Several days before the New Year began, I had decided to make a trip to the antique store and to buy a usual vintage alarm clock. Don't think that I bought this type of clock just to decorate my apartment and make it look more stylish. This purchase was made to start the accomplishment of my 2018 year plan: to start and finish my days without looking on the screen.
Is It a Big Deal?
According to the research made by psychologists from Great Britain, young adults spend approximately 5 hours a day using their phone, which equals 1/3 of the time being awake. That amount of time is twice as big as the people reported themselves.
I have to confess that I spend a big amount of time on my social media accounts. I cannot even guess how many hours a day it is, but it is really too much.
Does That Make Us Happier?
Definitely, it does not. One can admit that checking social media accounts is a pretty enjoyable thing for the first couple of minutes, but in the end one doesn't feel happy at all.
There's a wonderful TED talk by Adam Alter that raises this important issue. He claims that our phones make us less happy. All those entertaining apps, social media, game apps and just scrolling the news online take a big part of our daily amount of happiness from us.
Of course, it's no use in reiterating all the negative effects media have. What is worth mentioning is the fact that we spend on these 'unhappy' apps the amount of time that is three times longer than we spend on reading, education or exercise apps.
What's Wrong with Us?
Adam Alter argues that we spend so much time using these apps because there are no stopping cues on them.
What Is a Stopping Cue?
It is a cue that gives a signal that we should stop doing that particular thing and move on to something else. According to Alter, today's technologies make the news available and ready-to-read in one click. That's why we don't even pay attention to our natural stopping signals. The news just jump out on you and you find yourself scrolling down the screen before you know it.
This is mind-blowing. Do you pay attention to any stopping cues yourself? For me such a cue is the old-school clock. It is the only thing that can make me put my phone away during my bedtime.
Frankly speaking, at first it was really difficult to get rid of my phone completely. The fact is that you depend on your phone.
Every night, before you fall asleep, you take your phone and start chatting with your friends via Messenger, checking on your Tumblr or Instagram accounts, watching videos on YouTube, listening to the music on Spotify and on and on, until black dark.
Put Your Phone Aside!
You will start doing completely another type of things. Reading new books, doing knitting or else. Everyone has his or her own list of activities they never have time to do because of constant scrolling.
One day when I put my phone aside I was pretty surprised by the fact that I felt sleepier and calmer after the long day. It was for the first time in a long period that I fell asleep without touching my phone. I woke up pretty relaxed and started my day without any social media checking.
Of course, I didn't get rid of the desire to touch my phone, but I just left it in the kitchen to focus on my plan for the day.
I have spent only several days this way so far and I am going to stick to my decision. The old-fashioned alarm clock became a stopping cue for me. What stopping cue do you have?