Why We Need Technology Timeouts

Why We Need Technology Timeouts

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What did you do last night? Odd’s are most of you fell into the same technology trap that I did and the next thing you knew it was time to go to bed. Did you bring your phone to bed with you as well and read Facebook as you went to bed? It’s a bad pattern that is becoming more and more pervasive so much so that NPR recently had a piece on “Are parents too distracted?” As a therapist, I am seeing this come up more and more frequently in counseling and I wanted to put forward a couple tips that might seem like common sense but are nonetheless helpful.

7 tips to regain control:

  1. Leave your phone in your car if you go to dinner. How tempting is it if you feel your phone vibrate to want to check it? This pulls us away from our surroundings (friends, loved ones, etc) and generally distracts us from being totally present.
  2. Don’t plug in your device next to your bed. Put it in your bathroom or a common area so you can be tech free at night. Harvard reports that technology in the bedroom stimulates people and can cause problems with sleeping.
  3. Create a workspace on your computer that is free from clutter and is work only and another that is for personal use. Some people do this with different user accounts, others with different browsers.
  4. Have a definite end to your workday and vow to plugin to your partner and forget your device. If this is difficult, set specific times to be a “technology timeout.”
  5. Organize your phone into workspaces. The most important apps are the most visible. I went so far as to label a folder “Time Suck” as a reminder of what that folder truly represents. The items in that folder are also the first to be cut if needed.
  6. Turn off notifications from most of your apps. Do you really need to be constantly notified of every email and Facebook message?
  7. Use a notepad. This seems silly in our digital world but with our phones having so many distractions built in, a return to the “top 3 things I need to do today” can be very helpful.

Take note of the times you are on your phone more often. Were you tired and just stuck in the vortex of the internet? Is it harder to break free when you are tired? If so, maybe you should have a time where you plugin your phone and step away for a bit. Are you possibly anxious about something and using your phone as a way to distract yourself? If so, tune into what is going on. Find out the source of that anxiety by looking at what is stimulating you when you feel the urge to pull out your phone. Is it work or something with your partner? Pay attention to these things as those other problems will likely get worse unless you deal with them.

Liked this post? You can also check out How to Live in the Moment and Don’t Let the Future Hold You Back from the Present Moment.

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