Firstly, you may well ask “What is phone hygiene?” Simple, it’s the way we keep our phone clean and ensure it improves our wellbeing rather than detracting from it. Most people never think of decluttering their phone. Imagine if you walked into your office and every drawer, cabinet and cupboard was open with contents strewed around the room. It would be a little overwhelming wouldn’t it.
So here are four simple ways to improve your phone hygiene and improve your wellbeing along the way:
Just like your office, your phone needs to be clean, simple and allow you to focus on what you need to do. Most people’s home screens make me feel stressed at the first glance and the number of app’s people have is just ridiculous. Go through your phone, get everything off the home screen, delete any app’s you haven’t used recently and group the ones you do. Make it easy to find what you need and organise your apps logically. Personally, I have a picture of a stand-up paddle boarder at sunrise on my screen, and it makes me feel calm and just a little inspired when I see it.
Turn off notifications
Get rid of as many notifications as you can. If you want to check emails, check them, you don’t need a notification to let you know you have another one. The reason this is so important, is that your brain finds it difficult enough to stay focused as it is. When you have things dinging, popping up or just that enticing little red circle over the app, your brain has the perfect excuse to shift focus. With the average adult attention span now reduced to 8 seconds, (yes, you’re correct, a goldfish with a 9 second attention span now outperforms the average human,) we simply cannot afford any more distractions.
Create boundaries around technology
Think of a family dinner with the TV on, one child watching an iPad, another listening to music on their phone, Mum checking text messages and Dad watching the news. Not terribly attractive is it? Yet, more and more, that’s becoming normal for Australian families. We have a ‘No Technology’ rule at our dining table and the kids impose it as much as I do. But to be honest, its been in place for years, and now it’s normalised. Interestingly, the kids often comment when we’re out about other people being rude and using technology over dinner.
Bed is for sleep (and perhaps a little romance…) so unless you’re using your phone to meditate, try leaving it in another room. If you do wake through the night, temptation to check emails, facebook or whatever it is that floats your boat, isn’t at your side. Come up with your own rules that work for you, maybe it’s no technology after 8pm, or leaving your phone in the car when you take the kids to a park. The more boundaries you create, the less your phone will rule your life.
Use phone etiquette
If you’re having a conversation with someone, regardless if it’s your daughter, friend or a client, put away your phone. If it needs to be on, explain that it’s there for emergencies, and if it rings, excuse yourself and leave the room. I’m stunned at how many people don’t follow this simple etiquette. Texting within meetings, taking calls when sitting with a group of friends, or ignoring the kids while scrolling through Facebook. In fact, there’s an abundance of research that indicates parents phone usage is damaging connection, decreasing resilience and leaving kids feeling like they are unimportant in their parents’ eyes. That’s certainly not how I want my kids to feel, so perhaps it’s time to make some changes. Here’s a great article on why Kids feel unimportant when you’re using your phone.
Best of luck cleaning up your phone and working on your phone hygiene. I’m looking forward to hearing how it goes.