It’s no secret that technology can be a useful ally in the battle against chaos.
As a tech entrepreneur and biohacker I am clearly in favour of technology, but technology used responsibly doesn’t just apply to science fiction and robotics. The new dawn of the smartwatch has ushered in a new era of hyper-connectivity and brought the term “wearables” with it to a whole new level.
Wearables also bring awesome new biofeedback opportunities with sensors and apps dedicated to monitoring some of your body’s essential processes. Never before in human history have we had access to this much relevant data, and much of the real value to these pieces of technology has yet to be seen.
While all of that is great, and while I’m all about biohacking and self-quantification, this level of connectivity comes at a price: Dependence. Think about it: might you be in a codependent relationship with your smartphone?
Baylor University released a study last year showing that approximately 60 percent of college students admit they might be addicted to their cell phone! That’s a startling statistic from a generation that only knows a life with mobile data access. The good news is, none of us are bound to a lifelong contract to our cellphones.
If you’re tired of phantom vibrations (seriously, Phantom vibration syndrome is a thing), here are my top five strategies that can help you break the chains of your smartphone struggle…
1. Go All In (well, technically, all out)
Want to take the plunge for real? Get rid of your smartphone entirely.
Bring it back to the basics and see the world through the lens (pun intended) of a flip phone for 30 days or more. Maybe you’ll realise life really is better on the other side! Taking the smartphone out of the equation will bring into view how dependent we are on our devices.
Some conveniences you’ll really miss, others you’ll feel freed from. By bringing it back to the basics you now have the opportunity to choose which applications and social networks you really want to spend your time interacting with.
2. Seeing is Believing
For those who like to scale back in moderation, there are some great tools available to help you become more aware of your usage and daily mobile interactions.
BreakFree is an app that’s designed to help you get to the root of the problem by monitoring your apps and usage, then guiding you through the process of breaking your worst digital habits.
By consolidating the data into actionable information you can easily identify the areas of your digital life that need the most scaling back.
Pavlok is another awesome new biohacking device designed to help you break any bad habit – or start any great new habit – by rewiring your behaviour to gradually and permanently change it over time.
3. Track Your Sleep To Improve It
There are apps such as Sleep Cycle and Sleep Tracker that track your sleep quality based on how much you move during the night. These apps will help you discover what works – and what doesn’t – so you can optimise your sleep patterns.
With an integrated alarm that wakes you up in your lightest phase of sleep, you’ll feel more refreshed and start your day in a better mood than playing roulette with your old, “dumb” alarm app.
4. Observe and Report
As you begin to dial back your daily face time with your phone, you will have inevitably freed up some time to do other things.
Now what? My recommendation: Do nothing. By that, find peace in that silence and learn to meditate. Just 15 minutes a day can change your life and you will begin to observe how radically your world is changing without phone-in-hand. You’ll get more done. Talk to your friends more. Be more productive.
5. Life After iDivorce
Life after smartphone separation sounds like a good one, indeed. The benefits of separating your existence from that of your social networks, emails, to-do lists, games and websites are astounding.
Simply removing them from your pocket and making a conscious choice to interact with them is all it takes to hack your smartphone addiction and improve your happiness and quality of life.
While I haven’t fully made the plunge, I do set aside days and hours to do just this: get off my phone and stay off my phone for big chunks of time. You’ll feel amazing and upgrade your performance and productivity, too. Sometimes, the best hacks are the simplest ones.