Just because I work in digital marketing and want people’s attention online, doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not aware of the long-term damage we all spend on our phones, checking into Facebook on average 50 minutes a day, shopping for things we don’t need on Amazon, using a tablet to entertain a child. It’s the world we live in, and most recently there is a significant shift in how we behave and how much time we dedicate to being connected. I think we all have to make a conscious effort to decide how healthy that relationship will be for ourselves and our families.
It may seem controversial or even hypocritical, but as a digital advertiser and marketing provider, I feel there is a moral obligation to offset the work we do, so I’ve begun looking at addressing this and considering educational workshops and classes for workplaces, industry professionals or parents who want to reset and be digitally smarter. We’ll be working on this over the next few months and would love to hear your thoughts on if this is the kind of service you would like to see and use. In the meantime, we’ve got our very own small steps you can do towards considering leading a healthier digital life. Maybe some of these tips can be passed onto friends and loved ones so we can help start a movement of a more positive kind?
Watch Tristan Harris
Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google formed the Center for Humane Technology last year. The main goal of the organisation is to spark a mass movement and put pressure on Silicon Valley giants like Facebook, Google, and Apple to reconsider the ethical design principles behind the technology we use. They also offer advice on how to make your life less addictive to tech by suggesting various things from switch off your notifications to going greyscale on your phone.
Be A Common Sense Parent
If you are a parent or want to ensure the younger members of your family are protected when using the internet, then subscribe to Common Sense Media. This US organisation is a wonderful database of information, giving advice on how to educate your kids about the dangers of trolling, child-friendly gaming and film reviews with ratings and much, much more. Even though it is an American organisation, there’s still a lot of advice to take home, like their #DeviceFreeDinner campaign featuring Will Ferrell which we love!
You might find it a little ironic I’m about to suggest downloading an app but Headspace is essential for me. If you don’t use it already, it is an incredible way to teach yourself about mindfulness. Just knowing how to switch off from the outside world for five or ten minutes a day, is the most valuable thing you can do. The app created by ex-monk, Andy Puddicombe has a step-by-step foundation course which is simple to follow, and can be completed over series of weeks, but also included are specialist packs for Work, Performance, Health, Sport and Happiness. Be good to your mind and soul and you will start to appreciate the real world around you more.
Turn It Off
Turning off your notifications is one obvious way to cut out the noise and make you less addictive – this includes the vibration alert on your device too! So head to your phone settings and switch off all those app alerts, badges and sounds from those who constantly demand your attention like social media and News apps etc. Don’t worry, you can ensure important calls get through by adding a VIP list for important calls, just bear in mind we meant your Mum, not Deliveroo.
Don’t Fall Down The Rabbit Hole
Don’t be like Alice down the rabbit hole, stop random surfing moments when it comes to watching YouTube or browsing Amazon. Most of us succumb to enticing content like this, and what initially was meant to take up five minutes of your time, usually ends up being an hour or more. Turn off Auto-Play and start making a manual shopping list every time you’re tempted to shop online. Instead, dedicate a time to purchase on the weekend as you’ll find half of the items on the list aren’t as important as you thought they were.
Learn to Focus Again
Did you know the human brain needs 90 mins of uninterrupted concentration to produce work and ideas of any worth? If you feel as though your attention span has plummeted and want to understand how digital media affects your concentration, Deep Work by Cal Newport is one of my must-read books of 2017, and focuses how we can be more work efficient and not be a slave to others. and our dreaded email inbox.