Upgrade Your Tech Habits for 2016

By Gary Cutlack on at

Most resolutions thought up and made at this time of year are rubbish -- no one really wants to spend more time with their kids or eat curry less frequently. But you can enhance your life in some genuine ways through technology, by ditching tired old habits that absorb too much time and make you grumpy on the internet.

Yes, thanks to smart-everythings we rarely take time to reevaluate the stuff we do. Must you really reload Twitter every 90 seconds? Is your phone ever left alone for more than 60?

You can change. You've got too comfortable. You don't need to do the same things every day until you look up and suddenly you're 82 years old.


Screens Off at 10pm

So many people say that screens are ruining our brains that it must be true. Even if it's not, it can't hurt to try calming down on the looking at of things late at night. They say the blue light makes our stupid monkey brains think it's daytime even when we're actually only having one last refresh of everything on a phone at 11:45pm, so it's best to read books and look at walls, ceilings etc for a few hours before bed. Give it a go, at least.


Upgrade the House to 2Amp USB Chargers

Most people won't notice the difference in charging times. But you will, and switching your "main" phone charger for a higher Amp model will fill the battery quicker, as long as you've got a modern-ish phone that can take the power. Relegate the abysmal 900 mAh ones that came in the boxes to the kids' bedrooms, they keep their things plugged in all the time anyway out of a fear they may die if they miss out on the latest YouTube celebrity pronouncement.


Stop Tracking Everything You Do

Steps. Bike rides. Calories consumed. Wanks had. No one cares. Shits Given: Literally Zero. You know on a basic human level if you've had too much Christmas pudding and could probably do with a walk to shake out some of the gas that's fermenting inside you, so just, as they say, do it. Sharing steps, runs, bike rides, bend-downs, sips taken, things put on shelves, squat thrusts and so on is all a bit... ironically exhausting. Just be. You'll have fewer things to charge if nothing else.


Only Check Email Three Times a Day

It's a bit stupid to have your phone go off every time a car insurance firm tells you of a new deal, or a voucher company misguidedly thinks you might want a facial in Glasgow, isn't it? Checking email manually, when you actually need to, can save your sanity from the continual interruptions of "Hey! Look! Something completely useless has arrived!" that smartphones bring. At least only "do" email first thing, at lunch time and as late in the day as you can. Then... relax more.


Delete Mobile Email Apps

In fact, although I lied a bit earlier this year about quitting email entirely (I did, but only for about five weeks), one change that's stayed has been the binning off of email from my phone completely. You'll be amazed how much less you look at your phone when it's not spam-scanning every 30 minutes, freeing up valuable time to spend on more important things, like... looking at your phone to see if you've got any retweets (no).


Go Streaming-only

Make the TV work for you. Free yourself from its slavery by only watching things you specifically want to see. You'll be surprised how watching TV and the importance of the box itself plummets when you have to seek out good things to watch (hard), rather than leaving rubbish things on endlessly for comfort (easy). Doing this makes watching a thing special, like it's still the 1980s and everyone in the country is watching the new Only Fools and Horses as one.


Give up on Facebook

Do you really need to know that someone you used to know has just found the video you got bored of yesterday? Probably not. I tend to browse Facebook out of morbid curiosity and simple extreme boredom, both traits probably best eradicated as we move forward into 2016 and try to be less angry all the time. Try just imagining that woman you were obsessed with between 1999 and 2002 instead of looking at her and her kids and expensive sofa all day.


Throw Your Printer Away

It's rubbish and makes you sad, plus you know full well that printer ownership is all about ripping everyone off for cartridges. Imagine not having a printer. It'd be like the relief felt when an old and sick pet finally dies. Bury it in the garden. Invite friends round for a printer wake, because the one-time-a-year you actually need to print something there will then be favours to be called in.

Image credit: Tech recycling, screens, smartwatch from Shutterstock