I woke up one morning with a little itchiness in my eyes. I felt profound tiredness the first thing in the morning. Looked in the mirror. My eyes were bloodshot. But wait for a second, I didn’t think I was involved in too strenuous an activity the day before.
I rubbed my eyes a little. Not in disbelief but in search of relief.
Stared into my phone for what I thought were all the in-between moments.
I picked up the phone several times in the day to address colleagues and clients.
Went back to the laptop screen where most of the day was spent.
I realized that if I wasn’t looking at my phone, I was certainly looking at my laptop.
I did some snooping, ironically, on the phone again. There was always an option in the settings tab which spoke of ‘Wellbeing’. Deep dive.
It showed my screen time on various apps, the total number of unlocks in the day and total screen time in the day.
The numbers were, in all honesty, alarming.
I was averaging 110 unlocks a day. Nearly 3 hours of screen-time a day. About 1.5 hours of the day on Instagram alone.
I took a screenshot and sent it to a friend of mine, secretly hoping to have scored a lower number than he did.
Lo and behold! He had identical times of unlocks but much higher screen-time. Suggesting that he spent much longer on each app while on the phone.
His comeback was predictable, but I heard him out anyway. He said a lot of his work is dependent on the phone. I said so was mine. I had to monitor a lot of platforms and since the phone and laptop are connected, I get to see a lot of my alerts on the phone.
That brings me to the point that if the alerts were turning up on the phone, why was I unlocking it, clearing the notification there and then addressing the alert on the laptop.
Now comes the self-administered digital intervention.
I limited my total screen time on the phone to 90 minutes in the day. Be it work or play or anything. 90 minutes is all I was going to get.
Instagram was limited to 30 minutes in the day.
I didn’t want to cheat and use the desktop versions of apps instead of the phone.
Any work alert was addressed immediately on the laptop and notifications on the phone were cleared altogether at the end of the day.
Unless it is a real emergency, we don’t need to pick up the phone every 10 seconds.
Imagine this, at 110 times in the day, with a total of 16 waking hours, I was averaging about 7 unlocks an hour.
Ending this post some tips that can be of help to you as well!
- Get yourself eye-drops.
- Keep the phone and all screens away.
- Stare into nothingness.
- Listen to passing traffic, people and maybe the birds. The real world is not so bad.
- Close your eyes from time to time and breathe. Meditation is not necessarily accompanied by an ‘Asana’ and scented candles