Filling the void of phone-free time

Make a plan with a friend to try a new phone-free activity together sometime this week. Go buy watercolors and paint, hike a new trail, grab a coffee, or browse a store you've never been in, anything, but do it phone-free.

If you become aware of the negative side effects of too much technology, it will be easier to use tech less, but you need to replace it with something else. Before you take a break from your phone, gaming, or computing and replace it with a new activity, make a list of non-tech things you like to do.

Whatever your new activity, hobby or skill you practice, try and make it fun. If it will be more fun with someone else, do that. How often to you play board games? If there a new one you’ve never tried? Human beings seek novelty, so the newness of this activity feeds the same desire for new information on your technology. You can find this on an endless scroll on Instagram. A new YouTube video that rolls over automatically or shows up in your recommended column can hook you, along with notifications of a new news story. You can outsmart your tech and choose when you use it and when you take a break.

Author: Susan Reynolds, M.Ed is the co-founder of Mindhood, a company that provides daily challenges of mindfulness, healthy digital habits and ways to put one's phone down to people in community including groups in college, organizations and schools.