My Phone Had to Be Wiped. Here Is Why It’s A Good Thing

I was having OS problems a few weeks ago so the guy at the genius bar told me to wipe my phone clean. He advised me to set it up as a new phone (i.e., not from backup) to prevent the problem from reoccurring. That meant losing all my apps, emails, everything.

Before this happened, I’d been long contemplating deleting many of the apps from my phone. I had already moved my emails out of sight to the second screen and turned off most of my notifications. I don’t need a sound alert when somebody comments on my Facebook post or when I send an email.

Take A Digital Break

Let’s be realistic. Technology is engrained in our lives and it helps with many things. I’m not advocating for getting rid of it! What I’m advocating for though is the responsible use of technology.

Let's be smart with our smart phones! Let's use them responsibly and keep ourselves healthy. Click To Tweet

Frequently checking email and social media, browsing the web and interacting with apps is one of the popular past times today. We have become glued to our phones without even realizing how much distraction we’re creating for ourselves. You’ll read reports about Americans using their phones for 4.7 hours a day and checking their phones on average 46 times a day. People between 18 and 33 showed even more enthusiasm for their small screens in a small-scale study as this group looked at their phones every 10 minutes, which is about 85 times a day. The scary part is that “swiping to unlock” has become a habit, putting people on autopilot. On my trip to Bali last year, a sign caught my attention as I was passing a cafe on the street: “We have WiFi so you don’t have to talk to each other.”

You’ve heard me talk and write about the idea of a “digital detox”, which is the notion of managing your screen time in support of your senses and mind for less stress, better health and productivity. And finally, Western research is finding evidence that too much screen time is harmful. Read about it here, here and here.

Here are 3 simple ways to get started on your “digital detox” journey:

1. Schedule “no screen time”

Leave your phone at home or in another room. Go for a run, walk or do another activity without your phone in your hand or pocket. You may feel anxious or even “naked” the first time you do this but you’ll get used to it. Turn off your phone before going to bed and keep it off for an hour after waking up.

2. Resist distractions

If you’re one of those people who can resist the urge to check, check, check whatever it is that you usually check, the more power to you! Research shows that we spend at least twice as much time on our phones than we think. I buy that!

The most common distractions are email, social media and apps on a phone. Do you know which one(s) is/are the hardest for you to resist? Choosing not to add email, social accounts or unnecessary apps to your phone can help you mentally step away from work and reconnect with “the moment”. How radical in this day and age!

If you’re not ready to say goodbye to your email on your phone, move it off the first screen so you’re not fixated on the number of unread messages. That alone can help alleviate anxiety. In addition, removing email from your phone will likely force you to be more focused and prioritize better when you do sit down to check your messages. Try it!

Before my OS troubles, I had many apps on my phone (although others may disagree) and I decided not to reinstall most of them–including social media accounts. I highly recommend doing a periodic cleanup if you’re one of those people who just can’t stop visiting social sites and apps on your phone. Delete them for a while. You can always put them back if it’s not working for you.

3. Change your notification settings

What happened to the good old “opt-in” model? The default assumption now is that you want to get a notification for everything. You can help your sanity and health a great deal if you limit the amount of audio and visual stimuli coming from your emails, apps and other alerts.

Enjoy the beginning of your “digital detox” journey! Interested in learning more about “digital detox”? Drop me a note!

Image by Ross Brown, freeimages.com

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