This week I really, really felt drawn to working with our emotional landscape, neuroscience and relationship to technology and social media. This is because I have been trying really hard to limit my tech and social media use, and have found it to be tougher than I thought. So I’ll be sharing some science, thoughts and tools, to help us understand our relationship with tech and what we can do to shift it into a more healthy and inspiring way of life. Well, that’s my hope. Even a better understanding and a touch of regulation of our relationship with technology and social media will be moving in the right direction!
We are all aware that technology is a beautiful, whirling space of enjoyment, connection and learning. Simultaneously it’s degrading our emotional wellbeing, making our mind gritty and encouraging our ego’s to run wild. It’s at times both delightful and confusing. Sweet and bitter. And we are continuously wiring our brains in response to this use in unhealthy ways. So, what to do?
Today, check what your average screen time is on your phone per day. That’s ASIDE from your computer time, iPad time, TV time. Just check your phone use. Then check how many hours a week there are on that little device. The average is 3 hours and 15 minutes a day. That’s just over 23 hours a week. A WEEK. Then, after you are either astounded or rather proud of your use, spend the week monitoring your use with other devices; TV, laptop, desktop and iPad. Break into ‘actual work’ (be realistic, I frequently pretend I am ‘working’ but am just checking stuff) and ‘other things’ – that is whatever social stuff/checking stuff you’re doing.
Do you find the data shocking? Interesting? Obvious? Is this what you want out of your week? Adjust accordingly.
Also it can be helpful to set timers on your various app use (you can do this often within your actual phone settings). Move your apps around on your phone so they’re harder to find, and make you double check if you want to open them. Even just the awareness around your phone use will help rewire your responses to how you engage. And, finally ask yourself, how do I want to be spending my days? Staring at a little screen? Or engaging with the world around me.
As Annie Dillard so perfectly says, ‘How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing”.