These days everyone is carrying a smartphone around, and according to a few reports published last year, an average person unlocks their phone around 110 to 150 per day. It has become difficult to even imagine spending a day somewhere and not bringing our phone with us. So many texts and emails to send and reply to, so many statuses to check on social networks, so many things to read… Have we become addicted? Well, we certainly spend lots of time and energy checking our phones instead of doing something useful. Although smartphone addiction is not as serious as substance abuse, it does disrupt the course of your daily activities, makes you less productive and more detached from the world around you… Breaking this addiction doesn’t mean that you should stop using your phone completely, just that you should not let it control you and your time. Is your constant use of smartphone disrupting your work or family life? Are you ready to stop that from happening? Here are a few effective tips to help you with that.
1. Turn off notifications
Smarphones are built in such a way that they make it possible for us to get a notification each time someone posts something in a group we’re in on Facebook, likes our photos or comments on something we wrote or posted. Each like on Instagram, message on Viber or WhatsApp, and all the notifications we receive from the applications we use tend to pop up on our smartphones constantly, interrupting us at what we do and leading us to switch the focus of our attention to the phone. These notifications significantly increase the amount of time you spend checking your phone and increase the chance of becoming (and staying) addicted. So a smart move would be to turn off your notifications. Of course, if you are expecting an important business email, don’t turn those notifications off, but for everything less relevant – do it. Those who really need to reach you urgently will pick up the phone and call you.
2. Uninstall unnecessary applications
If you can’t really stick to having your notifications off, uninstall the applications that lead you to spend hours on your phone. For instance, we know how interesting it can be to look at pictures and all sorts of stuff on Pinterest or Twitter, but is it really so urgent that you have to check them while you’re at work or hanging out with friends? Didn’t think so. Delete them. That doesn’t mean that you should stop checking your favorite blogs and websites, but do it at home, in your free time, and not while you’re supposed to do something else.
3. Put your phone outside your reach
Having your phone besides you at all times surely makes you want to check it constantly. So why wouldn’t you, for example, put it in a drawer at your office, or somewhere else outside your reach, but somewhere where you could still hear it if someone calls you? When you’re doing something that requires your full attention, whether it’s a work or family thing, you don’t want to spend that time and focus your attention to the meaningless things on your phone. So keep it away and commit yourself to spending quality time with people who deserve your undivided attention.
4. Find another way to deal with loneliness
Many people tend to check their phones, and spend time on social networks and looking at other people’s pictures when they’re lonely and don’t know what to do in their alone time. But there are so many things that you can do other than spending all the time on the phone and wasting it. For instance, you could take a relaxing bath or read an interesting book. You could take up a new hobby. You could call your friends and spend some quality time with them. Or you could go for a run or a walk. How do you think people spent their free time when there were no smartphones? Socialize with people face-to-face rather than talking to them over social networks – it is much healthier for you, and much more fulfilling.
5. Be disciplined
If you’ve decided that you want to break your smartphone addiction, set up some rules for yourself. For instance “I will not check my phone while I’m having coffee with my friends,” or “I will only check my phone once, for 2-3 minutes while I’m working”. Once you set strict rules, make sure you respect them. Discipline is extremely important when it comes to breaking addictions as well as accomplishing anything in life, so don’t disappoint yourself. Once you manage to follow your rules, you’ll be surprised and amazed at how much you can accomplish during the day when you’re not a slave to your smartphone.
6. Set up customized ringtones
If your phone is constantly ringing and preventing you from doing your job or spending time as you planned, one way to avoid that is to put your phone on silent mode. But if you’re expecting a call or there is one person whose call you’d always take, then set up a customized ringtone for that person, and you don’t need to even touch your phone unless you hear that tone.