Do you want to know how to be present in the 21st century? How to stop checking your phone every minute. How to not be constantly scrolling through photos and videos and tweets and updates? How to have a conversation with a group of friends without someone constantly looking down, constantly taking a photo, constantly interrupting the chat to show you a photo or a meme or a video or a tweet?
Today I’d like to share the secret to being present.
PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY!
OK, thanks. Bye.
Only joking. I was going to leave it at that. Because, really, we all know it’s that simple. Just put your phone away and stop checking it and viola, you’re present! You’re not being distracted and you can actually enjoy what you’re doing and take part in a conversation and look at what’s around you, not just burying your head in your phone. You never know, you might see something interesting or meet someone new!
But it’s not that simple because it is the 21st century and we are all addicted to our phones and social media and checking your phone is an instinct.
Apparently, the next iPhone iOS 12 update will have special functions to help with phone addiction. The update will include Activity Reports and a Screen Time feature which tells users how much time they spend on their phone. This could be interesting/terrifying!
It might surprise a lot of you that I don’t actually spend that much time on my phone. As a blogger, I’m inundated with messages and notifications, emails, comments and likes. I love it but it but responding to all of this could easily take up my entire day. And sometimes it does. I do have some days where all I’ll do is answer messages! Not only that but it often makes me feel anxious and under pressure to constantly be available, and there are also a lot of days where I actually need to get stuff done or I just want to enjoy some time with friends and family and the boys without getting distracted.
It’s because of this that I’ve learnt to not use my phone much. When I’m out and about, I put my phone in my bag and I only get it out if it rings.
Travel Hack Tip: I also take all my photos on my ‘proper camera’ rather than my phone. I do this because my camera photos are always so much better but also because I take photos all the time and when I’m taking photos on my phone, it means I’m always checking my phone!
Today I actually do have a real way to cut down on your screentime and be present. I’m not going to suggest deleting all your social media accounts and revert back to telegrams to get in touch with people. This is a real tip that has helped me so much.
Here it is.
Buy yourself a basic Kindle Fire.
I bought both my boys Kindles for Christmas because they’re great for keeping kids entertained while travelling – and they only cost me £30 at the time! George loves his but Joseph has barely looked at his since Christmas Day – I think it’s a combination of him being a bit too young but also that he’s not the kind of kid to sit still for more than 0.4 seconds so he’s not interested in watching anything. I’ve adopted Joseph’s Kindle as my own and installed all my social media apps on it and I love it.
I use it just like I used my phone, only less. Something about pulling a great big Kindle out of my bag feels weird so I don’t find myself constantly getting it out and mindlessly scrolling like I do on my phone. It also doesn’t have 4G so I only use it when I’m at home on the wifi. And I’ve got to admit, it’s also pretty slow in comparison to my phone, so when I feel myself getting frustrated as I wait for something to load, I know it’s because I don’t really want to look at it and I end up putting the Kindle away.
I don’t feel like I’m missing out because I do still login to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – I just don’t do it eleventy billion times a day. I usually use it for half an hour each evening – usually once the kids have gone to bed and I’m sitting down to relax for the evening.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with social media and I love the way you can keep up with your friends and family and people you admire or want to follow so easily. Social media is awesome – it’s just way too easy to get sucked in and waste so much time mindlessly scrolling. Scrolling without thinking and without reading. Just scrolling to pass the time or to distract ourselves from something more important. Or scrolling because we feel uncomfortable and want to hide behind our screens rather than look up and face what’s around us.
So if you’re finding yourself mindlessly scrolling too much, maybe get yourself a Kindle Fire and swap mindless scrolling for mindful screentime and set yourself specific times when you use it.