using phone mindfully
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Do you unlock your phone even when you don’t need it?

While you are using your phone out of habit, you are missing out on a lot of small details around you.

Mindfulness

Do

Actions to take

  • Use wellbeing features on your phone
  • Ask yourself, why you want to use the phone?

Remember

Expanded perspective

As humans, it is very difficult for us to not do anything at all. Even the tasks that don’t require much of our mental energy like eating or standing in line waiting for the coffee we ordered put us in a zone of uncomfortable emptiness.

We live in an age where we are almost, every time connected to information which is just a few taps away. This connectivity makes it difficult to resist the temptation to check in on what is happening on the other side of the world. Even though we might not really care about it, but it is more interesting than waiting and doing nothing.

Checking your phone quickly is an instant fix for filling in for the boredom you are facing at the moment, but one should get used to it. Boredom could be good – it could inspire new ideas and help you clear out of your head the worrying thoughts that are left unaddressed. There are a lot of things that you can observe in your surroundings and can learn from.

You are missing out on observing beautiful moments.

What are you missing out on?

While you are waiting on the line and checking your phone you are missing out on the kid across the hall sharing her burger with a cat. There are so many small moments happening around us that we don’t even pay attention to and they are just missed. Observing these moments might not seem very important, but observing these small details around us helps us learn new things about being social.

We are social beings and we learn by observing others. Paying attention to small moments around you might help you understand certain emotions and feelings. While observing others is fine, but don’t overdo it to an extent that it becomes creepy.

Paying attention to the things happening around you might also open opportunities to connect with new people or help someone in need. If you keep yourself busy with your phone, you are missing out on these connections in your physical surroundings.

Setting an intention

Talk to yourself and decide what is the purpose of using a phone. Are you using your phone to connect with your family and friends or is it your productivity device or it is all about work for you? I am not saying that you have to use the phone for just one purpose, but instead knowing the purpose of the tool prevents you from misusing it or overusing it when not needed.

Set an intention and make sure you are limiting your usage. If you haven’t already spent some time to organize the apps on your phone, take some time out and move all the apps you use to your home screen. Once you have all the frequently used apps in one place, make a call, do you need every single app here? If the answer is NO, try clearing it up by moving some of the apps out of the home screen. This is a good time to move the apps you want to use often, but haven’t been using enough to the home screen. If you still have too many apps, move some of the apps into folders, the apps which are not high on priority.

You don’t have to stick to this for long, you can always play around with rearranging, removing and adding apps when needed. It will help you be mindful of the usage of your phone and also keep a check on the apps you are using too much.

Monitoring your usage

You can use some of the built-in apps or any third-party app to monitor your daily or weekly usage. Once you have a report for a few weeks or days you can have a look and decide what you can cut down and save some hours in your day. 

You can also play around with setting usage limits for certain apps that are taking up a lot of your time. The important thing is to use this data to stay intentional about your usage of the phone.

The data might surprise you and things might seem difficult to control. Yes, it can be uncomfortable to limit your usage, but it is not difficult and with limited usage, you will be able to add some extra hours to your day.

Take away

A phone is a tool and it should be used as one, which means you should be using it when you need it. Our impulsive desire to keep our mind occupied pulls us into undesirable patterns which can hamper our overall well-being. But this doesn’t mean that we can’t take control of the usage of our phone. 

Having control over the usage of your phone will ensure that you start valuing your time and there will be plenty of time that you can allot for doing other things. Being mindful is easy and it starts with being intentional about the usage of the tools you have.

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