A TYPICAL DAY for most of us begins and ends with our smartphones. We check emails, respond to text messages, peruse social media… the list goes on. Our tech-obsessed society requires us to to keep up at rapid speeds. Even our “time off” is often spent sharing our experiences online, or browsing the lives of others.
While this overwhelming consumption of tech certainly has its benefits, it also causes us to veer from reality. Sights, sounds and conversations are missed everyday because we’re hiding behind our gadgets. Here are five ways to remain active online, while still keeping hold of the present moment.
AVOID TECH IN BED
Sure, it’s tempting to take tech to bed with you, but a midnight glance at Instagram can wait until the morning. Scouring through emails, photos, videos and social networks prior to bedtime is disruptive to your snooze cycle — not to mention, your relationship. Keep your gadgets walking distance from your bed, so it’s not the first thing you reach for from your pillow.
TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS
A number of apps offer to send push notifications, which makes your phone light up each time someone likes a photo or favorites a tweet. Turning this feature off will keep you from glancing at your phone every few minutes. Fewer virtual disruptions means you’ll have more time to take in what’s physically around you.
Admit it: You reach for your phone during every elevator ride and doctor’s visit, rather than sparking a conversation with the stranger next to you. We’re all guilty of this. Start putting your phone down and looking around. You’ll seize more opportunities, build new friendships and become more satisfied with an otherwise mundane daily routine.
LEAVE IT BEHIND
We know, this one’s a biggie. There is something sincerely terrifying about leaving home without a phone. So begin by picking just one time per week to set your tech aside, whether it’s during date night, while playing tag with your kids or during your favorite sitcom. Once you master the weekly challenge, schedule tech-free time each day.
Social media outlets are beginning to look like magazine spreads – which are beautiful, but often drive comparisons. Understand you’re merely getting a glimpse into someone’s life. Never let an Instagram feed make you feel less beautiful, smart or worthy. As I often remind people on my own site, don’t waste too much time wrapped up in the virtual life of others. Instead, put more time into living the life around you.