What is your relationship with technology? Does it run your life or do you use it as a tool to help improve yourself? For me, one of the biggest struggles in this day and age is taking a step away from my phone. We live in a hyper-connected world and you can feel like you will miss something if you do not respond to every notification instantly. However, the real problem is that we are not paying attention to what is right in front of our faces and we are missing out on what is happening in our real lives. We aren’t present in our relationships if we are always checking social media or texting others. We don’t take the time for a deep dive into workflow as we easily get sucked into the rabbit hole of youtube and Facebook videos. Our work and intimate relationships can be seriously affected by our attachment to our devices and apps.

I’ll be honest, these are all problems I struggle with so I decided I needed to set a few boundaries with my phone. Below are three techniques I use to get away from my phone and be more present.

1. Put your phone on grayscale

This might not sound like a big deal but the colors on your phone are very enticing. When we gray out the screen our brains have less of a desire to constantly check our notifications. Trust me, Instagram is a lot less fun when it’s all black and white.

To turn on grayscale, open the settings app on your iPhone, tap general, select accessibility>display accommodations> turn on color filters and select grayscale.

Side note from Amy: You can also make this a triple click shortcut by going to accessibility>Accessibility Shortcut> and select “Color Filters”. So when you triple-click on your home button, it switches to grayscale. I’ll do this when I need to see colors on my phone, i.e., posting for my personal and business Instagram pages. *Honestly unsure of how to do that option with an iPhone10…

2. Turn off all notifications except text messages

If we allow Facebook, Instagram, and other apps to notify us whenever there is any activity, it will interrupt us and take away from the important tasks at hand. These companies have teams of employees whose job is to invent new notifications. They want you checking their apps at all hours and do not care about how you are using your time.

It was especially powerful for me to turn off email notifications. There is always going to be email and if I notice the indicator on my phone, I will be compelled to get my inbox to zero. I leave notifications for text messages because I realize these can be urgent and important items that need my attention.

3. Put your phone away when you are with others

This is probably the hardest one for me to keep up with on a regular basis. When we are with friends and loved ones or really anyone for that matter, we need to be present and give them our full attention. There is no reason for us to be scrolling on Instagram or Facebook while we have an actual human being in front of us. We need to have one on one conversations and listen to the other person. Your phone is a distraction and will degrade your relationships. Show the other person you actually care about what they say and are interested in their day. Simply being present to the people right in front of you makes them feel valued and heard.

To Sum it Up

As a society, we need to take a step back from technology on occasion. Technology provides many positive benefits but we cannot allow it to control us. We must learn to control it. For me, it starts with putting my phone away and not allowing notifications to pull me in. Remember, tech companies have scores of brilliant people trying to keep us engaged at all times. We must learn ways to combat them. While I find the above steps beneficial in the battle with my phone, this is just a start to becoming more present in our daily lives.

Amy’s favorite apps/hacks/books to disconnect from technology and devices:

  • “Unplugged” app-Basically you set a timer and once you set your phone into airplane mode it doesn’t let you get onto your phone until the timer is up. You CAN access but it just causes you to make the active choice to stop the timer you have set. Simply turning my phone on “airplane mode” sometimes does the trick but the app is another step.
  • “Self Control”-add this app to your computer and you can “blacklist” websites. It won’t let you access them for up to 24 hours. So if you have a wandering eye while working, you can create a simple way to block yourself from netflix, Facebook, etc..
  • “killnewsfeed”-If you use Chrome, add this to your browser so that your newsfeed is removed from your facebook. I’ve had mine this way for over a year and it works great for me. I can still post on FB for my businesses but I don’t get sucked into political drama, cat pictures, or weird baby announcements #sorryyall #notthereyet.

About the Author

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Taylor Somerville worked in the investment business for over 15 years. Last year he decided to transition his career to focus full time on health and fitness to help others become the best version of themselves. In addition to the XPT coach’s certification training, he has attended two XPT experience, one in Malibu and one in Kauai. Taylor also enjoys competing in endurance events and completed the World’s Toughest Mudder, a 24-hour race around Lake Las Vegas in November 2017. He believes that fitness is a lifestyle and should play a role in developing the whole person. Taylor’s practice is based in Memphis, TN and is focused on working with professionals on breath work and developing a more holistic approach to their training. He enjoys learning all he can on mental, physical, and spiritual well-being and writes about this in his weekly newsletter, The Long Game.

Originally published at truecorehealth.com