We bet you take your phone with you to the bathroom.
In fact, maybe that’s where you’re reading this. But the real question is whether there’s anywhere you don’t take your phone… It’s right next to you when you shower, when you go out for lunch, even when you sleep.
It’s alarming when you think about it, but you’re not alone. A seven-country (US, UK, Brazil, China, Spain, Mexico and India) online smartphone habits survey of over 7000 people found that 60 per cent of participants slept holding their handsets.
The bottom-line? A digital detox can help to improve awareness of how we use our devices and it allows us to reflect on our relationship with technology and consider setting new habits.
So what does a digital detox look like?
While the usage of screens has increased over the years, so too has our appetite for reprieve, with a quarter (28%) of respondents in a recent survey by HMD Global (the home of Nokia phones) admitting they often take a digital detox.
Depending on your goals, this might look like setting limits on screen time or social media use, disconnecting in the evening for an earlier night’s sleep or blocking out certain apps and distractions to allow you a deeper focus at work.
Finding the right balance of device usage can have a big impact on our mental, physical and emotional health. So we asked James Robinson, ANZ Country Manager for HMD Global for some practical tips to better the relationship we have with our devices:
- Track your activity and establish new habits: Are you aware of the full extent of your current mobile phone usage habits and behaviours? Reviewing activity is the first step. Identify if there is anything you’d like to adapt or new habits you’d like to introduce. Set measures to easily track your usage, review your activity and monitor your progress.
- Designate tech-free hours: Select times of the day where you are completely unplugged. Start with something as simple as taking a tech-free lunch, or put your phone away and opt for reading a book on your commute to work. Slowly work the habit into your daily life and once you start getting used to it, you may find yourself expanding your time without a device.
- Don’t take your phone to bed: Most people use their phone as an alarm clock but when you take your phone into your room, it is harder to switch it off and easier to find yourself mindlessly scrolling on social media for hours each night. Instead leave your phone outside the bedroom (or at least at the other end of the room) and make your bed a device-free zone. Better yet, you won’t be exposed to the bright blue light emitted from your phone that impacts the sleep-wake-cycle, resulting in a better night’s sleep.
- Ask your boss for a work phone: Research conducted by HMD Global at the end of 2020 discovered that more than three quarters (77%) of Australians would use a complimentary work phone if offered by their employer with the main reason being to keep personal and working lives separate. Given how many of us are working from home more frequently, it’s unsurprising that we’re looking for ways to separate these worlds.
- Consider a ‘weekend phone’ – A digital detox isn’t always realistic for many of us. We rely on technology to keep us connected to friends, families, colleagues and our broader communities – especially at the moment. But, should you wish to reduce your screen time and improve your digital habits and wellbeing, why not try a low-cost supplementary device like an old-school-style Nokia feature phone like the Nokia 2720 Flip. Use it as your weekend phone or your after work/evening phone.