Vacation goals: less screen time and more summer fun
The summer season is once again upon us and with it, a world of possibilities unfolds in front of our eyes. Whether you already know where you’re going on vacation this year and you’ve got it all planned out to the very last detail or you prefer to go with the flow and figure things out along the way, you surely want to make this summer season one to remember. That’s why you need to set some goals for yourself. And no, we’re not talking about achieving the perfect beach body that everyone aspires to, but about something much more practical and useful in today’s tech-dominated times: reducing your screen time.
Whether you like to admit it or not, we’ve become somewhat addicted to technology these days, especially to our mobile devices. Technology is a great thing, don’t get us wrong, as it has made our lives easier in so many ways. Our smartphones allow us to communicate with each other, keep up with the news, take pictures, listen to music, shop, work and so on. Besides, with an international sim card, you get cost-effective and easy internet access while traveling abroad so you can keep in touch with people at home and enjoy your vacation to the fullest.
However, you can have too much of a good thing until it becomes harmful and the way we use smart devices right now proves it abundantly. According to recent statistics, the average person spends a little over 3 hours per day on their phone and checks their device almost 58 times per day. That’s a lot of time, even if you have nothing better to do, and you certainly have much better things to do when you’re on vacation than staring at your phone.
So, if you want your smart devices to become an asset, not a hindrance, here are a few ways to spend less time in front of the screen and more time enjoying your summer vacay.
Start the process at home
If you’re not able to put your phone down when you’re at home, things won’t magically change just because you’ve changed the environment. A habit becomes second nature, so it will follow you wherever you will go. Fortunately, bad habits can also be broken and replaced with healthier ones, but that takes time.
That’s why you might want to start practicing in advance. Think of it as another task you have to cross off your to-do list as you’re preparing for your trip, along with packing your bags, taking your passport and chargers with you, activating your esim card and so on. Spending less time in front of the screen while you’re at home will make it easier for you to put your devices away when you arrive at your vacation destination.
Learn to unplug without feeling guilty
A lot of people would love to completely unplug while on vacation, but the minute they put their devices away guilt starts to creep in. We have this self-induced feeling that we need to be connected all the time, be it for work or social reasons, amplified by the infamous fear of missing out. So, when you decide to go device-free, a little but annoying voice in the back of your mind starts telling you that you’re doing something wrong.
Well, you need to tell that voice to be quiet because you’re allowed to disconnect from work or life back home on vacation. That’s literally the definition of vacation. But if going cold turkey seems too overwhelming, you can start with small steps. For example, you can set out a predetermined amount of time to go deviceless each day and communicate this decision to your loved ones or co-workers, so they won’t report you as being MIA. Don’t worry, the word will still be there when you return.
It can be difficult to resist the urge to check your phone when you receive one notification after another, and you’re dying of curiosity to find out what’s going on. But you’re going to be less tempted to grab your smartphone every five minutes if you know what’s making you feel anxious.
It’s usually the constant flow of information that we receive via our mobile devices that makes us so addicted to them. So, if you are constantly worried about work emails and they keep you mentally in the office even when you’re miles away, you should turn them off. Similarly, if you always want to know what everyone else is doing, muting your social media apps might help a lot.
Turn your phone to grayscale
You may not be aware of this, but part of the smart devices’ allure comes from the vivid images and catchy sounds they feed us with. Our brains are wired to react to bright colors and lively music, which we can find abundantly on social media. That’s how these apps keep us hooked for hours on end.
But once you know the incentive, you can find a solution to eliminate it or at least make it less enticing. In this case, switching your phone to grayscale can work miracles. Without all the intense imagery and audio, the screen experience will lose its magic appeal and you will feel less compelled to keep scrolling. In fact, you might start to find the process quite boring and that will give you the opportunity to move on to more interesting things, like enjoying your surroundings and living in the moment.
With smart devices becoming a digital extension of our bodies and occupying more real estate in our daily schedule, it might be time to cultivate better habits around digital technology, especially if you don’t want to experience your holidays through your phone’s screen. So, if there’s one thing you should add to your summer bucket list, less screen time should be it.