I don’t believe that the addictive nature of our smartphones and how easily we can become consumed by them is solely responsible for many of the challenges that we face today. I think that blaming them entirely is naive, and such of an easy thing to do. However, I understand that technology has its role to play and is a contributing factor. I myself have been at the mercy of my smartphone, especially during my darkest days, checking social media every second, and being and feeling insecure online.
However, there was something bigger at play going on within me, and my level of self-esteem, self-confidence, and identity that once I changed, and continued to invest in affected how I show up online, and use my phone and technology in general. In my conversation with Sam Flynn, we discussed this exact topic and how to take back control of your digital devices. Sam stresses the importance of creating friction and introducing barriers that make it more difficult to mindlessly reach for our phones.
One of the strategies Sam suggests is setting screen time limits, particularly for social media apps. She shares her personal practice of allowing herself only 20 minutes a day on social media on her phone while prioritising desktop/laptop use for business-related tasks. This intentional approach helps her avoid mindlessly scrolling on social media and prompts her to put her phone down when the time limit is reached. In Sam’s own words, it’s all about using technology consciously and having applied similar strategies over the last year or so, I can definitely vouch for these tips and strategies.
We discuss the concept of how we can use mindfulness to help manage our phone use, and the time we spend online. Sam recommends the Insight Timer app, which offers a wide range of meditations and affirmations that can be played while working while I myself recommend the meditations and sounds on MindValley which I use frequently to focus and block out all distractions. These apps are merely tools to help stay focused and avoid the distractions of social media and more. Sam highlights the power of mindfulness in redirecting our attention and bringing awareness to our habits.
However, I find it quite funny because using these apps requires our phones. Therefore, not all phone use is bad yet that’s the picture that is painted in the mainstream and by sections of society. As Sam said, it’s about using our phones and digital devices consciously and in a way that helps and adds value to our lives.
In our conversation, we explore the positive aspects of our phones and digital devices as they are many and they can enhance our lives when used consciously. Sam uses her phone to harness the power of music and how quickly and easily it is to access our favourite songs, which can have a powerful impact on our mood and mental state. Sam also values being able to capture and instantly share precious moments with family members who are located around the world through pictures, videos, and the ability to connect. The convenience and connection that smartphones provide, especially during times when face-to-face interactions are limited are precious. The key is being able to use them in conjunction with what it means to be human, and connecting on a deep level often in person, which I think is an ever-growing skill that we are to cultivate as the balance is out of wack!
We all know that there are negatives when it comes to our phones and digital devices. This is well documented, and Sam also highlighted the importance of maintaining control and not allowing our devices to dictate our lives. She compares our digital consumption to our physical consumption, pointing out that just as we are mindful of what we eat, we are also mindful of what we consume through our screens. Sam encourages us to question the impact of our digital consumption on our overall well-being and make intentional choices that align with our values and goals.
Throughout the conversation, Sam shares examples of pushback she has received when working with individuals who struggle to reduce phone use. One common pushback is the belief that the phone needs to be kept in the bedroom as an alarm clock. Sam challenges this belief by suggesting alternatives, such as using a separate alarm clock or placing the phone out of reach. She also addresses the pushback of many people not knowing what else to do with their time if they’re not on the phones. We discuss and Sam provides practical suggestions for activities that can replace phone use, such as reading, stretching, or engaging in hobbies. Ultimately, our lives are more than our phones and digital devices, and while they are a part of it life is to be lived and enjoyed and can be done so with this incredible technology that we have been given.
In summary, Sam shares how we can take back control of our digital devices. She offers strategies for reducing phone use, highlights the positive aspects of smartphones when used consciously, and encourages us to be mindful of our digital consumption. By implementing these strategies and being intentional with our phone use, we can create a healthier relationship with technology and live more fulfilling lives.