full proof system? No, you first have to remember to do it.

And that's one of the hardest things when it comes to technology, is that we're, we are often so addicted to this and our patterns and reactivities around it are so habitual and often subconscious that where typically scrolling through emails, Facebook, Instagram without any awareness of how that actually happened. How the phone got out of our pocket, in our hand, the app opened, and now we're looking at a porcupine giving birth on YouTube. These things tend to happen very quickly and beneath our conscious awareness. So the first step is cultivating an awareness of these patterns so that we can stop in those moments and, and ask ourselves the question. If I were to see something that needs my attention, would I be able to tend to it now? But as I've been practicing this, I noticed that the more times I'm able to do it, the more it becomes a habit.

There are days where I forget entirely, but then I get back on the wagon. And I do think I've made this metaphor before, but I do think it's helpful to see these new developments of habits in the same way we might view a meditation practice. The mind wanders, we bring it back. Mind wanders, we bring it back. The mind wanders off for two minutes at a time, we still bring it back.

All of this is a learning. It's a wobbling where we're walking, we're falling over, we're regaining balance, we're falling over, regaining balance. So don't be discouraged if you try this out and it doesn't work or you try it out, it goes well, and then a week goes by and you totally forget to do it. It's an ongoing practice. We're all in it together.

And when it comes to exploring our relationship to technology, this is new territory for all of us. So thank you for your continued practice of learning and exploring new ways to get a little better at life and become a better human being. Remember, it's not just for you. It's for the people we most love, our communities, our country, our world. The work you do on yourself within has a ripple effect outwardly, and for that I'm grateful.

So thank you again. I'll talk to you soon and until then, take care.

Talk

4.6

A Simple Hack for Reducing Phone Addiction

This talk discusses a simple method to cut down on screen time and use your phone more intentionally.

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

In today's episode, I'm going to share how we can start to break our phone addiction and be more intentional with how we use technology. More to come on that in a moment, but first let's settle in with the sound of the bells. Do you find yourself checking your phone more than you'd like? Do you find yourself spending more time in front of a screen than feels healthy? Do you find yourself randomly scrolling through emails or social media when it's really not necessary and is not serving your wellbeing in any way? If so, welcome to being a human being in 2020. Yes, you are not alone. All of us are learning how to contend with this new technology.

Even though it's been around for a number of years now, it is increasingly becoming addictive and increasingly becoming an integral part of how we navigate and live our lives. And while I don't intend for this episode to be a philosophical discussion on the merits of technology or even the ethical design of technology, I do think we're all in new territory trying to figure out how to be in relationship to these devices that are highly addictive and also highly useful. One thing I've been noticing for myself in relationship to this technology is that many times throughout the day, I need to be checking emails, checking social media, or the calls, text messages related to my work. There may be people that need something from me, that need to update me on something, or I might need to respond to something on social media or respond to an email. Because of this, my device, specifically my phone, has become a big part of my life.

And I do check it many times throughout the day. But one thing I've started to notice more and more is that I'm often randomly checking my phone when I don't actually need to, or if something were to come in, I'm not in a position or don't have the intention to respond anyway. So, what do I mean by that? A lot of times I'm scrolling through Gmail throughout the day, checking to see if there are any important updates or if someone needs something from me. But a lot of times, because I do do that checking so frequently, I find myself going on automatic pilot with it and checking it out of habit. And oftentimes when I do see an email come through, I'm not in a position or don't have the time to respond.

And so it just becomes something that clutters my mental attention and creates this felt sense within me that there's so much to do. So this habit of checking my phone without actually intending to, or having the time to do anything about what I would be seeing, whether it's a notification, an email, a comment that comes through, just ends up becoming wasted energy, wasted time and wasted mental space. And in talking to more and more people about this, it does seem to be a common experience. So I imagine you might have some familiarity with what this is like to be caught up on your device, not only on autopilot, but really out of habit, thinking you're there to do something perhaps productive. Or even thinking you're being intentional with it, like you're intentionally going to scroll through Facebook for a period of time for entertainment.

But it's really just because you're bored with whatever you're doing and your thumb is very used to swiping, swiping, swiping. So, something I've been using to help me with this, to be more intentional with my phone use is before I reached for my phone, I asked myself the question. If I were to see something that needs my attention, email, Facebook comment, text message, if I were to see something that needs my attention, would I be able to tend to it right now? If I were to see something that needs my attention, would I be able to tend to it right now? In the context of email, that's very simply if an email were to come through would I respond to it right now? And if the answer is no, I'm just randomly checking it during this short break in a conversation I'm having, then I'm not going to look at my email. If it has to do with social media and a comment comes through, I reply to a lot of comments on my social media. Is this a comment that I would respond to? Is this a direct message I would respond to? Am I in the space to do that right now? Or am I just checking it out of habit to get a little dopamine hit, to see that little red circle that says three, four or five so I could get so excited cause people commented on my ? And if it's the latter and not the former, if I'm not in a space to do something about what's coming through, then I see if I could put my phone away.

This has been a surprisingly powerful heuristic for me. Not only does it help me be more intentional with how I use my device, but it also creates much more ease in my mind. I find, and I think the research is there to support this, that, that aimless scrolling, that neurotic checking, that going on our device out of autopilot or out of habit just creates extra angst in my system, especially when I'm seeing things that I can't even do anything about. And by checking that tendency in real time and saying, no, it allows me to do something more intentional with my attention and my presence. Now is this a full proof system? No, you first have to remember to do it.

And that's one of the hardest things when it comes to technology, is that we're, we are often so addicted to this and our patterns and reactivities around it are so habitual and often subconscious that where typically scrolling through emails, Facebook, Instagram without any awareness of how that actually happened. How the phone got out of our pocket, in our hand, the app opened, and now we're looking at a porcupine giving birth on YouTube. These things tend to happen very quickly and beneath our conscious awareness. So the first step is cultivating an awareness of these patterns so that we can stop in those moments and, and ask ourselves the question. If I were to see something that needs my attention, would I be able to tend to it now? But as I've been practicing this, I noticed that the more times I'm able to do it, the more it becomes a habit.

There are days where I forget entirely, but then I get back on the wagon. And I do think I've made this metaphor before, but I do think it's helpful to see these new developments of habits in the same way we might view a meditation practice. The mind wanders, we bring it back. Mind wanders, we bring it back. The mind wanders off for two minutes at a time, we still bring it back.

All of this is a learning. It's a wobbling where we're walking, we're falling over, we're regaining balance, we're falling over, regaining balance. So don't be discouraged if you try this out and it doesn't work or you try it out, it goes well, and then a week goes by and you totally forget to do it. It's an ongoing practice. We're all in it together.

And when it comes to exploring our relationship to technology, this is new territory for all of us. So thank you for your continued practice of learning and exploring new ways to get a little better at life and become a better human being. Remember, it's not just for you. It's for the people we most love, our communities, our country, our world. The work you do on yourself within has a ripple effect outwardly, and for that I'm grateful.

So thank you again. I'll talk to you soon and until then, take care.

Talk

4.6

Duration

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