Less Phone Time to Spend More Time Living
Trust me, this appalling fact will have you wanting to spend less time on your phone.
Am I the only one that finds this number startling?! Some quick math says that’s more than 61 FULL DAYS every year spent on your phone. WOWZA.
I mean, phone technology has made our lives so much easier. We can connect with loved ones, check our email at a moment’s notice, and even use it to get to any place we need. It does everything!
And yet, our phones are also sneaky. They were created to be slot machines in our pockets. Not only do they give us intermittent reinforcement (did I just get a message?!), but they play into our need to be socially accepted.
It’s why it’s so easy to check just one thing while in line at the store, or waiting for food.
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It’s also why you look up 45 minutes later and wonder where the time has gone.
And finally, it’s why you go out in public and notice people spending the entire time on their phones instead of with their friends or family
The dopamine we receive from every like and newsfeed is a powerful force (for more on this, skip to the powerful video clip at the bottom!).
So what do we do?
We fight it to the best of our ability. As we make sure that we control our technology and it doesn’t control us. It’s time to take back our autonomy.
1. THE MOMENT APP
LESS PHONE. MORE LIFE.
The first day I had this free app, It alerted me that I had picked up my phone 10 times by 8:30 am, and I threw my phone down in reflex.
I mean, why in the world was I picking up my phone that much?
The app monitors my pickups and tells me daily how much time I’ve spent on the phone. You can even set goals to help cut down on screen time!
I highly recommend it if you’re looking to become more aware of your phone usage in general. But I also warn you. The number may surprise you.
And I challenge you to do the simple math to see how many hours that is in a year. I believe that it helps put it into perspective!
2. MAKE APPS LESS OBVIOUS
The apps on our phone make it ridiculously easy to check anything at the click of a button. Companies designed this because it creates an automatic, impulsive habit to check-in.
To counteract the engineering, first, delete any apps that either don’t bring you TRUE value or you have a constant check-in problem with.
Second, delete impulsive apps every few days or once a week. Make it so that you occasionally have to log in and you’ll be less tempted to open the app for no reason.
And finally, turn off your notifications! Those things suck you in faster than you realize.
Related Post: How To Build Better Habits, From The Expert
3. PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY
What parts of your day do you want to be present for?
Maybe you need to focus at work or want to be there for your kids.
To spend less time on your phone during these times, put it in a closed cabinet or completely separate room. If you need it, set an alarm that reminds you to put your phone away during that time block.
Need help putting your phone somewhere? Try this very pretty box…
Or, if you need something a little more intense…. I mean, my kids would think this is awesome!
4. HAVE “NO PHONE” ZONES
Give yourself guidelines so that you don’t have to only go off of willpower. Instead, make it so that there are known off-limit spots in your home.
Here are a few great ideas for NO PHONE Zones/Times:
- The Dinner table
- Car rides
- Walking with family/friends
- When out to dinner
- Children bedrooms
Related Post: 15 Easy Ways To Sneak In Quality Time With Your Child
5. TELL OTHERS
Set a great example! Let your family know that you’ll be working on less phone usage!
My small kids keep my husband and me more accountable than I would have believed.
No kids? Tell your roommate or coworker so they can give you a gentle reminder if you need it.
6. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE
I know, this one is tough. But, it is extremely effective.
I turn my phone off around 9 or 9:30 every night when I’m home. It’s far too much work to turn it back on just to check something, so it’s a liberating time of day for me.
If that’s too much, simply try putting it on airplane mode during your bedtime routine.
Related Post: How To Get The Best Sleep of Your Life
7. STOP USING IT FOR BOREDOM
And finally, a great way to live more is to fight the craving to check it every time you are bored.
If you know you’ll have time while waiting for your kids, take a book or journal. If you’re standing around at an event, strike up a conversation with someone.
It’s these small moments that can be ridiculously impactful in the grand scheme of things.
Bonus Tip! Digital Minimalism
Cal Newport, the author of Digital Minimalism advocates a 30-day detox from optional technologies. He says that to make real change, we must rewire our brains to let go of the constant feedback.
And after the challenge, you will have a clear perspective on the apps and online resources you really need.
If you need to make a drastic and lasting change, this is the way to go!
Something To Consider
Before you go, this talk from Simon Sinek explains a lot about the HUGE impact our phones have on our lives!
How will you spend less time on your phone this week? And what has worked for you in the past?
Further Resources For Help Limiting Screens
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
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