I have recently been reading and taking part in Catherine Price's book "How to Break Up With Your Phone - The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life" for the past while. It has been an inspiring and motivating way to learn how to better organise my phone (and myself!) and to really start a new and more fulfilling relationship with my phone.
You may think that this is a really strange topic for a social media manager to be talking about. But actually we are some of the best people to talk to about how to use your phone wisely and to not waste time on it. We know smart phones and apps inside out because well, we have to. Here is what I have learnt from the book plus some tips:
The premise of this book is that it talks about how for the first time in history a group of white, young men in San Francisco working at three companies (guess which ones) have so much impact on millions of people and how we spend our time.
The product designers often use manipulation techniques (like the 'like' button, which I will talk more about further in this blog) to figuratively and literally push our buttons over and over. The point is, we should be using these apps because we have made a conscious choice to, not because of manipulation.
Can you remember the last time you got caught scrolling over and over and lost track of time? That is NOT what we are going for.
The 'like' button is likened to reliving the worst parts of high school, being constantly rated and compared to others. Remember that?
And another interesting thing that the book brings up is that a lot of us are actually losing our capacity for deep thought due to contact smart phone use. And the book offers techniques to get this back, and to increase our attention spans again, and basically take our lives back.
There are good and bad things that have come out of this book for me. It suggests rearranging your phone in certain ways so 'junk food' apps such as browsers, and entertainment apps (think Netflix, games and other attention stealing apps) are on the second or third screen. I found this ineffective as often my phone is left on the second screen when I switch it off, so there wasn't much point to that.
But I do suggest changing your lock screen to an inspirational message. The book suggests simply ' What do you want to focus on?'
I guess you really have to be completely addicted to your phone - looking at it at social occasions instead of talking to people, and spending an hour before bed using it so it messes with your sleep patterns, before you can really get something out of this book.
And some of the mindfulness techniques are really quite great.
On day three of the '30 day break up' the book suggests start noticing your phone use more. How does it make you feel before and after you use it? Notice your emotional state. When do you pick up your phone the most?
Here are my own tips for mindful social media use - see more by reading my previous blog "Got Social? Well Get Mindful About it".
Try not to over analyze
When we get a message on social, often we over-analyze what the other person is saying. Often we can make up stories in our heads which lead to imaginary outcomes. Be mindful that it is just that. An imaginary outcome.
We are all searching for the next bit of gratification when it comes to social media. We want more likes, more follows, more friends and we want them now! Think of this: all things come and all things go.
When you get in this mindset, take a step back and pause. Realize what you are doing and be able to smile at yourself.
Forgo the 'like' button and actually comment.
I remember before the like button on Facebook myself and my friends would have a lot of deep conversations that lasted for days about posts. Try bypassing the 'like' button and comment on every post that sparks your interest!
Think about your intention before you interact.
Before you pick up your phone, think, what am I trying to achieve?
Maybe its to look up whats trending on twitter
Maybe its to look at the first 10 images on your Instagram feed and properly take in what you see. Try not to get distracted.
So in conclusion, social media was meant to be a place for networking and to reach out to people and make meaningful connections. Make it so. If you catch yourself scrolling, and not interracting at all, NOTICE IT and stop it. But be kind to yourself.
See you next time