Unsurprisingly - given, for instance, the findings of last year's Ofcom Communications Market Report that most people in the UK are dependent on their digital devices and now check their smartphones, on average, every 12 minutes - more and more people have started to critically examine their smartphone use.
Last week, some of us at Slaughter and May were asked to do so during a workshop facilitated by Jonathan Garner and Zak Bassey of Mind over Tech, a start-up with the aim of redesigning our relationship with technology to help us focus on what matters.
In particular, we reflected on the way in which we almost automatically reach for our phones to do any task (from professional communication and keeping up-to-date with current affairs to ordering food and listening to music) and in any situation (be that during our morning commute, while we queue to order coffee or while we wait for a conference to start).
For me, the central question arising from this reflection was how to make smartphone use more intentional - and I was glad to learn that, in this quest, little changes go a long way.
Why not dust off an old radio, stopwatch and/or alarm clock and try using that instead of the apps on your phone? Why not keep your personal phone in a drawer at work rather than on the desk? Why not turn off any unnecessary notifications?
Somewhat ironically, one can also find a range of helpful apps, for instance, to monitor and/or limit phone usage. Other apps could help to make our smartphone use more intentional, for example, by creating additional hurdles to accessing "time-wasting" apps or by rearranging icons between uses.
Jonathan and Zak encouraged each of us to decide on some small changes to which we could commit. Whilst most of us would benefit from making our smartphone use more intentional, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Redesign your relationship with technology to help you focus on what matters.