Few people actually turn over their wall calendar to reveal January 1. Nowadays, their phones are doing it for them, automatically switching their calendar app to view the new year at the strike of midnight.
As technology takes a larger portion of our attention each year, it stands to reason we’ll be even more focused on the phones in our hands. So what better time than now to focus on your phone hygiene?
No, we aren’t talking about the physical cleanliness of your handset. Although, you should regularly disinfect it. (Seriously, you’ll want to after reading this). We’re talking about your phone habits. Here are some ideas to help you lead your most productive life yet.
Stop using your phone in bed
You make the same promise to yourself every night. You’ll only check your email — really quickly — before bed. Then, you’re going to get a full eight hours. And every night, you make a liar out of yourself. You spend hours staring at your screen, scrolling through Instagram’s discover section, dropping hilarious memes into the group chat, and catching up on the latest set of terrible headlines coming out of the White House. Blink a red and gritty eye, and the night’s gone. It’s 4 a.m. and you have two hours before you have to get up for work.
Your phone is a huge distraction at anytime of the day, but it’s especially good at distracting you from your bedtime. Even if you can ignore the siren’s call of a night full of 5-Minute Craft videos, using your phone in bed at all can be harmful to your sleep patterns.
Recent studies show the average phone has a powerful blue light that disrupts your body’s natural sleep cycle. Whether you’re watching Netflix or reading an email, this light postpones your body’s production of melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates your circadian rhythm.
Health experts suggest making your bed a no-phone zone. Staying away from your screen an hour or more before you’re set to go to bed could help you catch some proper Zs.
If you can’t cut the cord, try the next best thing by using a blue light filter. Most flagships like the iPhone XS, Pixel 3, and Galaxy Note 9 come with a built-in filter that casts your display in a warm, orange light. If you have an older phone, you can download one of these apps to do the same thing.
Beef up yourhardware security
Manufacturers have made huge leaps and bounds in smartphone design in the past ten years. We went from the very first iPhone — a clunky phonewith huge bezels —to flagships from Apple, Samsung, and Google with huge displays and powerful processors.
With “edge-to-edge display” as the new buzz phrase, the majority of these handsets are comprised of glass. And you know what glass does: it damages easily. Showing every scrape and scratch that comes with your near-constant use, the iPhone or Pixel in your hand might look pretty rough — even if it’s brand new.
You can cover these up in the new year—and prevent more from happening—by applying a custom-made iPhone or Pixel skin. Skins from companies like dbrand are made from 3M vinyl to add scratch- and grime resistance to your phone. That means you won’t have to worry about scrapes or fingerprints once you have one wrapped around your phone.
Genuine 3M textures also mean you’ll have an exclusive access to certain designs, helping to personalize your mobile device while it’s protected from daily wear and tear.
But what about the huge, almost bezel-less display that your iPhone has, you ask? Well, the people behind dbrand skins are working on something called the Prism — a special screen protector tailor-made for your phone and skin. Due out sometime later this year at the same time as the Grip hits the web, Prism is set to be as simple to apply as the skin itself, and it won’t shatter on impact.
Use your phone less
Remember your life before you could Google every question that came into your mind? Well, if you’re like the youngest of Generation Z, you can’t — Google already existed by the time you were born. And if you aren’t, we apologize for making you feel old.
Tech companies and phone manufacturers have become such an important part of our lives that it’s hard for even older Millennials and Baby Boomers to recall how they survived without having a handheld connection to the world. We use the Internet and Internet-enabled devices so much at this point that even the companies that provide us with hardware and software are asking us for some space.
Earlier in 2018, both Apple and Google revealed they were engineering their new operating systems to help us use our tech less. They took this step to address the fact that a lot of people struggle to. Most people are constantly looking for the next distraction — even from what was originally a distraction, jumping from task to task and app to app and overwhelming ourselves in the process.
You’ve already taken the first step by removing your phone from your bed. The next step is signing out of your Instagram or Facebook Messenger. Or it could be deciding any time past 7 p.m.is a phone-free time. The show isn’t an exact science as long as you try. See how far you can take this journey of unplugging in 2019.
And it will be a journey. On average, new habits takes 66 days to form according to science. It may take you longer considering how often you have your phone in your hand. But you won’t know until you set the intention. Make a resolution to transform your relationship with tech in the new year to see how successful you can be.