How to break your 6 worst tech habits
In this guide, we show you how to cut back on 6 unhealthy tech habits for a happy, balanced existence.
We're all guilty of checking our messages as soon as we wake in the morning, keeping every cable and USB socket we've ever owned, and filling our entire desktops with icons, but what are the absolute worst tech habits that you should try to change right now?
Here are six tech habits that should be on your list to improve.
We all want the newest, shiniest smartphone packed with oodles of mobile data. But does everyone actually need it? Chances are, you're spending way too much in these areas when you could be putting that money towards something else.
How to fix it: When it's time to upgrade your phone, look beyond the flagship models and focus on the lower midrange instead. Major phone manufacturers like Samsung, Oppo and Google now offer astonishing value for money in this area, with cutting-edge software, great battery life and high-end cameras becoming increasingly common.
Head to Optus' prepaid phones list to find the best option for your needs. The average price is around $200 - a far cry from the $2500+ you can expect to pay for a flagship phone.
Thankfully, mobile 'bill shock' has largely become a thing of the past in Australia - but that doesn't mean you should set-and-forget your mobile plan. If your data allowance rarely gets used up, you're probably paying more than you should. But telcos are putting control back into users' hands.
Too much screen time
The proliferation of connected devices has had a serious impact on all our lives. Most of us are guilty of spending too much time on our screens - be it a laptop, smartphone or smart TV. This can affect everything from your physical and mental health to quality time with your family.
How to fix it: The first step is to make your bedroom a screen-free zone. In short: stop browsing the internet and watching Netflix when you should be sleeping. If you often feel exhausted during the day, this small change can make a big difference.
You could also try setting some time limits on your devices to remove the temptation altogether. The latest versions of Android and iOS allow you to restrict access to apps and browsers to a time of your choosing. For example, Google's Digital Wellbeing tool has comprehensive settings to monitor and manage your screen time. You can even set daily time limits for specific websites.
If you're an Optus customer, there's also the Optus Pause tool which allows you to pause both mobile and home internet connectivity on your eligible devices. This could be an effective way to restrict screen usage at night and make the most of your time.
Not comparing to find a better deal
Comfortable is good but it doesn't pay to be complacent. Maybe that home Internet or phone plan you've been happy with for some time has long been trumped by a newer choice with a lower price or more inclusions.
How to fix: If plans like Optus Flex have piqued your interest, it might be time to compare and switch. Head to our Mobile Phone Plan Finder to find the best bang for buck. Finder also has a home broadband plan comparison tool.
And we get it, breaking can be hard (read: fiddly) to do. Thankfully, using Optus Flex as an example, you can now download a digital eSIM and connect to a mobile plan with a new phone number in minutes. eSIMs are already supported by newer phones, such as those from Apple, Samsung, Google, Huawei and others.
Poor work-life balance
According to a recent report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Australia works longer hours than two thirds of other OECD member countries. This can result in low levels of job satisfaction and poorer mental health.
A lot of this can be blamed on modern technology which makes it notoriously easy to work from home and be contactable 24/7. To avoid possible burnout, it's important to get your work/life balance under control.
How to fix it: Start by muting your workplace's chat client (e.g. - Slack) at the end of each work day and change your status to 'offline'. This will send a clear message that you're unavailable outside of work hours.
If you do need to be contactable and can't switch off completely, at least try to go internet-free for a few hours. Remember, if you don't set any boundaries, you can't really complain if your workplace takes advantage. You can also use productivity apps and to-do lists to help manage your workload.
Once you've achieved an optimal work/life balance, it's then up to you to fill the extra time with things that are important to you - be it a hobby, exercise or just spending time with friends and family.
Failing to backup your data
If you're over a certain age, you've probably got a stack of photos, documents and other important files sitting on your hard drive. This is a recipe for disaster. A sudden hardware failure could result in all your data being irretrievably lost.
How to fix it: There are various ways to backup your data but cloud storage is arguably the most fail-safe method. Depending on how much data you need to back up, this can cost as little as a few dollars a month. (There are even some decent free options if your storage requirements are low.)
Head to Finder's comparison guide to see how the most popular backup software packages stack up.
Hoarding unused phones
Most people replace their phones every year or two. Unfortunately, a lot of these devices aren't disposed of. According to a study conducted by Finder, approximately 1.7 million 'active' smartphones in Australia are actually sitting in drawers collecting dust.
How to fix it: There are several ways to effectively dispose of an unwanted phone. These include:
- Give it away to a family member or friend
- Recycle it
- Sell it online
- Trade it in
If you'd like to recoup some money, options 3 and 4 are your best bets: sites like eBay and Gumtree make it easy to sell your old tech, with pre-filled templates for popular phone models. To increase your odds of a positive sale, remember to be descriptive in the listing, put effort into your photos and consider pricing the phone slightly below other sellers.
If you're planning to buy a new phone through your provider, organising a trade-in is a hassle-free way to offload your old handset. As always, before you trade-in any old device, be sure to transfer and permanently wipe your data.
Compare prepaid phone plans from Optus
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.