Being connected 24/7 has gradually taken over our lives. The launch of smartphones made it even worse by giving us the possibility to be connected, when we want and wherever we want.
What about you? Are you glued to your screen? If you think you are the only person struggling with a smartphone addiction, you are wrong. It’s a problem that affects a lot of people of all ages and nationalities. 53% of US teens admit they can’t go without their smartphone for more than a day and 42% of US smartphone owners check their phone in the first 5 minutes after waking up. We spend a lot of time on our phone, with smartphone users from Brasil in first place by averaging 4 hours and 48 minutes a day.
I recently started a digital detox. It’s not easy, but the rewards are amazing!
- I feel more relaxed
- I have more time to read, relax and spend time in my cocoon
- I don’t feel bad about wasting time on my phone anymore
If you think you are also having trouble with staying away from your smartphone, we recommend you try a digital detox. Use our plan to make sure you stop your lousy smartphone habits for good.
Step 1: define your ‘time wasters’.
I am sitting on the couch after dinner, frantically scrolling on my smartphone. You might wonder what I am doing. It must be something important, right? My kitchen counter is still full of dirty dishes. I suddenly realize I have been squandering my time on Facebook for the last 45 minutes and now I still have to do all my dishes.
We all have different moments where we waste time on social media, checking our mail or browsing the web. We tell ourselves we are just having a moment to ourselves. That it is something relaxing to do. We have to be cautious that it isn’t taking too much of our precious time.
If you want to stop wasting time, find out where you lose the most time with your smartphone usage, so you know when to be extra alert. Mine where:
- After dinner
- Immediately after waking up
Step 2: Check what apps or websites get you hooked. Delete or block them.
We didn’t tell you this was easy. Deleting apps may seem a bit rigorous, but it is very effective. Even if you delete them temporary! Let’s start with finding out which apps you use the most. If you only use one or two apps during your time-wasting activities, it is easy. Do you use lots of apps? There is an app for that 😂.
Moment is a great app to get insight on your phone usage. It tells you how much time you spend on your device, gives an overview of where you spend that time and trains you how to use your phone less. You can even set limits for yourself or family members.
If the idea of deleting your favorite apps terrifies you, there is another option. There are apps that limit your available time on apps and gives you warnings when you are using an app too long. One of these apps is called AppDetox. You can set your own rules for all your apps. This way you can still use your favorite apps, but AppDetox will protect you from wasting your time.
Step 3: Set up an evening protocol and stick to it
This step takes some serious self-discipline and might be the hardest step in this digital detox. Pick a time after which you don’t use your phone. Let’s say you go to sleep at 11 pm every night. Put away your phone after 9 pm to ensure you get some downtime and a good night’s sleep.
If the thought of this step scares you, just try it for one night. You’ll be amazed how relaxed you’ll feel and how much extra time you can spend on doing nice things for yourself or your family.
Step 4: Remove your devices from your bedroom (and get yourself a normal alarm clock)
If you are a hardcore addict, you’ll check your phone right after waking up and right before you fall asleep. You are not alone in this, as this graph shows.
Using your phone right before you go to sleep is a bad idea. Seeing light at night messes with your biological clock. The blue light from your phone is the worst type of light to have at night.
Blue wavelengths—which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood—seem to be the most disruptive at night. – Harvard Health Publishing
Using your phone right after you wake up also has its downsides. It catapults you right into action mode and takes away your chance at a slow and relaxed start of your day.
My main problem with removing my phone from my bedroom was that it also functioned as my alarm clock. I’ve solved this problem by getting a normal alarm clock. I choose a digital alarm clock, so the ticking of the clock wouldn’t keep me awake. By using an alarm clock I can keep my phone out of my bedroom.
Step 5: Keep your phone in your bag and/or mute notifications when you are with friends or family
It’s a Thursday afternoon and my friends and I just found an empty table at the restaurant where we want to eat. I grab a chair and look up to start a conversation with my friends when I discover they are ALL staring at their phone.
Are you constantly checking your phone when you are with friends or family?
You are not the only one. We touch our phones thousands of times a day as you can see in this image.
There are some ways to change this habit:
- Turn of your notifications
- Keep your phone in your bag, so you can’t see it
- If you need to have your phone on the table because you are expecting a call, lay the phone on its screen so you can’t see notifications
- Agree with your family or friends that everyone leaves their phone in the same place. You can put them in a bowl and put that out of sight, or just ask them to put it on a table outside of the room where you are staying.
Bonus Tip for iPhone users! 🎁
We came across this weird tip from one of the senior editors of The Atlantic. You can turn your iPhone to greyscale so everything on your phone will be displayed in grey only. This way Facebook and Instagram will look a lot less attractive!
Do you have some tips yourself? Share them in the comments.
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