Everyone has a bit of a technology addiction, right? Whether you’re an Instagram scroller, a Netflix binger, a serious gamer, a news-acholic, a FOMO texter, or just a notification checker, there is a flavour of technology addiction for everyone.
You may not even think that you are an addict, simply because your partner/friend/neighbor/colleague is far worse than you – but have a think just how much time you are wasting (even if you’re enjoying it) by being glued to your screen. If that time isn’t all spent benefitting you personally, or it is becoming detrimental to your life in some way, then it’s time to address it.
Check out these ways you can help yourself curb that tech compulsion.
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Set some tech before bed rules
One way that a lot of us trip up in our tech addiction is by spending time with our phones or the TV/laptop right before falling asleep. By getting in an internet hole researching a subject, or saying “just one more episode” you end up staying up later than you should and feeling rubbish the next day.
Instead, set aside some time before bed when it’s technology hard off. It’s best to do this an hour or more before you intend to fall asleep. Switching off your technology (but still setting an alarm if you usually use a phone alarm), is the best way to ensure you don’t get distracted.
Keep track of your time wasted
By seeing how much time you are wasting with a given technology sink hole – start tracking your time with something like Toggl (this can be used for any activity, not just a tech one). This time tracking, if you are doing long stints at a time can be very handy to see just how much time you are spending – as you may not know.
If you are spending little bits over your day in one or many apps, it’s better to get an app that shows you how much time you spend on your phone overall, and which apps you are spending the most time in.
You can check out, for instance, StayFree on Android, which automatically gives you all these stats. By getting a clear overview of your activities, you’re more likely to adjust your behavior accordingly.
Try Toggl, you won’t be disappointed
Remove distractions at work
Do you find yourself constantly checking your phone or being distracted by various things on the web while you’re at work? Unless you actually have no work to do, then this is a bad habit to get into, which can wind up with you being reprimanded or fired.
Instead, take the temptation away, put your phone somewhere else or turn it off. Set up website blockers for sites that you visit between certain working hours. Only access your vices during break time – you’ll see the effects of the increased work output in no time once you get back into the groove.
Delete time-wasting apps
Notice that you are spending way too much of your day looking at memes, TikTok videos, new things to buy…? Think about how much time you are probably spending in each app.
If one or more of them is a serious time sucker, with little to no personal benefit other than a smile or thinking ‘wow, that’s interesting/cool,’ then it’s time to delete it from your life – at least for a bit.
You can usually access most time-sucker apps through the browser, however, it’s usually not as rewarding an experience, so you’ll likely cut down. Just don’t head straight on over from Instagram to Snapchat.
For the gamers
For gamers, whether it’s via PC gaming or mobile gaming, addiction can quickly take hold. Just ask all the mothers out there still playing Candy Crush or a play money (or real money) casino app, or the guys at school with bloodshot eyes because they’ve been up all night playing Counterstrike.
These games are dangerous because they are serious time sinks, but they can also be dangerous because of the temptation to do many microtransactions to help level up.
If you are playing real money casino apps then there is a legitimate concern that technology addiction could turn into something more serious. Don’t let your technology addiction become a gambling addiction. Follow some simple rules to keep you out of trouble.
Use apps and/or settings to control your time wasting
There is a whole swag of apps, browser extensions, and device settings that can help control your addiction. Simple things you can do include setting multiple timers on your phone (that first one that you’ll ignore, that second one that you might listen to!) or putting your phone on silent (and without vibrate).
Apps you can use include Cold Turkey, which locks you out of apps, websites, or even your device for a given time period and Forest – which grows trees the longer you keep away from distractions! Browser extensions include DistractOff and StayFocusd for Chrome, or you can find similar extensions in other browser stores.