My friends and I are having a lot of conversations these days about being fully in our lives. What does that look like? How can we be better? These sorts of conversations fuel me because I am a believer that change is always possible. As long as we are here, still standing on this earth, there is room for growth.
In the spirit of being more mindful of my time and where I invest my energy, I came up with ten ways to be more mindful when using our phones. This isn’t a battle cry to engage in all 10 ideas. These aren’t rules or restrictions. I simply hope it’s a conversation-starter and that one or two of these ideas might jump off the screen and into your life:
1. NO SCROLL POLICY.
Instead of passively scrolling through social media posts, decide to engage with the content. Like. Comment. Encourage. Be a part of what you are engaging in rather than scrolling to fill a void. You’ll feel fuller and healthier when walking away from the screen knowing you participated rather than spectated.
2. UTILIZE AIRPLANE MODE.
Throughout the workday, it’s tempting to log onto social media but it often kills productivity and causes you to be unfocused. Pick a time to consistently put your phone on airplane mode, whether it’s when you’re working, reading a book, or going for a walk. It’s amazing how much more you will notice by just looking up.
3. SOCIAL MEDIA-FREE MONDAY
Having a day to detox from social media can greatly improve your mood and push you towards a more productive week. A break from social media for a 24-hour period can fuel new creativity, better habits, and a more peaceful mind. I limit my social media on Mondays because I feel like that’s the day where there is pressure to get it all done. Wiping out the distractions helps me charge into the week with fire and determination.
There’s an unfollow button for a reason. Don’t be afraid to use it. Unfollowing accounts that make you feel inadequate or cause you to compare too much doesn’t mean you are against the person behind the account. We all deserve to be happy and healthy- clean up your feed to inspire growth instead of comparison.
5. USE A REAL ALARM CLOCK
This was a game-changer for me last year. I bought a classic alarm clock (one with a shrill ring) to avoid jumping on my phone first thing in the morning. Keeping the phone across the room while winding down before bed decreases anxiety and helps me sleep better.
6. ENCOURAGE THE ONE
The point of social media was always for connecting with others. What better way to connect than through the power of encouragement? Use the platforms you scroll through on a daily basis to seek out people who need encouragement. Let someone know you see them or remind them they’re killing the game. Sending one small note a day will change someone’s day and change your perspective on how powerful social media can be!
7. STORY-FREE WEEKENDS
It’s easy to get lost in the stories of others but don’t get so involved that you miss making your own stories with the people in your life. Be a participant in your own story by making a no-view policy on those stories throughout the weekend. You won’t be missing much, I promise. If you like to document your weekends then consider switching the challenge and vow not to view the stories of others for those three days. More time to be with the people you love and engage in their lives.
8. NO SCREENS BEFORE/AFTER 10AM/PM
Setting boundaries is a powerful way to take control of how you use social media. Reserving some screen-free time at the start or end of your day will help you be present, start your day right, and unwind. Adjust these hours how you see fit!
9. USE MOMENT FOR A MONTH
Download the app “Moment.” It will monitor your screen habits and tell you how much time you spend in different apps and how often you pick up your phone. Monitoring your phone-time for a month will help you determine if you need to spend some time away from the devices.
10. DOCUMENT THE REAL STUFF
Don’t be afraid to use your social media streams to be honest. People appreciate honesty and love to see the work-in-progress. Show us your sweat and tears in the new year. Use your slow progress and little victories to encourage others to keep going! I think it is easy to feel defeated when checking out the feeds of other people. Don’t be afraid to be a light and a breath of fresh air through your presence.
Hannah founded the global organization "More Love Letters" and co-founded "If You Find This Email".