Minimizing Smartphones

It is easy to struggle with smart phones and electronic devices taking up much of our free time. I tend to get carried away with having the world at my finger tips! Games, social media, videos, surfing the web... IMG_4053At the end of the day, I don't get rid of my smartphone because it is a tool that greatly adds value to my life.

Here are a few ways I reduce wasteful time on my device:

1. I turn all notifications off. Including sound, vibration, badges, banners, etc. It is rare that I must turn the ringer on for an important call. This allows me the free space to respond on my own time without feeling haggled every time my  phone makes a peep or lights up with some alert.

2. I limit the apps on my devices. Just as I consciously limit the excess in my physical belongings, I remember to limit the excess in ALL areas of my life... Including applications. I do have 2 games on my phone: candy crush & hay day, both of which I don't spend more than 5-10 minutes on daily. I feel solving puzzles exercises my mind on candy crush, however hay day is a complete waste of time and am coming to terms with deleting it altogether.

3. I only check emails, messages, notifications, social media at set times throughout the day. I used to get bored and pick up my phone. Now if I feel that notion, I do something else. Something that adds value to myself or family; like meditating, housework, reading, or yoga.

These few practices significantly reduce my time and attachment to my phone. The biggest thing for me comes from the value I put into things relative to my phone, for example: if I put effort into posting a picture of something ego centered on Facebook, I'm more likely to feel the notion of wanting to check comments and responses to the photo. The phone makes it easy for me to become absorbed with these things.

However, once I became deliberate when using my phone and let go of it as a crutch to fill up "empty time" I found things more valuable, like quiet space for myself, focused time with my kids, a friendly conversation with the person standing in line, etc. The notion then disappears and I find value in the tool my smartphone has become for me.