We live in an age where almost everybody owns a smart phone. We use emails to communicate and social media to connect. Phones and social media may be what some would call a ‘necessary evil’. We need our phones and that’s a fact. But how do you know if you’re using your phone too much? When does your phone stop being a useful tool and starts to become an addiction?
I found myself asking these very questions recently and decided it was time to find out. So, interested to see just how much time I was spending on my phone each day I installed the moment app on my phone.
Moment is a free app which allows you to track your phone usage throughout the day, including how many minutes you spend on your phone and how many times you actually pick it up. Then it breaks it all down into a daily timeline.
I discovered that I was using my phone between two to three hours every day. Maybe not as bad as it could be but when I thought about all of the things I claim to never have time to get done…well, that’s a lot of wasted time. What surprised me the most though was that I was picking my phone up an average of 60 times a day! The majority of those times I spent less than a minute on my phone. So basically I was picking it up, looking at it and putting it straight back down again. That my friend is what you call a bad habit.
But how do you break the habit? How do you stop the urge to constantly check and scroll through your phone?
Here are some tips that I’ve been using and have found to be really useful for breaking my phone addiction:
Wear a watch: Someone gave me this tip a while back and it really does work. If you don’t wear a watch and rely on your phone to tell the time then I strongly suggest you put down the phone and go buy yourself a watch right now! This will stop you checking the time on your phone only to get distracted by those pesky little notifications. Speaking of notifications, if you haven’t already done so, turn them off!
Out of sight, out of mind: When at home, keep your phone in another room. I’ve started keeping my phone on top of the fridge, that way if it rings I can hear it from anywhere in the house but if I want to pick it up I have to literally reach to grab it. That physical act alone is enough to make me stop and think ‘do I really need to be doing that right now?’
Allocate times for phone use: To stop the constant phone checking consider allocating set times throughout the day in which you can use your phone. For example, a check in the morning, lunchtime and evening works for me. I also have a cut off time – at 9pm everyday my phone goes off, simple as that. I know if there’s some kind of emergency whoever would need to contact me would also have my husband’s number and can just call his phone instead.
The Big Cull: It has to be done and it has to be done regularly. One of my biggest time wasters was scrolling through Facebook, with the majority of stuff just being crap I wasn’t interested in ‘your friend likes this, here’s the same meme for the billionth time’ etc. So I went through and unfollowed a whole bunch of people and pages. I did the same with Instagram, only keeping those accounts I really love and engage with on a regular basis. Now my feeds are filled with the stuff I actually want to see.
Update the moment app: Moment has the option to update and use it to set daily phone use limits, block out screen free time and send yourself gentle reminders when your phone usage is getting particularly high. Very handy!
Like everything in life your phone needs to be used in moderation. I enjoy social media and don’t think I need to give it up. It’s just all about finding that balance and making sure that I’m staying present in real life and being productive with my time.
Do you think you’re addicted to your phone? Have any other useful tips to break the habit you’d like to share?