How To Have Boundaries In A Screen-Saturated World

Our eyes are glued to our screens, which is causing us to not see what's important

(Originally posted on Thrive Global)

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In 2007, Steve Jobs gave us the iPhone.  Little did we know how impactful these little devices have changed our lives.  I use my smartphone for everything.  GPS, music, email, social media, health management, calendar scheduling, communications (yes, I use the phone icon), camera, alarm clock (I'm guessing Arianna wouldn't be pleased with this news!), MLB at Bat, etc.

I run my business from this device.  Without it, I would be lugging around a laptop (remember when laptops weighed over 10 lbs?  #Bulky).

A while back it became pretty clear that I use my phone a bit too much.  My brother referred to it as my "iBinky", aka pacifier.  #Ouch.

He's right.  I'm constantly being soothed by this awesome yet addictive device.  

So, I decided to establish boundaries around usage.  I speak on boundaries and burnout, based on my own burnout in 2009/10, where in 369 Days, I lost EVERYTHING.  Google it, it's a fun story ;)

Establishing boundaries around any habit is a challenge.  Eben Pagan puts it best (ironically) when he says you have to install a habit like you would an app on your phone.  

Apple's latest iOS release has a Time Limit feature, where you can set limits on what apps you can use on your phone.  This speaks volumes to what's going on with society and our own respective iBinkys and Androids.  (Note, I was an Android user and they have awesome phones!)

I'm using the Time Limit feature (Android has the feature as well, Google it!) and it's been interesting to say the least.  Some days it's important for me to access apps longer than the schedule I've set, so it's still a work in progress.

I do recommend that you use some sort of time management on your screen time, if anything to see how many hours you're logging on your phone each day.  You will be shocked. #6HoursOnInstagram?

I also invested in blue light glasses, as recommended by a good colleague of mine Bryan Falchuk.  Great guy, look him up #DoADay. Eye strain is bad, and we won't know the long-term effects for a few years, but I'm guessing it won't be pretty.

A tip I learned is to close your eyes every 30 minutes or so after you've had screen time.  Please don't do this while walking or driving, or in a meeting with your boss.  This will give your eyes a break, so that your eyes don't eventually break.

Similar to the 30 minute eye rest, get up out of your chair (if you're physically able, too many of us who write things like this forget that a considerable portion of our population are wheelchair bound, so on behalf of authors everywhere, I apologize.)  It's important to be physically active, and put away our iBinky from time to time.

A couple weeks ago, I went to dinner on Friday night, and purposely left my iBinky at home.  The horror!  Dinner?  In public? No phone?  Such a risk taker.  Two weeks later, the Earth is still spinning, life still exists.  The world did not end.  What did happen was uninterrupted conversations.  Imagine a world if we could do that?


I help people recover from or prevent burnout in their lives.  Register here for my next webinar on going from burnout to your ideal life.