Living Present in a Digital World

Have you ever checked to see how many times you pick up your phone per day? Or how many hours you spend using your phone? Have you ever panicked when you didn’t know where your phone was? As a millennial who grew up with technology, I know how easy it is to get caught up in the digital world of social media, instantaneous news and new shows on Netflix (or Disney +). However, these distractions can put a hinder on living in the present moment and productivity. 

Here are some ways to decrease distractions and increase productivity: 

  1. Flora – It’s a free app designed to help “stay focused together.” In the app, you set a timer and once the timer starts, a seed is shown that slowly grows into a plant. This helps resist the urge of phone usage and block off time to maximize productivity. In addition, you can create a room to challenge yourself and friends to stay focused together. There’s also an option to be charged if you use your phone during a blocked off time. However, if you check your phone in this option, the proceeds go to plant real trees in rural communities. 
  2. Resist scrolling through social media at events. It’s easy to pick up the phone when bored or not talking to anyone. Instead, take this as an opportunity to learn something new about someone. 
  3. Pick up the phone and have a conversation. Although texting is convenient, it has the potential to miscommunicate a message because of the lack of non-verbal communication.
  4. Put your phone on “do not disturb” and check your phone on your time, rather whenever a notification comes in. 
  5. Set limits on certain apps to reduce usage. I personally set Instagram for one-hour usage and try to stick to that every day. 
  6. Create a habit to cut off screen time 30-60 minutes before going to bed. The body creates melatonin, the sleep hormone, that can be suppressed by blue light. Blue light mimics daylight, keeping the body awake past bedtime. A way to avoid this is to invest in blue light glasses. If you have prescription glasses, blue light might be already built in. However, for those who don’t need glasses, there are several brands, like Pixel Eyewear, that offer non-prescription blue light glasses at an affordable rate. 
  7. Challenge yourself to a social media detox fast. I have a friend who took a year off social media. She missed it at first but after a while, found it refreshing to not hear her phone go off frequently. She used her time to read more books, spend uninterrupted time with God, and signed-up for boxing classes. When she finished her challenge, she downloaded social media apps, but only uses them when necessary. 
  8. Create a habit to not check your phone when you first wake up. Instead, take this time to journal, read a book, or be in your thoughts and enjoy the quietness before the day starts. 

I challenge you to try out these suggestions for yourself. These are some things that I actually implement into my own life and found helpful to live more in the present.

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