When you’re eating out and you look around the restaurant you’re in, sometimes I can’t believe it. Over the past few years, people have become addicted to technology. But we don’t see it as an addiction. We see it as an extension of ourselves. We’re always tuned in and always, well on. Looking around a restaurant, it’s no surprise to see most people on their phone. And today, that’s become the norm. Seeing people on their phone while they’re supposed to be spending quality time with their loved ones is seen as acceptable behaviour.
I for one, am not one of those people. I believe that when you’re spending time with family, you’re spending time with family, and technology shouldn’t get in the way of that. Taking the odd picture is fair enough, but not a whole browsing session.
This isn’t to say I’ve got a good relationship with my phone! It’s really not. Because I too, am always tuned on. But I can safely say that I’ve gotten a lot better over the years and I realise how important it is to have that separation. So today, I wanted to share some of the ways I’ve found that help me be more intentional with technology.
Don’t keep a million tabs open
Guilty. If you looked at my iPad right now, you’d see all the tabs open, and it’s the same when I’m at work. I don’t close things, I just open a new tab when I want to go on something new.
This is a bad habit. It’s essentially multi-tasking. Just because you’re not using a tab doesn’t mean it’s not there to distract you. When you’re done with it, get rid. Now, this isn’t the same for tablets and phones because you can just close the app. But when it comes to your computer, you can get into a very bad cycle.
I deal a lot with social media in my day job and once I’ve checked notifications on Twitter and Facebook, it’s so easy for me to leave those tabs open. But I’m getting into the habit of only having the tabs open that I actually need. Being intentional like this has made me notice a big difference in my productivity.
Make your desktop refreshing to see
You don’t want to feel overwhelmed as soon as you turn your computer on in a morning. If your desktop is full of unnecessary files or shortcuts, you’ll instantly get that feeling of when you’ve got too much to do. It’s the same with your folders too – if they’re all over the place, you’ll feel like you don’t have any control over them.
Make sure your desktop has just the things you need on there. It might be a pain to clear it all, but trust me – it’ll be so worth it.
And while you’re at it, choose yourself a fab background too. A motivational message, your favourite place, a picture that makes you laugh – anything goes. You can even have all of them and let your computer automatically alternate between them so you’re always seeing something different.
Put your apps into folders & delete what you don’t need
I used to be one of those people that had all their apps scattered around their phone. Then I decided to get organised and it made a massive difference. That way, instead of just going from app to app and getting even more distracted, you’ll have everything exactly where you need it and you’ll know where it is. So when you’re looking at your social apps, you won’t get side-tracked and start looking at other things, because everything you need will be in one folder.
Or you can go even better than that and delete the apps you don’t really use. There are many apps I download to try out and then forget to delete. They just take up space. Recently, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone because I realised that I never use it. I’m more likely to go on it on my iPad or laptop. Remember – you don’t have to have all the apps everywhere.
Turn off notifications
This has honestly made the biggest difference to me. If you only take one thing away from this post, let it be this point. Turn off your notifications. Think about how many notifications you get in a day and how many times you check your phone. For me, this used to be a lot. I used to check my phone every time I got a notification and it was a complete and utter time waster. Then I switched off notifications for emails and all my social channels.
People are always looking for ways to spend less time on social media. If this is you, this is the thing that will help. You won’t be checking notifications every minute of the day. You won’t be dropping everything at the sound of a chime. You’ll be doing it intentionally, productively and deliberately.
Have a cut-off point
Here’s a spoiler for you – the internet can cope without you. And you can cope without the internet. There’s no possibility that you’re going to read every tweet, see every Instagram post and watch every snap. But then, would you want to?
Over the Bank Holiday weekend I had a complete break from social media and it felt good. Your audience isn’t going to mind that you take a few days off. You run your blog, so it’s up to you what you do.
Fear of missing out on the internet is nowhere near as important as fear of missing out with your loved ones. Set a cut-off point every night and do something with your family or other half. Take a break from the online world when you’re on holiday. I love social media just as much as you. But it isn’t everything.
I'd love to know your thoughts on this. What's your relationship like with technology? What are you trying to do to make sure you're more intentional? Leave a comment and let me know!