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Are you engaged in unhealthy technology habits?

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Could Your Tech Habits Be Harmful?

We all love technology. In fact, many of us have an extremely close relationship with our digital devices. Sometimes, it may even seem like we can’t live without them.  Thanks to our smartphones, cloud technology and social media, these days, we can take the Internet with us everywhere. Every now and then this can be a good thing, but over time we can become tethered to our devices.  

If we are really honest about it, most of our time is spent looking at screens: at work, while commuting, and even during our leisure time.  We are all guilty of doing it. 

Below is a list of some bad tech habits, which not only can damage our productivity, ruin our health, but perhaps also make us cranky. They might be hard to break, but we believe our lives can be so much more fulfilling if we can overcome these toxic tech behaviors. [1]

1. Being ALWAYS available

Having a communication device on us at all times makes us available to everyone and everything around the clock. Emails, texts and instant messages also come with the expectation that they’ll be responded to right away. Any person, app or system which has access to your phone can push their message onto you. Most of the time, the message is never that important. While it’s good to stay on top of things, it can be very disruptive having to stop and answer emails, texts or messages. Even stopping to read them can sometimes be overwhelming and throw you off track. You have permission to be offline and you don’t have to be instantaneously available. 

2. Going sleep with your phone

We can’t say enough to convince you to stop using your phone at night. You already know that harsh blue light messes with your sleep patterns and harms the quality of sleep overall by suppressing melatonin secretion. Keeping your phone next to bed lessens the quality and quantity of your sleep, especially if you check it intermittently. Try to keep all screens out of the bedroom and charge your phone in a different room at night. If you do use your smartphone as your alarm clock, swap it out for a traditional radio alarm or consider a minimalist alarm clock to remove all the temptation and get a proper, restful sleep. 

3. Checking your phone right when you wake up

Starting your morning with a recap of everything you missed online while you were asleep is not the best way to seize the day. Why not forego the morning tech recap of overnight notifications and emails, and use the time to create your own tech-free morning routine. Tristan Harris, the American technology ethicist, suggests that instead of framing our morning around a menu of missed online experiences, we should frame it around our actual needs. Make a good cup of coffee. Have a quiet balanced breakfast. Take a walk with your dog.

Read also: How to sleep better?

4. Eating as you work on a computer

We all know that eating lunch at your desk isn’t good for you, however we've all been guilty of it. Despite the increasing number of studies confirming that distracted, hurried eating has a negative impact on our overall health and well-being, most of us can’t resist staying at our desks during lunch in order to catch-up on work or answer some nagging emails. However, staying at your desk all day can lead to increased stress levels and decreased productivity.  Studies suggest that a slower, more thoughtful way of eating could help you not only to maintain a healthy weight, but also combat chronic stress. 

Taking breaks from mental tasks enables you to perform at your best by giving the brain time to think about the task and stimulate new ideas, as well as make the task seem less tedious.  Although many people find that their job requires them to stare at screens all day, there are still healthy habits you can practice to give your body a break. 

5. Texting over Talking

Do you frequently refuse to answer calls from friends just so you can text them back asking "what’s up?" Do you prefer texting happy birthday, happy anniversary, or happy new year? While texting is great for short need-to-know messages, such as logistics or  for big, emotional moments and milestones—reach out and call someone. Although face-to-face communication is preferable, even a phone call and video chat has been proven to be a more meaningful form of interpersonal connection than just simple messaging.

6. Using your smartphone as a social clutch

Somehow, over the years it became acceptable to bury our faces in a screen the minute we find ourselves alone in a public space. It could be while waiting for a friend at a restaurant or bar, riding the elevator, waiting in the checkout line or even in the restroom. Resist the urge to hide behind a smartphone.  Make an effort to keep your phone out of view, preferably  in your purse or pocket. Take time to look at the world around you, take in the scene and perhaps even talk to the person next to you.

7. Not taking a break from Social Media

It's important to take frequent breaks from social media because studies have repeatedly shown that spending too much time aimlessly scrolling can increase feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. To take a break from social media, turn off notifications, set time limits, and most importantly prioritize your own self-care with other screen-free activities you enjoy.  A digital detox for a few days is also a great way to take some time for yourself and reconnect with the world around you. Although relinquishing all your digital devices may seem like a scary concept, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. [2]

8. Letting the clutter win

Does your phone feel like a jumbled mess of random apps? Take a look at the apps on your smartphone. If you have apps on your device which you don’t even remember downloading or you aren’t even sure what they even do- it's definitely time to declutter.  If your smartphone looks more like a junk drawer than a useful device, it's time to clean up your home screen. Like pretty much everyone these days, your phone is most likely your lifeline. It’s your way to connect with others, to find answers on the internet and to get things done. Chances are, you’re probably even reading this post on your phone RIGHT NOW.

For Android, install an app hiding app like the Mudita Launcher, which allows you to store your apps in folders so they won’t clutter up your home screen. 

When put to good use, technology can really maximize efficiency, however it is important to pay attention to our use of it in our daily lives. At Mudita, we take all the above habits very seriously when creating any new device or an app. With the well-being of the user in mind, we've created a simple app called Mudita Launcher which could help all Android users implement and foster healthy tech habits. Mudita Launcher is a great app which empowers you to be more mindful about your use of technology. We’re currently looking for beta testers - if you would like to be a part of the closed beta testing community please reach out to us by filling out this form and we’ll get in touch with you as soon as possible.

In addition to being more aware of your technology use, it’s helpful to develop healthy hobbies which don’t include digital devices, such as meditating, exercising, reading, painting, etc. Even while we are at work, it is equally vital to take effective breaks from technological devices, to reset and disconnect. Therefore, everyone should plan to take some time away from technology. Remember: less is more.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out similar ones featured on our blog and learn more about how living more of your life offline with less distractions can help enhance your health and overall well-being. 

To learn more about Mudita, take a look at our website and our other posts. If you enjoyed reading this article, please share and recommend it!

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