It has become clear that our smartphones can interrupt our efforts to be present with others.
A recent study found that a person is more likely to reach for their cellphone than anything else first thing in the morning, including their spouse.
A second study found that the mere presence of a cell phone decreases the quality of an in-person conversation. When the phone was not present, people reported having more meaningful conversations and higher levels of empathy.
If you want to detach from the era of mass distraction, and join a movement to support mindfulness and presence in your everyday life, now’s the time to take action. Here are three things you can do to deepen your relationships with your loved ones and release your phone-addiction tendencies:
Schedule Device-Free Time While with Loved Ones
In my life, if I don’t consciously schedule something, there’s a chance it won’t happen. Whether it’s every night at dinner with the family, cellphone-free Sundays, or simply turning your phone off while you’re on a date or out to dinner with friends, schedule time each week to turn your phone off, or leave it at home so you can connect with your present company. Here are some other ideas to take a technology break.
Establish a Device-Free Bedroom
Your bedroom is a place to sleep, wind down, rest, and restore. It’s not a place to get lost in the social media rabbit hole, which can be easy to do. If you make a point to keeping your cell phone out of your bedroom, you avoid the temptation of a nightly phone check right before bed, and a first-thing-in-the-morning rush to the phone. Leave it in the kitchen, the living room, your office, or anywhere but the bedroom.
This opens up time and space to connect with your significant other when you might otherwise be browsing your Facebook feed before bed. It also opens up time for contemplation and conscious intention first thing in the morning. The first thing you do when you wake up will set the tone for your entire day. What kind of tone are you setting if email, social media, and the news are your first stops?
Use an App to Facilitate Connection
This may sound silly, but your smartphone may be able to help you and your phone-addicted loved ones to disconnect from social media, email, and all the other digital noise.
A friend of mine just created an app called Ransomly. It’s a bluetooth beacon that makes apps inaccessible on the phone when the phone is in its range. The Ransomly App is an attempt to create app-free, distraction-free space where people can connect with themselves and others in real life. If you want your child to do their homework or your fiancé to do the dishes instead of getting lost on Instagram, you can hold their Instagram app for ransom until they’ve completed the task. The whole goal is to bring awareness to the overconsumption in the digital sphere and connect more with loved ones.
Learn more about the concept in the video below, and if you want to get more details or support the startup behind Ransomly, check out to their Kickstarter campaign.