Distraction is everywhere and is not passive. In fact, we know the design of technology is to captivate us. As busy humans, specifically busy runners, we cannot afford to waste time on mindless distraction. This article covers many real-world screen addiction solutions.
On the A to Z Running Podcast we answered the question, “How can we stop wasting time?” In this episode we discuss many things that cause us to waste time including distractions. The response and amount of affirming struggle in the area of screen addiction and technology use was substantial.
📱 Am I addicted?
The first step in overcoming any struggle is to step out of denial and admit there is a problem. According to an article in Psychology Today, we can do an honest reflection. You can evaluate if you have a screen addiction by recognizing these traits:
- Importance– If use of screens contributes to your “sense of self.”
- Reward response– Screens make you feel in control and you receive validation and affirmation.
- Prevalence– You are on your phone, tablet, or computer longer than anticipated. It’s become a compulsion.
- Cessation– You are afraid of losing access to your technology or being seperated from it.
- Disruption– Technology displaces other important tasks.
- Reverting– Even if I decrease use, I keep coming back to technology and reverting to old patterns.
After reviewing the above list, are there any of these that reveal a need for action?
📱Screen Addiction Solutions
Now that we have admitted our distraction due to screens, it’s time to look at solutions. We have included real world solutions from people who are combating compulsion toward screens as well.
Limiting time on screens is a great way to practice discipline in the digital space as well as boost productivity. When time is limited, we are more intentional with how we use it.
Tactics for limiting time
- Set very specific time boundaries.
- Use social media when you have a hard stop time like an appointment (thank you, Anne @margsandmarathons)
- Use phone settings to regulate usage (Thank you, Matt @wolftoast). Here’s how.
- Have your phone lock you out of certain apps (thank you, Nicole @mrs_portep)
Establish Healthy Proximity
Screen addiction can learn a few things from other kinds of substances. If we make it harder to access the thing we are addicted to, we can help limit our use of it. Practicing some physical distance from our phones can help us break our compulsive behaviors.
Tactics for developing a healthy proximity
- Keep devices out of reach when you are focusing on a task (thank you, Kaila @bodkick)
- Charge your cell phone in another room at night (thank you, Sarah @sarahlwell)
- Leave your phone home while working out
Restrict the Phone’s Ability to Distract
Unfortunately many of us need our phones in order to do work, business, and stay connected. Although we may need our phone nearby, we can limit the unneeded distractions.
Tactics for limiting phone distraction
- Turn off notifications (thank you, Anne @margsandmarathons)
- Turn your screen black and white using a setting on your phone (thank you, Nicole @mrs_portep)
- Log out of social media so you have to log in each time
Take Social Media Breaks
In order to break the routine of compulsive behavior, we need to break the pattern.
Methods for social media breaks
- Take days off on a regular basis (thank you, Rash @rashi_runs)
- Taking an extended time (thank you, Orsi @orsi.runs and Nick @nklastava)
- Turning the phone to airplane mode when you don’t need to be accessible. (thank you, Gretchen @mama_gmills)
- Delete the app for a time.
Find Alternative Action
When we attempt to change behavior, we need to have an alternative action in place. Often if you are not mindful about what we fill the gap with, we can find ourselves chasing another unproductive behavior.
Alternative actions to screen use
- Direct our focus to our core mission (thank you, Whitney @themotherrunners)
- Plan activities that everyone in family can do together (thank you, Amanda @srasurdenik)
- Have a book to pick up instead of the phone
- Productive activities like cleaning, food prep, planning, journaling, exercises, etc.
We are on our way to taking back those wasted minutes. If this post was helpful, please share with a friend and if you want more on the topic, tune into A to Z Running Podcast ep 72, “How can we STOP wasting time?”