How often do you look at your phone?How often are you in the middle of doing something important when a buzz grabs your attention and you lose track of time. 30 minutes later you’re knee deep in your facebook feed and can’t remember what you were in the middle of?
If you’re like most of us, you jump at every buzz and ding coming from your device. In a recent poll taken by Time magazine, one in four people check their phone every 30 minutes. And 1 in 5 people every 10 minutes. Some days it’s a lot more than that.
With our daily lives becoming exponentially busier, it feels like most of us are just trying to stay one step ahead of our insane schedules. We can’t afford to be distracted! Frankly, our sanity is on the line. But, there’s hope. As ironic as it may sound, we believe that technology and a change of our daily habits can save us from our addiction to, well, technology. Here are a few of the habits, apps and devices that are helping us simplify our screen time:
Don’t bring your phone into your bedroom - A study by Harvard Medical School revealed the artificial blue light emitted from smartphones activates neurons in the brain, preventing us from feeling sleepy. Also, keeping devices in our sleeping environments not only affects our ability to fall asleep, but the quality of our sleep. If that’s not a reason to leave your phone outside the bedroom, I don’t know what is.
Create realistic email expectations - Add a note in your email signature that you don’t respond to emails after a certain time in the evenings. While many people assume this will anger their colleagues or boss, most people find it freeing, and can relax without the nagging worry that they are missing something important. Many people agree, most emails can wait until the morning.
Take a digital sabbath - The benefits of turning off your phone for one day a week can do wonders for your body. If that seems impossible, start by leaving your phone at home when you meet a friend for lunch or when you go on a family adventure.
Don’t put your phone on your desk/table - Leave your phone in your bag or out of sight when you’re working on a project. Too often we are distracted by unnecessary incoming messages and lose our flow of creativity or concentration. By keeping your phone off your desk during work, or off the table during dinner, you can stay present in the moment.
IFTTT - The ultimate simplification app, IFTTT can automate almost anything by creating triggers between the many apps and devices that you use every day. We could go on for days listing the hundreds of ways IFTTT simplifies your life. For us, we use it every time we find ourselves repeating the same tasks online over and over again.
Unroll.me - This fantastic web app automatically compiles all those annoying (but interesting) promotional emails into a single digest to save you on email time. Read them all in one sitting when you’re ready.
Calend.ly - Calendly saves us the hassle of emailing back and forth to schedule meetings. Set your availability and send your personal Calendly link to colleagues, clients, or your family. They choose an available time, and an event is added to your calendar. Their simple app keeps conversations from feeling too formal and helps you avoid playing phone or email tag to find the perfect meeting time.
Cozi - This one is for families and could be a life-saver for busy Moms/Dads. The app keeps everyone's activities and appointments all in one place, and is a place to organize and share other details like shopping lists and must-do chores.
Amazon Echo - The Amazon Echo is a voice activated speaker. It connects to the Alexa Voice Service, also by Amazon, and lets you play music, find news, sports scores, and weather. Their motto is: All you have to do is ask.
Saent - A pause button for your online life. The Saent is basically a big white button that connects to all your devices via Bluetooth. It helps you stay focused on your work by disabling apps that are most distracting. All you have to do is press on it and it will help keep you undistracted for the next 30, 50, or 90 minutes.
Mr. Coffee Smart Coffeemaker - You can have your morning coffee ready before you get out of bed. With this app, you can program the Mr. Coffee Smart Coffeemaker to brew coffee on any desired schedule, check the status of their coffee pot, and even turn off the coffeemaker.
Stone - This list wouldn’t be complete without including the Stone. We’re not just saying that because it’s our product. We created the Stone and the Honey to help people reconnect to the real world without losing the benefits that technology bring us. The Stone is a smart button device that can be attached to your keychain or stay in your pocket. It can be programmed to do hundreds of different tasks with the integration with IFTTT. It simplifies the tasks that keep you attached to your phone. We want our customers to automate their technology so they can get back to living their life.