Retrain Your Brain: How to Cut Down on Technology Usage

We all know how important and beneficial technology is to our everyday lives. It’s great for literally everything- grocery lists, talking with friends, photos, games, work, you name it. But with a tool that is so broadly used, it can be hard sometimes to figure out where your limits are. How much technology is too much?

Common side effects of too much technology can range from eyestrain, poor posture, isolation, lack of creativity, and even sleep problems. If you suffer from any of these, it could be that you use too much technology. Use these helpful tips to cut back on some of your screen time.

Limit your screen time

Many phones now have the option to view how much time you spend on it and on certain apps. Look closer at where a lot of your time is being spent and if you feel that it is justified. Maybe you spend an hour a day texting back and forth with family and friends. That time may be well spent to you, but the 45 minutes you spent scrolling through social media might be something worth cutting down on.

Many apps like Instagram and Facebook offer the option to set daily reminders for a time limit on the app. Simply decide how much time you would ideally like to spend on them daily and set the limit in your app settings. This is a great way to set boundaries for yourself and know when it’s time to log off. Mindlessly scrolling out of boredom and procrastination will no longer consume your cherished time.

Replace virtual entertainment with hands on hobbies

Don’t get me wrong- there is nothing wrong with using technology for entertainment. Games, movies, music, and online reading are all valid hobbies. But when it comes to trying to cut down your screen time, look into more hands-on hobbies.

Swapping out reading books on your phone for paperbacks is a great way to make a difference. If music is your forte, perhaps find a community concert or learn to play an instrument. If you play games to keep your brain sharp, try a puzzle or word search book.

Making these simple swaps can retrain your brain to keep your phone on the table when you get bored through out the day. By doing this, you may notice you feel more purposeful and well-balanced between work and life.

Make more time for friends and family

It’s easy to want to get on your phone during dinner or while out with friends. To prevent this, be more mindful of when you pick your phone up and why.

Save your dinner to spend time talking to your loved ones or reflecting on your day. If you prefer eating alone, this can double as a good time to journal and set goals for yourself.

If you’re out with friends, don’t worry so much about posting for social media or making sure you get the ‘perfect photo’. It’s a good idea to snap a quick picture while you’re out and post it during your allotted social media time later or even the next day. Doing this may help you to enjoy moments in your life more and strengthen the quality of time spent with your friends.

Finally, don’t live for convenience

The greatest benefit to technology is how convenient it is. This is, a lot of times, what causes people to overuse their cell phones. These changes may not be for everyone, or may feel like a step back in time, but can significantly lower the time you spend staring at your screen.

Carrying a notebook or journal with you wherever you go to write quick notes and grocery lists can take the place of using your phone. It’s great to use search engines and online GPS systems to get places, but when time allows, try learning to use a real map. Better yet, spend a fun day out in a new city trying to get from place to place with just the use of paper maps and locals. This can bring practicality back into your life and allow more ‘happy little accidents’ like meeting strangers and finding little local spots.

The takeaway

Technology is not a bad thing and there is no right or wrong way to use it. By staying in touch with your mind and body, notice in what ways it affects you by being on it throughout the week. Spend some time tracking how long you’re on a phone or computer and set goals for yourself and what you’d like to change.

All in all, technology has made an exciting integration into everyday life, but it is never too late to set your own boundaries.

By Meagan Brown, TDS Communications Intern

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