‘150 friends rule’ could help you beat your smartphone addiction
Entrepreneur Tanya Goodin, author of OFF.Your Digital Detox for a Better Life, and founder of Time to Log Off, shares her digital wellness rules, starting from keeping social media contacts to a maximum total of 150 rather having a network of hundreds or even thousands.
1. THE 150 RULE
Psychologists believe we can only comfortably maintain a network of about 150 stable relationships. Prune your connections on social media and delete anyone who isn’t adding any value to your life, or those whose feeds just make you feel a bit rubbish. Identify your personal 150-person team and use social media to enhance those real-world relationships, not substitute for them.
Studies show that those that passively scroll on social networks, never posting or commenting themselves, are actually less happy than those who actively engage in online communities. If you’ve got a social media account just to watch what everyone else is doing, delete it now.
3. LESS WHATSAPP
Leaving a friends or family WhatsApp group can be a political minefield, but being in multiple message groups can eat up hours of your day – especially if other members of the group use them for stream of consciousness chatting all day long.
If you regularly come back to your phone to hundreds of unread group messages either set some firm ground rules for all the groups you’re in, or leave them.
4. MARIE KONDO YOUR SMARTPHONE
Using the Marie Kondo Method and regularly tidying up your smartphone is an essential step to using it more efficiently. Looking at a crowded phone screen is like looking at a cluttered desk ; it drains your energy and lowers your motivation. Once a month go through your phone and delete any unused apps. Then set-up named folders to organize everything on your screen clearly. For example you can keep travel apps separate from social media apps reducing the temptation to skip from one to another
5. ASSIGN A PHONE HOME
Keeping your smartphone on you, while trying to exercise self-control to stop checking it, is a recipe for disaster. Designate a place at home and one at work to put it away when you need to focus. One study has shown that even if face down and switched off the mere sight of our smartphones can seriously distract us and reduce our available IQ by 10 points. Just put it away.
6. TALK NOT TEXT
Make it a rule that once you’ve exchanged a maximum of four messages without resolving something you terminate the text and talk face to face – or pick up the phone. Keep text for information, flirting and words of love, not haranguing and hectoring.
7. MAKE YOUR HOMESCREEN WORK HARDER
Humans respond really well to strong visual cues; that’s why software companies use banners, ticks and badges on apps. Make this work for you by setting a strong visual reminder on your home screen to put your phone down and go and do something else. If every time you pick it up you see a picture telling you that you really should be doing something else, eventually it will sink it.