Smartphones are the ultimate oxymorons. They were created to help us multitask and save time, but we waste hours upon hours on them every day. They help us stay connected, but we’re more lonely and disconnected than ever.
So, are you brave enough to break out of the 21st century’s mobile prison? You’ll find yourself with lots of free time to do the things that really matter, you’ll improve your relationships with friends and family, you’ll finally break free of the superficial and gossipy world of social media, and more.
Get ready to regain control of your life!
1. Use apps to track the time you spend on your phone
Ironically, the best way to wean yourself off your phone is to use an app. Download Checky or Moment to see how much time you actually spend on your phone. You might be shocked by the number of hours you actually spend thumbing through your device. Moment will even let you track the time you spend on each particular app.
Once you have this information in hand, use it to set restrictions on how you spend time on your phone.
2. Socialize without it
The sight of a group of friends ostensibly socializing, but each bent over their own device, has become so familiar it’s almost cliché. But, if you take a minute to think about it, being busy with your phone when you’re out with friends is like frankly telling them you’d rather be somewhere else. Seriously – how rude can you get?
Keep your phone out of sight when you’re spending time with family or friends. You might discover that socializing IRL totally kicks what you can do on-screen.
3. Ban it from your bedroom
Co-sleeping with your phone can really kill the quality of your shut-eye and keep you up a lot later than you’d like. The bright screen messes with your melatonin production, making it hard for you to drift off or fall back to sleep if you’ve woken up mid-dream. The endless distraction your phone provides can also keep you up for hours, and you’ll pay the price the next day when you’re trying to focus through half-lidded eyes.
Don’t be dependent on your phone’s alarm to pull you out of bed in the morning either. Instead, invest in a good old-fashioned alarm clock. It will do the job just fine.
Kick your phone out of bed and leave it charging overnight in another room. You’ll perform better on every level when you can get a full night’s sleep.
4. Delete a social media app – or all of them!
If smartphones are the ultimate time-waster, it’s social media that takes the blame for making them so absorbing. Waiting for our friends’ approval and likes can be addictive and give a false impression that we’re actually connecting meaningfully.
You don’t have to give up social media entirely, though you can if you’d like. But, if you limit your time spent on social media to when you’re sitting in front of a computer, you’ll drastically cut down on the hours you waste on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. Also, you won’t be picking up your phone every few minutes to check for the latest updates.
5. Spend your meals apart
Yes, you can actually enjoy a good meal without sharing it with your crowd of fawning Instagram followers. Stop snapping and focus on your food. You’ll make smarter meal choices and enjoy it more when you’re eating alone.
6. Give it the cold shoulder
Sometimes, you need to ignore someone or they just won’t go away. Be brave and turn off all notifications on your phone except for phone and text messages. You don’t really need to know every time a retailer sends you a promotional email or an app alerts you about something senseless. Every notification compels you to pick up your phone again. So, turn them off and you’ll be less inclined to waste time on your phone.
7. Prepare for withdrawal symptoms
Breaking up with a significant other is never easy. Scientists have found that phone addiction is very real – and so are the withdrawal symptoms people experience when they try to disengage from their devices. Be prepared for feelings of anxiety and restlessness for the first few days after you break up with your phone. Don’t worry; you’ll get over it soon.
8. Take your email off your phone
Unless you absolutely need to be reached via email at any time, there’s no reason to have email access on your phone. Most of us only skim through incoming emails on our phones and don’t respond to them until we’re sitting in front of a computer. The emails only distract us from whatever we’re doing at a given time. Keep your virtual mail on your computer for more freedom from your phone.
9. Leave it at home
Finally, if you’ve detached enough from your phone that you no longer feel like you’re missing a limb if it’s not within your reach, start going out without your phone. You’ll experience the true freedom of being able to live and breathe in the moment with no distractions on hand.
Break up with your phone and you’ll discover the liberation of owning your time and connecting meaningfully once again.
Your Turn: Have you broken up with your phone? Tell us about the impact this decision has had on your life in the comments below.