Like many Americans, I fell in love with my first Smartphone in 2011 and even more in love with my iPad in 2013. And like many romantic attachments, mobile technology and I have had our ups and downs. Ultimately I had to admit that I had codependency issues, especially with my iPad, and I needed to take a break.
Today, my relationship with mobile technology is healthy, but the possibility of a relapse is always there – especially if there is a binge worthy show on Netflix or Prime (ahem…Marvelous Ms. Maisel).
My news, entertainment and information consumption comes mainly from my iPad. Unlike the majority of millennial, I do not really like using my Smartphone for searching for information or reading extensive articles – because I am an old Gen Xer and can’t read those tiny screens without getting a migraine.
For a longtime I had everything I could possibly need on my iPad including apps for news, social media, graphic design, games, books on tape (aka Audible), my bank, job searches, real estate searches, email, ezines, recipe databases, weight loss, work outs, music, and navigation.
The ease in which Apple makes apps available and mostly free is the main reason I (and many others) used the iPad so extensively. As Smartphone’s grew in screen size and ability, I started using mine more, mainly for mundane tasks like checking my email, bank accounts, and music (it’s hard to work-out while holding an iPad). But I still used my iPad for all my entertainment needs and a bulk of news.
At its height, my iPad consumption had me plugged in much of the day, even on work days and my whole weekend was spent in a haze of Netflix binges and Sims Freeplay. I would carry my iPad with me wherever I was in my house so I could watch shows while doing dishes or cleaning or folding laundry (I know, my life is super exciting).
And I would bring it to bed and continue to watch shows while perusing Pinterest, even though I knew this was bad for sleep habits.
Eventually I was exhausted, had continuous headaches and just felt lousy and I decided it was time to take a break from the iPad. I tucked it away in a dresser for a few months.
I quickly resumed more balanced habits. I listened to music on my phone while doing housework – which I guess is still technically plugged in, but doesn’t feel like it to me. I watched Netflix only in the evenings on my TV in my living room.
The biggest change was my social media and news consumption. I limited both of these activities to just a few minutes a day via my work computer or home laptop. I still use my iPad a few times a week, but not in the mindless way I did before. And I removed a bulk of apps on it that were just time-wasters. The result is that I feel less stressed, sleep better, have more energy and bonus! read more (hardcopy) books.
How about you? Do you spend too much time plugged in?