As a full-time blogger, I spend WAY too much time on my phone: I’d imagine the same is probably true of any self-employed person – or maybe just any PERSON, really.
When you’re self-employed, basically, your business is your life: EVERYTHING revolves around it, and it becomes your number one priority – which means even when you’re supposed to be enjoying some down-time, you’ll be constantly checking email, replying to questions, and generally trying your best to keep on top of things. That’s bad enough when your business or job isn’t based around the internet, but when your job is blogging, and everything you do requires you to be online, it can be even harder to pull yourself away. As a blogger, everything you do is potential blog content, and everything you see could make a great Instagram shot, so before you know it, you’re making everyone wait for dinner until you’ve photographed the food, or becoming so engrossed in responding to comments or questions that you forget to take in what’s around you.
So, what’s the answer?
For me, simply telling myself I won’t check my phone doesn’t work – and being scolded for spending too much time on it isn’t a great solution, either: it makes me feel bad, sure, but because I’ve managed to convince myself that my business will fall apart if I don’t check that my websites are running every few minutes, it doesn’t persuade me to stop doing it.
Here are some things I’ve been trying to do in order to spend less time on my phone:
01. DON’T KEEP THE PHONE NEXT TO THE BED
Everyone knows you shouldn’t use your phone late at night: apparently the light from the screen convinced your brain it’s still daylight, which makes it harder to get to sleep. Also, I find that being online right before bed means that when I do try to sleep, my brain will still be buzzing with all of the things I’ve just been reading about – cue another sleepless night. Knowing this is one thing, though – actually doing something about it is quite another, and I don’t know about you, but no matter how often I tell myself I won’t look at my phone in bed, I ALWAYS do. The solution? Don’t keep the phone next to the bed – simple!
Or… not so simple, actually. This is a tough one, because, like many people I know, I use my phone as an alarm. Actually, though, I’ve come to realise that I don’ actually need the alarm function: I normally wake up naturally before the alarm goes off, but I STILL instantly reach for the phone, and spend the next 20 minutes scrolling through Bloglovin‘ or Pinterest – and then telling myself I’ll just check Facebook and Twitter while I’m here… oh, and I wonder if anyone’s sent me an email in the 2 minutes since I last checked? By NOT keeping the phone by the bed, I can’t do that – and hey, maybe shopping for a cute alarm clock could be fun, too?
02. DON’T TAKE THE PHONE OUT OF YOUR HANDBAG
I take my phone with me everywhere I go: leaving it behind just isn’t an option (I mean, I know it’s what we used to do back in the days before cellphones were common, but isn’t it strange now to think of being out all day, and totally inaccessible?!), but leaving it in my handbag IS, so I’ve been doing my best just to leave it in my bad. I realise that isn’t exactly a revolutionary idea, but it’s a big change for me, because previously my habit was to arrive at my destination and instantly pull my phone out of my handbag. I’d then place it on the table, or the arm of my chair, or whatever, where the constant notifications flashing up on the screen would be totally impossible to resist. Not only is it pretty rude to keep checking your phone when you’re in company, it’s normally not really necessary, so leaving the phone in my handbag means I don’t see the notifications, and don’t get distracted by them. Failing that, another way to achieve this is to…
03. SWITCH OFF ALL NOTIFICATIONS
I’ve said that all of the notifications my phone sends me are hard to resist – so why do I even have them, in the first place? Do I REALLY need to know every time someone mentions me on Twitter, or tags me on Instagram? Even if I do, do I need to know INSTANTLY? Nuh-uh. I feel like all these notifications just help convince us that everything they alert us to is super-important, and absolutely urgent, when in fact they can almost always wait. So if you can’t switch the phone off altogether, or keep it out of sight, you can at least keep switch off the alerts, to stop them ruling your life.
GOT ANY SHOEPER TIPS FOR THOSE OF US WHO SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ON OUR PHONES?