Using Digital Technology in a Sustainable Way

September 2018

How often do you check your phone throughout the day? 10 – 15 times? Recent research from Deloitte has indicated that the global average is 47 times daily. However in groups of 18 to 24 year olds, the average number is high as 86 times per day and a total screen time of about 300 minutes. This equates to checking your phone every 10 minutes and scrolling for about 4 minutes. Then you put down your phone, look back at your computer screen and the countdown starts again.


Think you’re not addicted? Then I set you a challenge, read this entire article without checking your phone! See how you go.


Most of us cannot imagine our lives without our smartphones. It’s the last thing we see at night and, acting as an alarm it’s the first interaction we have in the morning. Are we being smothered by our smartphones and how is this affecting us?

Research into adolescent technology use show that higher daily use increases the risk of anxiety. It has become so common that in 2010 a new phobia was coined; ‘Nomophobia’ – The fear or anxiety caused by being without a mobile device.


It doesn’t have to be this severe either. Having a phone near you while working can affect your concentration and act as a distraction resulting in a lower standard of work. From a social point of view, we see our phones as a way to connect with other humans. The majority of what we are doing on our phones involves social connections which in turn reduces our face to face contact. Pavlov’s famous dog experiments paired food with a bell. We are pairing social connection with our phone. So much so that there are now companies who specialise in helping to restore this technology-life balance. Ironically, you can find their website here.


However, there is a reason why we all use technology as much as we do. It has a lot of positive benefits for both work and play. The key is to learn how to use technology in a sustainable way and manage your relationship with your devices. In order to this, we need to understand our human biases and how they influences our behaviours. I’ve compiled some points to ensure you have the best relationship possible with your device:


  1. Boundary control. It’s important to set boundaries as to when you should be checking your phone or emails and when you should avoid this. At work, experiment with productivity tricks such as the Pomodoro technique. Before bed, try to have one hour without looking at your phone (Bonus: You will fall asleep faster by doing this as the blue light from your phone has been shown to keep you awake)
  2. Be conscious of when you need to check your phone and when it is simply a habit or reflex. Take note of when throughout the day you’re looking at your phone for the sake of it and try to cut these out.
  3. Mute it! Turn off all unnecessary notifications. Notice which apps are sending through notifications and decide whether it is vital that you receive them.


For more information, be sure to watch our upcoming Webinar – Time for a Digital Detox? Creating a healthy digital culture on Thursday 20 September, 2018 at 12:00pm BST.

Author: Karl Priebe.
Psychologist & Project Manager at Soma Analytics.
Karl Priebe

See All Blog