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3 ways to prevent your phone becoming your enemy

Your phone is one of the best technological advancements of the last decade, making everything you do, on a day-to-day basis, easier, simpler and far more streamlined. You have everything you require at the touch of a button; you can keep in touch with everyone, at any time, you can find the latest news, you can use it for work, you can get your training programs instantly, the list goes on. In fact, there probably isn't anything now where your phone does not have the ability to assist you.

I think it is important to remember that overall, this is a very good tool of modern-day life. Phones tend to get a lot of 'stick' from experts, but honestly, it is my opinion that this is just an easy scapegoat.

Lets blame mobile devices for all our problems. The narrative fits, however, it would be naive to believe the world would be a better place without them. The benefits far outweigh the negatives.

Having said this, we must be aware of what these negative implications are and how they can impact us. You could (and I say could because we do not know if these things would have increased without or without the increase of phone usage) argue that an increase in mental health issues, loneliness, relationship issues, laziness and health issues is down to the fact that we can access everything, in seconds, from the comfort of our home. Worse than that, as we can actually do this from the comfort of our sofa.

Added to the list above is stress. Stress is the #1 cause for health problems I see with clients when they begin to work with me. Whether it's a sleep issue, an eating issue, a training issue or a relationship issue, the route cause, more often than not, is stress.

High performers can handle stress better than their counterparts. They are aware of triggers, implement techniques to overcome and overall, manage stress far more effectively than others.

One of those triggers, as mentioned, is our phone. You may, or may not, be aware of how your phone can trigger a Sympathetic Nervous System response (fight or flight and anxiety). Just think about the number of times you get a message that has some form of bad news, whether personal or work, the number of times you get a social media notification and feel the need to check it, the number of times you get a reminder pop up that gets you planning for a future meeting, sound familiar?

Well, all of this causes stress. Your body does not know the difference between this and fighting for your life, it just knows a stressful stimulus. Now, now we know that our phone can cause an onset of stress, unneeded stress might I add, we should look at ways we can limit this. I mean, who wouldn't want less stress if it can be avoided?

The first thing you can do is not use your phone within the first hour of waking up. This should be a priority. I'm sure you have done, or still do, this. You wake up, look at your phone, start reading messages and before you know it, you are in work mode. Lets face it, any news at 1am, is not going to be good. As a result, you are headfirst into the storm only seconds after waking up. This sets you up in a negative midframe, agitated and into the 100mph mode.

Instead, turn your phone wifi off when you go to bed and keep this off until you have had some time to settle into your morning. You can go a step further and put it on aeroplane mode if you wish. Take time to wake up, say morning to kids or partner, plan your day, eat and the world will still be there waiting after you have done so. I get it, you are busy, we all are, but taking even 30 minutes without your phone in the morning can make a shift towards a calmer, more positive mindset.

The next step you can take is to turn off your notifications. This includes muting chats on your messaging service and turning off social media notifications. As soon as you see that home screen light up, your attention is gone. It is hard to get into a flow state at work, so don't waste this for an irrelevant picture like or news flash. Give yourself a set time where you will read and reply, this could be 10 mins in the morning, afternoon and evening. Obviously, there are some people you need to know are trying to reach you, so keep these unmuted (I don't want any complaints that deals haven't gone through because Reiss said to mute people). Just the small reduction will make a big change.

The final thing you can do, in order to prevent your phone from becoming your enemy is to put any time-consuming junk apps into a separate folder. You know which ones I mean. Put all the apps you scroll on into a folder, regardless of whether your poison is Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or Tinder!

Time is our biggest asset, and these apps take that away without us realising. Now, I'm not insulting your intelligence by assuming out of sight equals out of mind, but there is a logical reason behind this step. Often, we autopilot. We get a message, open our phone, click on Instagram and before you know it you catch yourself 5 minutes in. By having the apps in a folder rather than on the main home screen, it adds another step to the process, giving your conscious brain time to kick in and ask, 'Do I really need to go onto this?'.

The more steps the better, so you can put this folder into the last page of your home screen which means there is a swipe, swipe, click, click to open an app.

None of these things are rocket science, but very rarely is high performance rocket science type work. It is the result of simple things, done well, over a long period of time, that stack up.

These steps put you in control of your phone in a world where many are being controlled by theirs. This will give you a small % improvement to build on.

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