How much time do you spend on your phone? Chances are it’s more than you think. Have you tried using any of the screen tracking apps that will tell you exactly how long you’ve been on your phone? The results might scare you.
What’s the big deal with being on your phone?
Phones help us be productive, right? Sure, but they come with a whole litany of drawbacks and impacts. There’s the physical impacts of text-neck and the way the blue light hurts our eyes. Then there are the social impacts of our phones: reduced ability to empathize, loss of conversational skills, increase in depression.
If those reasons aren’t enough, maybe the reminder that your phone has more bacteria than a toilet seat will be enough. You really should be using an alcohol wipe on your phone daily!
It’s okay to use our phones, but we need to limit it. Hours scrolling through Facebook or playing silly games cannot be counted as productive. We need to take back control of our lives.
How do we stop?
It’s easier said than done. Keep that in mind. Phone addiction is real, even if we don’t realize it.
Identify the problem
Look at how much time you, your partner, and your children spend on your phones. Most phones now have screen trackers built into them. Turn those on. That will give you an honest and accurate picture of how much you’re on your phone. The average user will spend four hours on their phone in a day. Some users are much higher than that. Where do you fall in that spectrum?
Understand why you’re using your phone
Every time you feel the urge to pick up your phone, stop for a moment and consider why. A lot of times we will reach for our phones without even thinking about it. We are working and then suddenly the phone is in our hand and a cat video is playing on the screen. Think about what you were doing when you reached for your phone. Ask yourself if you really need it.
The most common trigger is perceived boredom. Our phones have trained us to expect a constant influx of information and variety. The moment there is a lull, we reach for it. Even during conversations with our friends and family we do this.
Knowing why you are reaching for the device will really assist you in addressing the problem.
This is going to be one of the hardest mental hurdles. You have to set boundaries for yourself and your children. Then you have to hold yourself accountable. Some easy boundaries to set are no phones while eating, no phones while having a conversation, no phones while working. It takes dedication to make these work. Don’t cheat yourself.
You can also set limitation boundaries. The screen time apps on phones will allow you to set limits for how long you can be on a certain application. This can be great for limiting your use.
Delete the apps that distract you
It’s a hard step, but delete those game apps that you don’t really need. Consider even deleting social media applications. If you really don’t want to delete the app, sign out of the app and in your settings, turn off the option that keeps you signed in. That way, every time you want to use the app, you have to manually sign in. Don’t let it save your password either. This extra step will deter you from mindlessly using it.
Turn off notifications
You only need notifications from text messages and phone calls. Maybe a business email can also give you notifications, but everything else should wait until you’re ready to get on the app.
There are a lot of things you can do
Breaking your phone habits is hard, but with determination you can find that you will be living a much happier and healthier life.