To say that tech has become monumental in our lives in the last year would be an understatement. For so many people, our laptops, phones and smart watches have been instrumental in doing our jobs, keeping in touch with loved ones and even prioritising a bit of self-care when everything got too much.
But while we’ve been relying on tech to maintain as normal routine as possible in lockdown, we’ve also been assessing our relationship with it. Shows like The Social Dilemma have made us all more conscious of our social media use, and being so virtually connected has sparked tons of discussions around screen time.
Quite ironically, the answer to our problems appears to be more tech, or rather, mindful tech. Speaking to women about how they utilise tech to manage their hectic lifestyles, from helping them get their jobs done to reminding them it’s time to kick their feet up, it seems that tech has gone from being our source of entertainment to our very own personal assistant.
So whether you’re re-evaluating your relationship with tech or just need some time-saving tips, here’s how we’re all using our tech to manage our obscenely busy lives right now…
1. 'My Apple Watch actually keeps my screen time to a minimum'
‘It might feel counterintuitive to say my Apple Watch has transformed my screen time for the better, but it’s been a godsend,’ says Amy, from Adelaide, Australia. ‘I can lock my phone in a draw and ignore it without fear of missing a calendar reminder or important WhatsApp message and I don’t have to risk being sucked into a two hour doom scroll on Twitter.’
2. 'The reminder app ensures I can’t ignore my to-do list'
‘I’ve set the reminder app as a widget on my iPhone home screen so every morning when I wake up and look at my phone I’m faced with my to do list,’ says Lillian. ‘It’s great, especially given how many times I look at my phone, it’s always there. It just forces me to focus in one what I actually have to do that day and not waste any time, so it all gets done much more efficiently and I can actually enjoy the rest of the day!’
3. 'My iPad has become my nanny in lockdown'
‘When the nurseries closed in lockdown I had to balance childcare and working from home so the iPad became my saving grace,’ says Vicky, from Liverpool. ‘My daughter is obsessed with it, so I would throw on an educational TV show or YouTube video (and the occasional kinder egg unboxing video, don't ask) and she could sit right next to me engrossed in her shows while I worked away. Getting those few hours of peace meant I could often finish work early and spend actual quality time with her later on.’
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Apple Watch Series 6, from £379
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4. 'My iPhone actually helps me wind down at night'
‘I use the “bedtime” function on my iPhone now because it really helps me not look at it so much in the evening and properly wind down,’ says Jessica, from Bath. ‘The aim is that I actually put my phone down at a certain time and don’t lie there watching TikToks all night, and it’s really helped. Just laying out that boundary helps me stop my work and social life bleeding into the time I’m meant to be winding down.’
5. 'Listening to podcasts on the go is the only way I can keep up with the world'
‘I don't have loads of time to keep up to date with the news and current affairs since having my son, so I totally rely on listening to news podcasts,’ says Rebecca, from London. ‘If I’m going for a run or taking him out for a walk in the pram, it really helps me to keep up to date with what's going on. That’s felt so important especially in the last year but also for my job. Plus, it feels like I'm carving out a bit of time for myself even when I'm just going for a walk to the supermarket.’
6. 'I’ve moved all my social media onto my iPad and my usage is so much healthier'
‘I didn’t realise how unhealthy my social media usage was until watching The Social Dilemma and I started to add up how much time I spent mindlessly scrolling,’ says Emma, from Brighton. ‘I deleted all the apps off my iPhone and moved them onto my iPad so that I have to make a conscious choice to go and get the iPad when I want to scroll social media. It’s been life-changing if I’m honest, I’ve freed up so much more time in the day and I don’t feel the temptation, or rather dread, of a scrolling binge when I go on my iPhone.’
Life coach Rebecca Lockwood agrees this is a great way to re-establish your relationship with social media. ‘Removing social media apps from your smart phone onto an iPad makes them less distracting,’ she says. ‘You’ll be able to engage in them properly and effectively when you choose to give time to them rather than reacting to notifications.’
7. 'My Apple Watch is so important to fitting exercise in'
‘I didn’t realise how little exercise I was doing, and how unfit I was, until I was given my Apple Watch last Christmas,’ says Michaela from Liverpool. ‘Even just knowing how many steps you’ve done that day or how your activity has changed overtime is so useful in encouraging you to get out the house – particularly in lockdown. It helped me realise I needed to make time for some exercise first thing in the morning which has forced me to prioritise a bit of self-care and to be honest, has made me way more productive at work too. ’