Mobile phone insurance provider Better Buy Insurance has teamed up with a leading addiction expert to produce a guide for survival in the age of ‘always on’.
‘Always on’ refers to the phenomenon of feeling constantly contactable, and the anxiety many feel as a result when they are without their phone.
The guide has been produced with Dr Mark Griffiths, who is a psychologist and Distinguished Professor of Behavioural Addiction at Nottingham Trent University.
- Don’t go cold turkey
Griffiths says: “Start by proving to yourself that you can go 15 minutes without your phone. Over time, increase the length of time without checking some of your favourite apps until you get into a daily habit of being able to spend a few hours without the need to check your phone.
- Set aside daily periods of self-imposed non-screen time
“Meal times and bedtime are a good starting place – in fact, these rooms should be made technology-free. Another strategy to try is having a technology-free day at the weekends.
- Only respond to emails and texts at specific times of the day
“Looking at emails just three times a day – perhaps at 9am, 1pm and 4pm – will save lots of time in the long run. Turning off email and social media, disabling push notifications, or simply putting your phone on silent will also reduce the urge to constantly check mobile devices.
- Keep your phone only partially charged up
“This means users have to be sparing when checking their mobile devices.
- Use a proper alarm clock
“By using a standard alarm clock to wake you in the morning, you will avoid the temptation to look at emails and texts just as you are about to go to sleep or just as you wake up – or in the middle of the night if you are a workaholic!
- Wear a wristwatch
“Many people check the time using the phone, but this can also lead to noticing a text, email or Tweet. By using an old-fashioned wristwatch – not a smart watch! – the urge to reply to messages will decrease.
- Engage in activities where it is impossible or frowned upon to use your phone
“Engage in digitally-incompatible activities where it is impossible to access your phone simultaneously, like jogging, swimming, meditation, outdoor walks in wi-fi free areas, or going to places where technology is frowned upon, like places of worship or yoga classes. In social situations, you could even turn people’s need to check their phones into a game. At the pub, the first one to check their phone has to buy the next round!
- Reduce your contact lists
“Reduce your number of Facebook friends, stop following irrelevant blogs, delete unused apps and unsubscribe from online groups that have few benefits.
- Tell your work colleagues and friends
“Checking emails and texts can become an almost compulsive behaviour because of what psychologists have termed ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out). But by telling everyone you know that you will not be online for a few hours, they will be less likely to contact you in the first place and you will be less likely check for messages.
- Fill the void
“You must replace the activity of checking your phone with something that is either physically, psychologically or spiritually rewarding. When I’m on holiday, I catch up on all the novels that I’ve been meaning to read. In shorter spaces of time, I doodle, write ‘to do’ lists, generate ideas to write about, or simply do nothing and be mindful and aware of the present moment). In short, try to be productive – or unproductive – without having to resort to technology.”