Your phone; it’s both equally empowering and debilitating at the same time. There have been several times over the last couple of years, where I’ve refreshed my email app only  to say, “Darn it, I shouldn’t have done that.”  I now had a new distraction and stressor in my off time that I didn’t need to give mental space to. Now instead of spending time with my kids, I’m thinking about an email.

Disconnecting is tough. Your phone and CPU give you the freedom to stay connected to friends, access to immediate news and an outlet to forget about those stressful emails. Have you ever stopped working on your computer and pick up your phone to check what’s going on? It’s a tough habit to break!

It’s imperative that you do disconnect to maintain healthy stress levels, balance, and margin in your life. 

Realize that you are connected more than you think. 

Apple recently added a screen time widget to their phones that tell you how long you are spending on the phone a day and in what general way. This was a wake-up call to many people because they didn’t realize how long they were on them every day. I certainly found it…… enlightening when I first saw it. 

Just as we overevaluate how much time we spend with people recognition and face-to-face communication, we undervalue the time we spend on our devices and staying connected to the digital world. 

Regain your margin

Forbes recently wrote an article about successful leaders and how they spent their weekend. The most important piece that they identified was the ability to disconnect on the weekends. While some acknowledged that wasn’t feasible to stay without their phone and email, they set up specific times to check in and then let it go. They are usually short amounts of time and are usually only once a day. The article gives the example of checking it on a Saturday afternoon while the kids are getting a haircut and Sunday night after dinner. 

The important piece to take away is boundaries. If you set a block of time to check, then commit to not hitting it longer than planned. Here are some other tips to help you disconnect.

  • Establish device-free times and places with your family.
  • Have a conversation with your boss or employees on boundaries if needed. 
  • Give yourself a goal of lowering your screen time on your phone. 
  • Do some activities that require you to disconnect. (short adventures, hobbies, etc)
  • Delete apps and take a break from ones that pull a significant amount of time. 
  • Avoid charging your phone on your nightstand when you sleep. 

Consequences and benefits

There are a multitude of studies out there that detail the consequences of always being plugged in. Physical conditions include back/neck pain, text claw, phantom phone vibrations. Other ailments include depression and lack of purpose.  Who knew your phone was actually doing physical harm to you? 

There are a number of benefits to disconnecting including lower stress levels, a higher sense of purpose and better personal relationships. It also increases your energy, engagement and retention levels. 

Commit to disconnecting a little bit and continue to grow that time in your weekly routine. Your mind and body will thank you. 

Make a better tomorrow.