Photo: Peter Varga



It is amazing to see if you are out and about on on a daily basis, the amount of people you will see with their heads down completely invested in their mobile phone. Chris Flack, Founder and CEO of UnPlug set up his company to tackle the overuse of technology and to help improve our digital well-being.

Over the past decade, we have seen a huge shift in how technology has changed culture and our behaviour, particularly since the launch of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. While it has it’s positives, it is also having a negative impact on our focus and productivity in both our personal and professional lives.

Chris launched UnPlug in 2016 with his business partner Aidan Healy, to help people take control of their technology, rather than technology controlling them. UnPlug also works with organisations such as NHS, Accenture and HubSpot to help improve both employee wellbeing and productivity by delivering workshops, keynotes and individual coaching to help improve digital habits.

In the interview, Chris also explains other ways you can improve your digital well-being including some positive apps to help you manage your mobile usage, setting yourself a morning routine to help you focus for the day ahead and the need to move the technology away from the bedroom to improve our sleep given the fact that 50% of us are checking our phone in the middle of the night.

You can listen to the full episode of Chris Flack’s interview at this link.

Here are some key learns to take away from listening to Chris Flack’s interview:

1. Don’t live your life by your mobile phone. Some people just cannot seem to put the mobile phone away. Walking down the street, in bed during the middle of the night or even when they are driving, people are checking their phones. Chris mentions he felt guilty that he wanted to check his Facebook when at his mother’s 70th birthday party and this was one of the key moments he felt that something needed to change. You don’t have to be checking your phone 24/7. It won’t harm you to put it away. It is UnPlug’s mission that people should take control of their technology. As a result, they are able to have better attention management, increased productivity and higher quality downtime.

2. Move the technology away from the bedroom. Chris mentions in the interview that one in two people check their mobile phone during the middle of the night. Unless it is an important phone call, there is no reason to go check how many Twitter followers you have at 4am. Sleep is vital to our physical and mental health and like many people, if you don’t get the required amount of sleep you need you won’t be in a very good mood the next day. If you are one of these 50%, put the phone out of the room or somewhere you cannot just reach out and grab it when you wake up in the middle of the night. The retweets and the likes can wait until the next morning.

3. Morning Routine. Chris explains how first thing in the morning he dedicates time to himself to meditate, exercise, write in his gratitude diary and even has a short dance before he checks any technology. This is his personal routine as opposed to part of UnPlug’s programme, but UnPlug do recommend keeping the first part of your day tech-free to encourage a more positive start to the day.

4. Stay connected with reality. Social media has made a huge impact on our lives in the past decade, but it is important not to get too sucked in and disconnect yourself with the real world. Chris even thinks working from home should not be pushed too much because it could result in isolation and loneliness. Balance is key here as working from home offers great flexibility, however social fabric is changing in modern culture and we need to ensure we spend face to face time with work colleagues too.  It is also important to go out meet friends for a drink or go for dinner with family because they will help you feel better about yourself and it is also keeps the sense of community around you. You can learn a lot from other people and the stories they tell.

Do you agree with my take aways from Chris Flack’s podcast? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

To celebrate What I Know Now’s 1 Year Anniversary, Mark will be hosting a live podcast with a special guest on Thursday 28 September at the Hamilton Building in Trinity College. Sign up now to attend at this link. 

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