What did we do before smartphones? We may have had to ask people for directions, but we also had a lot more mental capacity and focus, because we weren’t always checking our phones and getting distracted. Research has shown that people are becoming more and more dependent on their phones and also becoming increasingly anxious and depressed as they fear missing out on what everyone else is doing via social media.
While you can’t control what everyone else does, you can control your own phone use. And cutting down on the time you use your phone each day will save you wasted minutes that you could be spending on work, with friends and family or on your health and wellness. In addition, cutting down will give you more mental space to come up with new ideas, daydream and be grateful, rather than worrying about what the latest post is on Instagram.
Here are some tips on how to curb your phone use.
1. Keep your phone out of your bedroom, and get a regular alarm clock.
It’s pretty common for people to use their phone as their alarm clock, but all this does is make sure that your phone is the first thing that you see in the morning and that it sits next to your bed all night. One of the best ways to reduce your reliance on your phone is to get a regular alarm clock, then each night, plug your phone in to charge in your kitchen or office so that it’s out of your room entirely. That way you can be sure that you don’t check your phone from the bed and you don’t get sucked into notifications or issues that waste your time. This habit will be hard to break, but it’s definitely a worthy exercise to go through.
2. Turn off notifications on your apps, and set up time limits.
If you find that every time a bubble pops up on the screen of your phone and you’re drawn to it, then you should consider turning off all the “push notifications,” which are the messages you get telling you that you have an email, a text message, a social media direct message or other. In order to turn off your notifications on an iPhone, go to Settings >> Notifications, then turn them off for every app, except the ones you absolutely need to have on. Next up, you can also set up time limits for the apps that you use on your phone, and this will let you know that you’ve gone too far down the Facebook-scrolling hole or elsewhere. To set up the limits on an iPhone, go to Settings >> Screen Time >> App Limits.
3. Make your phone screen less appealing.
It’s not our fault that we’re drawn to colorful pictures, images and graphics on our phones. And that’s why it’s a great idea to change up the appearance of your phone screen, so you’re less likely to spend a lot of time there. Not only can you clean up your apps, by moving all of the social media or web apps that pull you in to the second or third screen (or put them in a folder, so it’s harder to get to them), you can also turn your screen into a grayscale — less colors, means less fun and entertainment. To make this change on an iPhone, go to Settings >> General >> Accessibility >> Display Accommodations >> Color Filter >> Grayscale.
Take a minute to choose one of the tips above, and implement it today!