By Anne Casey – @anne_hottes

I bet you’re reading this article on your phone right now. If you’re not, I bet your phone is right next to you. I would guess that your phone is almost always right next to you, isn’t it?  

In today’s world, smartphones have become a lifeline and somewhat of a status symbol (iPhone 6+, anyone?). Everywhere you go,  someone is texting, making a phone call or snapping a selfie. Funerals aren’t even safe anymore! Even in my job as a wedding photographer, I often have to deal with wedding guests obstructing my shot with their smartphones.  

There’s always social media to check out, emails to read and texts to return. We always want to be on top of what our friends are up to and what’s new in the world – FOMO (fear of missing out) is real my friends!

Here’s the thing: FOMO is killing our creativity and our concentration. Want to get those creative juices flowing or really hone in on a project? It’s probably time to put that smartphone down or close a few browser tabs.

To get you started, I’ve compiled a list of easy ways to unplug! You’ll start to feel relief from constantly being attached to your devices – I promise.

Put it down while you’re driving! Not only is this dangerous, but it’s illegal in a number of states. Texts can wait. If you MUST make a call or answer the phone, use your earbuds or bluetooth. Be sure to use animated hand motions so people in the car next to you think you’re talking to yourself.

Leave the phone in the other room when you’re eating dinner. If you’re out to dinner, put that baby on silent and leave it in your purse. Take the time to connect with whomever you’re sharing a meal and enjoy your food. People will understand! I can’t stand going into a restaurant and seeing half of the tables just staring at their phones.

Unplug an hour before bedtime. The brightness on your screen messes with your sleep cycle. It’s science. Facebook will still be there in the morning.

Set a few times during the day to check social media. I could easily waste half my morning checking on what all of my friends are up to. I allow myself to check my phone during my morning coffee, the lunch break I schedule for myself and once more before I call it quits for the day. Social media is part of my job definitely, but I also know my clients can wait an hour or two for a reply.