Have you ever slipped into the endless vortex of content on your phone? Do you automatically reach for it when you hear it ding? Find yourself constantly checking it for updates? Or feel that intense itch to remove that little red notification bubble?
None of these reactions are your fault. Your phone has been cleverly designed to make you react this way! Thankfully, there are easy ways we can all turn our phones into healthy additions to life instead of time-sucking addictions.
So, you can imagine my excitement when I came across the videos I’m sharing with you in this piece. Suddenly, my reactions didn’t seem so out of place. They’re exactly what the designers of these devices want! But thankfully, every one of these videos offers some advice to help us take back control. I’ve put most of it into action and, let me tell you, my relationship with my phone has seriously changed for the better!
Okay, I’ll stop blabbering now and get to the content. But I wanted you to know that you most definitely aren’t alone in your endless scroll. There are millions of us out there being sucked down the same path.
“It’s not designed to help us, it’s just designed to keep us hooked.” — Tristan Harris, Google’s former design ethicist and current Executive Director of the Center for Humane Technology
Interesting, isn’t it?
I highly suggest taking a closer look at the Center for Humane Technology, the organization Tristan co-founded. Their focus is to realign technology with humanity. To accomplish this lofty task, they’ve built a team of former tech insiders and CEOs who “intimately understand the culture, business incentives, design techniques, and organizational structures driving how technology hijacks our minds.” You can meet them and learn more about the work they’re doing by clicking here!
Oh, and make sure you check out the rest of Vox‘s series, By Design, hosted by Christophe Haubursin. It brings us through how design connects with technology. And in turn, helps us better understand how the design of systems in our lives impact us and what we can do to make the most out of them.
This next video, from BrainCraft‘s series Attention Wars, goes over more of the psychological tricks put into play in the designs of our phones and online social platforms. In this, we’ll hear from a few experts and researchers about studies on our health conducted by Facebook, and learn more about how persuasive technology ended up being used in unfavorable ways. In addition, we’ll also get a few extra tips on how we can develop a healthy relationship with our phones!
(Fear not, we have a lot more control than you may be thinking at this point.)
It’s all a little mind-boggling to think about, isn’t it? That something so simple, so every day as design, can impact our lives so intensely. The rest of BrainCraft‘s series, Attention Wars, explores the psychology, design, and impact of tech and social media. So if you’d like to see more, make sure you check it out!
There was a lot of information there! So here’s a combined list of those tips:
Do you really need to know all of the breaking news as soon as it happens? Is it possible that you could dedicate a particular time of the day to check all of the updates at once?
We react strongly to visual cues and color stimulates certain reactions from us. If there’s no color, there’s nothing to keep triggering those reactions in our minds. (It’s definitely a little weird at first. I’ve had my phone set this way for the past week, and my screen time has dropped. There’s just very little that’s appealing about scrolling through a sea of greyscale photos. And suddenly, nothing seems that urgent.)
Keep only the apps that help you navigate your daily life (calendar, contacts, maps, banking, etc.) and can’t catch you in an endless scroll front and center. Bring those apps that actually add to your life to your home screen, and collect all of your social apps and put them into a harder to access spot.
(For myself, I’ve made it a point to put the apps I want to make sure I use every day on my home screen: Headspace, One Second Everyday, and Litterati are a few! And tucked away in the furthest, most inconvenient to access panel on my phone, live my social media apps in a folder titled “Take a Breath”.)
If you can’t access it, you won’t be on it. Simple!
I mentioned these above, but apps like Headspace and Litterati are using the intriguing concepts of games and socializing to help us develop healthy behaviors/habits! There are so many others. What are your favorites?
Technology is awesome. At its core, it’s created to help us do more in our lives. The original intention was never to suck up all of our time. But now we all know a lot more about how their design is impacting us! And going forward with this in mind, we can take back the control to use technology to help us thrive.
Share this article with someone you think should lift their head up from their screen more!
Stay open to new possibilities!
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” — Albert Einstein
What are your tricks for a healthier relationship with your phone?
Share them with us by tagging us in your posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! #itsstillanamazingworld