When we think about technology these days, there is a slight undercurrent of scepticism. With many living in an ‘always on’ culture, we are so often reminded to put our phones down, disconnect from the digital world and interact with the real world more. And whilst this is certainly advice worth following, in practice it isn’t always easy and can seem altogether unmanageable.
Instead of simply trying to cut down the overall time spent on your phone, it can also help to take the approach of making tech work for you. Being able to fill every spare moment with something on our phone can make us feel busier than we really are, whilst actually detracting from productivity. But by tailoring what is on your phone so that it best serves you and your individual needs, it can become a helpful tool in improving resilience, wellbeing and efficiency, rather than a drain on these things.
Below are several areas in which tech can be used to support resilience:
Time management – A good time-tracking app can be a hugely valuable tool in maximising productivity and minimising stress. These can be used to plan your day, allocating time for breaks and acting as a timer to ensure you keep on schedule. There are also apps that record how you spend time on your phone, so if you feel like you lose a lot of time this way, these could be a great starting point for knowing where to try to cut down.
Mental wellbeing – ‘Wellness’ apps are everywhere at the moment. If you download too many, you won’t end up using them regularly, so it’s best to pick one or two to really focus on. A combination of a meditation (or other relaxation) app and a mood-tracking app can be highly effective – or you might find the two combined. Together, these practices can not only decrease stress and increase positive mood but also arm you with insight into your own patterns of feelings and emotions and how these are influenced by different factors.
Physical activity – Exercise apps are also plentiful, with many linked to wearable devices. Even without these accessories, these apps can remind you to get up and move regularly, guide you through workout routines, track your activity and coach you to reach your fitness goals. Whether you choose running, yoga, walking or anything else, regular exercise is a sure-fire way to boost your mood and personal resilience – and these apps can provide much-needed support with creating and maintaining a regular routine.
Habit tracking – This one will vary greatly depending on your personal goals, but the principle remains the same. Whatever healthy habits you are trying to cultivate, it can take some time to get into a reliable routine with them. Tracking your efforts can provide encouragement and show you how far you’ve come – whether you’re trying to get more fresh air, read something every day, learn a new language… just about anything can benefit from being tracked, at least until the habit is truly ingrained.
Conscious social media use – Social media’s reputation has suffered a great deal recently. Whilst some people (and companies) are choosing to abandon it altogether, it might be worth considering whether you can turn things around and use it to your advantage. This may take a bit of a digital tidy-up and a spree of unfollowing, to pave the way for meaningful connections on whichever platform(s) you choose. If an account that you follow doesn’t make you feel good or provide something of value to you, consider whether you’d be better off not seeing its posts. Aim to tailor your feed so that it’s filled with positive, healthy inspiration and informative posts from people and/or organisations you care about. Even then, remember not to get caught up in never-ending scrolling – aim to limit your social media time each day.
Spending tracking – Whilst looking at your bank balance may not seem conducive to wellbeing at first, keeping on top of your finances and being fully aware of the state of your spending removes the dreaded feeling of not quite knowing. Apps that track your spending across multiple accounts and cards are really helpful here, highlighting how your income ends up being distributed across different areas such as bills, rent/mortgage, groceries, socialising etc. This can be incredibly enlightening and equips you with the knowledge to make more informed, confident decisions when it comes to budgeting, spending and saving.
In today’s world, the choice of apps can be overwhelming. If something isn’t working for you, it‘s worth trying a few other options – you’re bound to find one that suits you, that you will enjoy using and stick with. If you’re not sure where to start and are looking for some initial ideas, here are a few previous suggestions from us.