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  • Writer's pictureLaura Roeven

Breaking up with Technology

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Sini Ninkovic, author of Untethered: Overcome Distraction, Build Healthy Digital Habits, and use Tech to Create a Life you Love, spoke to BetterUp coaches on being in right relationship with technology. Between the hours of 5 and 10pm, when do you get lost scrolling? How satisfied do you feel with the relationship you have with your phone? Do you feel edgy with it? Do you have the fear of missing out? Have you noticed that news is doom and gloom which can cause a wish to consume or purchase things to feel happier?

“It’s crucial that we protect our attention and design our environments so that they serve us.” —Dan Kang

Welcome to being human with a tool that increases craving, attachment, and misery. Good news! You get to decide the relationship you want to have with your phone. It is an evolving process and today can be your new day to experiment with a new relationship and how you want to feel.

Why look at the relationship with the iPhone? Turns out, left unchecked, the phone does not increase well being. Endless scrolling increases mental distress and decreases health and well being. (In a study in Ontario that spans 1977- present day, statistics on well being in 7-12th graders reported a 24% increase in poor health, 41% increase in poor mental health, 42% increase in low self esteem, 21% increase in serious psychological distress and 21% increase in suicidal ideations.)

“Relying on willpower alone to fight doom-scrolling or binge watching is bound to fail.” —Sini Ninkovic

Now for the good news!

Returning to Relationships and Peace of Mind in 10 Easy Steps:

  1. When unplugging from work, try a simple meditation. Inhale, “I Am”…Exhale “Here Now.” Do this for 10 breaths.

  2. Announce the change in relationship to a friend or family member. With any goal, when we socialize it, we have greater success achieving the goal.

  3. Double down with partnering up with someone to do the same challenge. i.e.: I’m going to charge my phone in the kitchen and have a phone break from 6pm-morning time. This increases your success rate by 95%!

  4. Try using apps like or an app like it to focus on what matters to you in a supportive setting. This is a virtual work room opens with announcing your intention for the hour and then co-work with others in a virtual space. This is a way to dedicate time to a dream you always wanted to try but feel stuck beginning alone. (Is it time to write that book?)

  5. Design your free time to be focused on what you love. There is nothing wrong with TV but if your goal is to play games or spend time with loved ones at the end of the day, consider moving the TV to a closet and put your favorite activities in the living area.

  6. Create a phone area to charge in its own location that does not take your attention.

  7. Move the TV out of the bedroom. Do not charge any devices in your bedroom. (50% increase in romantic activity when couples make this change!)

  8. Set yourself up with reminders that ask, “Am I proud of myself right now?” “Am I experiencing joy?” “Am I living in line with my values?” Change them frequently to refocus on what is most important to you.

  9. Be curious. What do you want your relationship to look like with your phone? Play with what works. Make note of what does not work.

  10. Celebrate success. When you feel vibrant and experience joy, you are doing something that works! Keep up the great work!

“Every goal is doomed to fail if it goes against the grain of human nature.” —James Clear Atomic Habits



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