I spend way too much time on my phone, and you probably do too.
“Most people check their phone every 15 minutes or less, even if they have no alerts or notifications,” Larry Rosen, psychology professor and author of The Distracted Mind, tells CNBC. “We’ve built up this layer of anxiety surrounding our use of technology, that if we don’t check in as often as we think we should, we’re missing out.”
Rosen’s research has shown that besides increasing anxiousness, the compulsion to check notifications and feeds interferes with people’s ability to focus.
It happens all the time: You’re working on something, but then you get a message, so you drop everything to respond. Then, because you’re already on your phone, might as well take a quick peek at Twitter, right? Oh, and maybe Instagram, too. Ping! An email arrives that you should try to deal with now. It’s easy to get so completely sidetracked and sucked in that you struggle to remember what exactly you were working on to begin with. You finally do and then, oh look, your friend just responded back to your text.
Besides the wasted time, there’s also the psychological grind that comes from spending too much time on your phone. There have been several studies on how social media can be bad for your mental health, and Facebook itself even admitted last year that passive use of its social network can leave people in negative moods. Researchers are still trying to figure out what long-term effects channeling so much time and energy into our devices will cause.
With the new year though, there’s a fresh opportunity to be more deliberate about how you use your phone. If you’re craving more concrete steps to tone down your usage than simply, “I’ll go on Facebook less,” or “I won’t check Snapchat during work,” here are some simple tips to help reprogram your behavior: