Recent statistics on phone addiction can be shocking to read. According to a study done by dscout, people touch their cell phones 2,617 times a day.
Research has shown people spend 3.07 hours on their phones daily. Among 18 to 29 year olds, 22% of them check their phones every few minutes. Surprisingly, most people who check their phones do it without being prompted by a notification.
With smartphone usage continuing to rise within our society, there are many harmful effects rising as well. Among them include:
After reading all of these statistics, you might think it’d be the easiest to decision to stop using them so much. Unfortunately, unplugging from technology can be very difficult.
Smartphones provide us many options of things to do that it can be hard to not get addicted to them. We can access a whole world of information on them at the press of a button.
Sometimes that can be good, such as reading this self-help article. Other times it can be bad, such as spending hours on end scrolling through social media.
So, what can we do to keep our cell phone use to a minimum? Here are some ideas you can use to help curb your cell phone habit.
1. Put your phone aside one day of the week
A common way people limit their cell phone use is picking one day a week to put their phone away for the day. Choose a day where you won’t be needing it for work, school, or other tasks.
Be sure to let your family and friends know you’re doing this. You can give them an alternative way to reach you in case of emergencies.
2. Figure out if you have any underlying issues
Healthline notes that there's research which concludes people compulsively use their phones to avoid issues in their life. It's recommended that people consider what deeper issues are bothering someone in life. Resolving the issue could make you feel less desire to check your phone all the time.
3. Try the 30-day reset challenge
Under the 30-day challenge reset challenge, you need to only use your phone for texting and calling. Avoid using all of the apps on it.
At the end of the 30 days, you might become so used to this as your normal, you won’t feel like being on your phone so much. In that time, you may realize you’ve enjoyed putting your time towards more inspiring and useful tasks.
4. Try cognitive behavioral therapy
The same Healthline article also noted that CBT can be a useful treatment. A study found that it can help balance changes in brain chemistry that are associated with cell phone addiction.
5. Create a text auto-responder
If you're concerned about not responding immediately when you received a text, set up a text auto-responder. Whenever you take a break, turn it on, so that way you won't feel any stress or guild for not responding.
6. Don’t charge the phone in your bedroom
As tempting as it may be to keep charging your phone in your bedroom, avoid doing it to limit yourself from using it. It can potentially help you with having better sleep by not seeing the blue light on your screen before you go to bed.
7. Try productivity apps to help you have self-control
Just as there are apps for getting car rides and renting rooms, there are apps that’ll help you have self-control too. Here are few you might like:
- Flipd – It uses a lock screen that’s on a timer to help you not use distracting apps.
- Forest – You earn credits not using your phone and get a chance to plant real trees with them.
- Offtime – It shuts down everything except important contacts you’ve white listed.
- Appdetox – It locks your apps and also reminds to take a break from them.
- Space – You can set phone use goals and track your progress
- Freedom – Block all websites and apps while you work
- Moment – Similar to Fitbit, it tracks the amount of time you use your phone and helps you create daily limits
8. Change phone settings
It can be very difficult not to pick up your phone whenever you hear it buzz or ping. I’ve found myself at times thinking I heard it buzz and checking it instinctively like a dog in Pavlov’s experiment.
You can limit your urge to check your phone by turning off all your notifications. You can still keep on direct messages if need be.
Additionally, you can change your screen to greyscale so the colors don’t keep you drawn into your phone as long. Other tactics you can utilize include setting a longer passcode, turning on do not disturb, and using airplane mode.
Remember that your attention is valuable, and tech companies will do almost anything to get it. There’s crazy stuff out there about how they design our phones to be addictive.
9. Make it difficult to use your smartphone
When we have our devices in our pockets, purses, or next to our nightstands, we make it too easy to pick it up and start scrolling on it. I can’t remember where I learned this concept, but there’s the idea if you add a little bit of friction or deterrence to something, people are less likely to do it.
We’re a society that tends to do things if they’re easy, and not do things if they require a little work. By putting your device in another room or locking it away, you can make it just enough work to stop you from going through the trouble of checking it. Even something as simple as putting a hairband around your phone might be enough of a deterrence to limit your use.
10. Focus on your intrinsic values
If one of the pillars of addiction to smartphones is materialism, then we have to know how to be less materialistic. In an article titled, How to Let Go of Materialism, a study found that getting people to focus more on their intrinsic values helps them to be less materialistic.
Examples of intrinsic values can include contributing to your community, developing close relationships with family and friends, and self-growth. In the study, participants were encouraged to define what’s intrinsically valuable to them, and to make financial decisions based on those values.
As a result of doing these things, the participants became less materialistic and even developed higher self-esteem as a result. One other thing to note from the research was that having social support from others striving to do the same thing was also the key to decreasing materialism.
With decreased materialism, you won’t feel the need to have the latest smartphone. You'll be less obsessed with constantly using the latest apps that are developed.
11. Do mindfulness
One of the best ways you could quell your impulse to check your cell phone is through mindfulness. It’s the idea of bringing your attention to the present moment, and observing without judgment.
You can focus on your urges, your thoughts, your emotions, and just how your body is feeling in general. Recognize what the compulsion is that you’re feeling, and practice self-coaching yourself through phrases such as “I need to be calm” or “try to relax”.
Be encouraging, compassionate, and supportive with the inner-voice you use to speak to yourself. The goal isn’t necessarily to try to get rid of your desire to use your cell phone.
It’s more so to just learn to accept you may have that desire, but you also have the power to just let it pass. One practice you can look into for controlling your cell phone desires is urge surfing.
12. Do calming activities
You may have the urge to check your phone constantly because it’s become your way to calm your stress in life.
You could take a walk outside in nature or listen to music that relaxes you.
There are a number of relaxation techniques that can reduce your stress in life, and make you feel less of an urge to look at your device.
13. Delete apps that are addictive
The less reason you have to look at your phone, the less likely you’re going to use it. Whatever app you use the most on it, consider deleting it.
Whether it’s the Facebook app, Instagram app, or a bunch of games you play too much, try deleting them from your phone for a few days. If you feel more in control of your phone usage after a few days, you can consider adding some of them back.
14. Schedule more time with those you care about
One of the main reasons we use our phones is just to be able to talk people. We’re able to get in communication with others practically anytime of the day now.
Perhaps getting back to meeting up with your family and friends more will result in less need to seek social interaction through your phone. While it’s not as easy as in these times, it will be again soon.
Until then, take any necessary precautions you need to before meeting up with others. It may also help you to just practice enjoying being alone.
Even if you’re an extrovert who’s energized by socializing with others, you don’t always need that interaction. If you’re unsure of what to do, this article on being happy alone might be helpful to you.
15. Get over your fear of missing out
Learn to be okay with potentially missing out on things. Most of the time we check our phones, we realize there was nothing worth checking. Here are some good tips on how to overcome fear of missing out.
We all have the power to be the boss of our lives. Use that power to free yourself from your phone, and enjoy your life more again.