Smartphones are meant to help us lead better and more productive lives. But when we succumb to smartphone addiction, we become slaves to our phone. This affects our relationships, work, and life. By applying the 15 tips, this won’t happen and you will have more time and energy to build meaningful relationships, and others. Here are some signs of addiction:
Frequent use your phone at mealtimes.
Spending more time on the phone than interacting with others in person.
Using your phone when you should be doing something else more productive.
Frequently using your smartphone while performing tasks requiring focus, e.g. writing a report, driving.
Feeling uncomfortable when your phone isn’t with you.
Checking your phone in the middle of the night.
1. Turn off notifications.
Most people are distracted by the endless notifications they receive from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, and other apps. You don’t need to know right away if someone “likes” your status update, follows you on Instagram, or sends you an email. The more often you check your phone, the more it becomes an ingrained habit.
The only apps for which you don’t turn off notifications might be your text messaging app and your calendar app. This is because sometimes you’re urgently waiting for a text, or your calendar app notifications keep you on schedule.
2. When you feel the urge to check your phone.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Inhale for 3 seconds, and exhale for 3 seconds. The urge usually disappears. If the urge is still there, take another deep breath. You should then have the willpower to return to your original task.
3. Delete all the social media apps.
This sounds like a drastic measure, but it isn’t. You’ll still can access social media sites through your phone’s Internet browser. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have mobile-friendly websites. Sure, the mobile web experience isn’t as seamless as the app experience. But it’s good enough to satisfy your occasional social media craving.
Plus, the extra step of opening your Internet browser app and typing in the site’s URL adds inconvenience to the process which will deter you from mindlessly checking your social media updates.
4. Delete every single game on your phone.
5. Delete all the apps you don’t use.
This will help you remove the clutter from your phone, and reduce the time you spend “exploring” your apps. Deleting your unused – or little-used – apps also frees up storage space, and improves your phone’s battery life and performance.
Tips 5 - 12
5. Set specific boundaries for smartphone usage.
Telling yourself that you should “use your phone less” isn’t effective, as that thought phrase is too general. Limit your phone usage, set specific boundaries. Here are some possible boundaries:
- No phone usage at mealtimes
- No phone usage in the restroom
- No phone usage at social events
- No phone usage during in-person conversations
- No phone usage in the bedroom
6. Mute your group chats.
This way, you won't get bombarded by messages throughout the day. The messages you receive from your group chats aren’t time-sensitive. So it’s fine if you only read them a few times a day.
7. Archive your inactive chats.
Smartphone users often scroll through dozens of chats before they find the one they’re looking for. In the long run, this wastes a lot of time. If the conversation has ended, archive it. If you currently have hundreds of chats in your messaging app’s home screen, take 10 minutes to go through them and archive the inactive ones.
After you’ve completed this process, you’ll probably be left with 5 to 10 active chats in your messaging app’s home screen. As such, you’ll spend less time processing your text messages, which will help you overcome your smartphone addiction.
8. Reply to text messages just three times a day.
Apart from urgent text messages from family and close friends, don’t reply immediately. I know the temptation to reply right away is great, but you must resist it. Why? It’s more efficient to reply to text messages in batches, rather than one at a time.
Recommend replying to messages once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once at night. This will save you time on the whole, and will prevent you from compulsively checking your phone for messages to reply to.
9. Turn off your phone before going to bed.
Turn off your phone before going to bed, and leave it to charge outside your bedroom. It can be tempting to use your phone in the middle of the night, but you won’t if it takes too much effort to even get to your phone.
10. Use an actual alarm clock.
It seems like everyone uses their phone as an alarm clock, right? Well, you can be different and use an actual alarm clock instead. This way, you’ll have no excuse not to practise Tip #9.
11. Before you start work, put your phone at least 10 feet away from you.
Better still, put your phone outside the room where you plan to work. To eliminate temptation completely, turn your phone off – or at least to airplane mode.
12. Use apps to track and restrict your smartphone usage.
These apps run in the background, so they won’t distract you.
Tips 13 -15
13. Wear a watch so you don’t need to check your phone for the time.
You probably use your phone to tell the time. But as You glance at your phone to see what time it is, you see a flood of Facebook notifications and text messages. You start going through them, and in the blink of an eye 15 minutes have gone by. And all you wanted to do was take two seconds to check the time.
14. Tell others about your decision and enlist their help.
If you tell others about your decision to break your smartphone addiction and ask for their help, you’re more likely to succeed. Here are a few ways you can do that:
Inform your friends and family about your decision, and ask them to check in with you once a week.
Before you get down to work, give your phone to a trusted friend or family member.
Tell your friend that every time you don’t stick to your plan, you’ll give her $10.
Find a friend who’s also addicted to his smartphone, and persuade him to join you in breaking the habit.
15. Lock your phone with an annoyingly long password.
Most people set a short password so they can unlock their phone quickly. But if you want to reduce your smartphone addiction, set a long password instead. Make it at least 15 characters long, and include symbols and uppercase letters.