With each passing year, technology is becoming more essential to our daily lives. We use our smartphones for everything from finding recipes to searching for our dream jobs. However, all this technology and connectedness is overwhelming.
According to research from Pollara, 9 out of 10 adult Canadians use social media. In fact, 66 percent of adults read at least one social media platform daily, and 80 percent do so weekly.
If you want to cut down on your tech time, consider these tips:
Determine How Much Technology is Too Much
Technology is a valuable part of modern life. Computers and mobile devices not only allow us to connect with the world, but also encourage us to learn and grow. A smartphone can be a useful educational tool when your intention is to expand your knowledge base. However, if you use your technology without a clear intention, there's a good chance you'll end up wasting a lot of time on social media or pursuing content that isn't of any real value.
Though technology in general and social media in particular are not essentially bad, they can become negative influences on your life if abused. Unregulated technology time can be detrimental to your physical, mental and emotional health.
Finding balance is important because technology can open the doors to exciting new opportunities. The next time you pick up your smartphone or open your laptop, ask yourself what your intentions are. Doing so will help you decide if you're making a productive choice or if you're simply spinning your wheels.
Set Aside Some Tech-Free Time
Your vacation from technology doesn't need to last a week or even an entire day. These days, it's difficult to be a functional and productive member of society if you don't put in a little screen time.
Rather than completely removing yourself from the world of technology, consider setting aside some tech-free time every day. For example, looking at social media first thing in the morning can set a negative tone for the day. Looking at your best friend's vacation photos as you ride the train to work is not likely to make you feel very productive. Instead of endlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed, try making a task list or writing down your goals for the day.
There are many points in the day that can benefit from limited technology. For instance, having everyone turn off their phones when you sit down for a family dinner gives you time to maintain healthy relationships. Putting away electronics before bed can also help you digest the day and prepare for the next. Harvard Business Review contributor and California State University psychology professor Larry Rosen recommended shutting off your phone at least an hour before you intend on going to sleep.
Make Plans with Friends and Family
It's difficult to avoid technology when you're alone. Our phones and computers connect us not only to the people we love, but also like-minded strangers across the world. It's easier than ever to satisfy a passing curiosity. It's not hard to go from simply wondering how old your favourite actor is to learning his or her entire life story on Wikipedia.
To avoid getting sucked into mindlessly surfing and checking social sites on your phone, try making plans with your friends and family. When you're having fun and enjoying the conversation, you're less likely to check Twitter or fall into a hole of trivia and useless information.
If your friends tend to stare at their phones when you meet up, tell them how it makes you feel. Often times we fall into these habits without realizing it. You don't have to be harsh either - try suggesting a phone-free dinner or a tech-free weekend adventure.
Replace Your Social Media Time with Another Habit
It's easy to put down your phone. It's also easy to pick it back up. Rather than only eliminating social media time from your daily schedule, you should try replacing it with a healthier habit. For instance, if you often check Twitter, do a pushup every time you feel the urge to open the app.
If there's a skill you've been interested in learning, but haven't had the time to start - this is your opportunity! Replace your social media time with a more productive and fulfilling activity and before long you'll forget why you ever spent so much time on your phone.