Does anyone else wonder if they spend too much time on their phone? Too much time using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites? I know for me there have been times when I have picked up my phone to (gasp!) make a phone call. After I enter my passcode, it opens to the last screen I had active. If it is Facebook, I’ll check my notifications, completely forgetting about that call. Does that ever happen to you?
It turns out it is designed that way. From this month’s Atlantic Magazine article “Tristan Harris believes Silicon Valley is Addicting Us To Our Phones”:
“Messages, photos, and “likes” appear on no set schedule, so we check for them compulsively, never sure when we’ll receive that dopamine-activating prize. (Delivering rewards at random has been proved to quickly and strongly reinforce behavior.)”
Even I remember that from my Freshman Year Psych class!
And who even knew there is an “Information Overload Day”, let alone an Information Overload Research Group? They state that:
“Information Overload causes people to lose their ability to manage thoughts and ideas, contemplate, and even reason and think. It has resulted in work days that never seem to end, completely destroying work/life balance.”
What can you do to help yourself be more present and not focus so much on your phone and social media?
- Set up a schedule for using your phone to check email and social media. Set a timer to limit your time to ten or twenty minutes. Keep your phone turned off otherwise, except when you are expecting a call.
- Change your notifications so that you don’t receive an alert whenever you receive a new email, or Facebook message, or when someone has liked your Tweet. (With my iPhone I receive an alert whenever I get a new email to my business account. I’ve set it up so that I do not receive alerts for new personal emails.)
- Remove some (or all) Social Media apps from your phone and only access them from your computer.
- Ask everyone to put their phones in the center of the table during meals.
- Charge your phone at night in a different room, not right next to your bed.
I hope these tips are helpful!
Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.
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