Don’t sleep with your smartphone and 9 other ways to rule your technology (and not let it rule you)

too much technology
That’s the longest post title ever.  And yes, that’s a pretty typical workstation set up for me in that photo.  ALL THE DEVICES!

Listen here, this post is actually me preaching to myself.  I’m not good at any of this stuff. At all.  I’m the worst.  So let’s you and me work on this whole thing where technology is a part of our life and makes our life better, but where we don’t turn into robot people via our personal electronic devices/appendages.

1) Don’t bring your electronics to bed
I love being on my tablet in bed. And that’s all well and good until I’ve created a bed workstation with every single device sitting around me.  Look, your bed is for sleeping not for email, and if you keep giving yourself screenface before bed your sleep patterns are going to get worse.  Put your electronics on the nightstand at least, but don’t sleep with your smartphone.

2) Make your bed before you get on your device
Every morning I tell myself, “don’t pick up your phone, don’t pick up your phone, don’t do it, DON’T! DON’T…DO-… you did it.” and I pull my phone into bed with me and immediately start web browsing.  And that starts me on a day of constantly checking all my feeds and what not, and oh my gosh it’s not THAT important.  Get out of bed, go to the bathroom, get dressed, make your bed, and THEN check your phone.  No one will die if you put it off for twenty minutes.

3) Act like it’s a crossword puzzle
Wondering if it’s cool to mess with your smartphone while hanging out with a friend?  Would you pull out a crossword puzzle and start working on it in this situation?  No?  Then nope, keep your phone in your bag.

4) Use one device at a time
Using multiple devices is not multi-tasking… it’s just multi-consumption.  I suppose there are plenty of situations where using multiple devices is useful, but whenever you can just use one device at a time, especially when you feel yourself veering into technoverwhelm (I’m working on trademarking that term, it is so a thing).

5) Look up every 20 minutes at least
If you have to have screenface (another term I need to trademark, I just mean staring at a screen and that feeling you get when you do that) for work, then try and look up and away from the screen at least every 20 minutes. If you can also walk around to really completely get away from the screen, that would be great too.

6) Have things to do that aren’t tech
Not everything has to happen on the internet or a mobile device. Pick up a magazine, an actual book, make something with your hands, exercise without your phone, cook something, take a walk, draw a picture on paper, whatever. Remind yourself of the things you can do without a computer or the internet.  If you find yourself getting online when you’re bored do one of those other things instead.

7) Avoid techno rage
Like road rage, techno rage is a thing.  And if you let yourself get really angry with technology (which is not that hard to do) and let it ruin your day, that means your tech is ruling you.  Rule it.  Recognize that technology can be frustrating, take a deep breath, count to ten, maybe walk away and come back later. You can get along in spite of technical difficulties.

8) Turn off notifications (at night at least)
Turn off notifications at night when you should be sleeping.  Put it on silent, set your phone to not push notifications during certain hours, whatever, don’t let technology control when you get your rest.

9) Silent mode
If you find yourself immediately leaping to respond to every single notification that dings on your phone or computer, it’s controlling you.  If you need to get stuff done, or are tired of a computer telling you what to do, then put it on silent.

10) Don’t answer email or text during certain hours
It’s ok to refuse to answer emails or texts during certain hours. 10 years ago that was completely normal, and it can still be normal now.  You get to say when you communicate, you don’t have to do it whenever your computer or phone dings at you.

Do you rule your technology?  Or does it rule you?  Any tips I missed?

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