Have you noticed lately how many people are participating in a phone detox? It seems like every day I read another story or post about someone taking a week-long vacation from their phone. As we begin to recognize the stress and anxiety that goes hand-in-hand with social media addiction, I think we all understand the need to cull our phone use in order to clear the mind, reduce anxiety, and recenter ourselves to what’s important.
Here are my ten tips for how I reduce my phone use on a daily basis:
1. Delete all the apps that are time suckers
Months ago, after realizing I was scrolling my phone for HOURS on Facebook, my husband suggested I ditch the app entirely and delete it off my device. Within one day – GUYS, ONE DAY – I stopped going on Facebook altogether! This is the single most powerful thing you can do to get out of the loop of social media addiction. Delete the apps, and there literally won’t be anything to do on your phone.
Benefits: At least 3 hours back in your day.
2. Do not check your phone before bed
Though sometimes I slip up, I find that I sleep 75% better if I do not look at my phone before bed. For some people that means they need to leave it in another room, but for me, I will click the side button to check the time, plug it into my charger and not look at it until I check the time in the morning. The blue light that the phone emits makes it harder to fall asleep, but the stress from social media can also keep us from reaching our deepest sleep. So instead, I read. Every time I read in bed for about an hour or so, I have some of the best rest of my life.
Benefits: Time savings of 1 hour a day, but immeasurable sleep improvement.
3. Leave it behind
If I’m in the process of doing something where I need to fully focus, or where I want to truly relax, I leave my phone in another room. I get a lot of texts and social media messages, and the best way to keep me from continually being interrupted is to just not have it. I find that out of sight, out of mind works in this case.
Benefits: Fewer interruptions.
4. Use “do not disturb”
There’s a great little trick in the Settings of your phone, and it’s called Do Not Disturb. This setting will keep your phone from ringing or buzzing whenever you set it. I have it on automatically between the hours of 11 pm, and 8 am so I never get woken up by messages or emails. You also have the option to turn it on at any time. You can enable filters that let certain people contact you (in case of emergency), but it will keep all the messages and pop-up alerts at bay. I like to use this when I’m at a spa, getting acupuncture, or in the bath.
Benefits: Deeper sleep and pure relaxation.
5. Turn off notifications
Every app wants to send you notification and alerts so that you’ll come back and spend time on their platform. But guess what? If you’re always being reminded to play this game or look at this new post, you will literally never get anything done for yourself. So head into the settings again and be sure to turn off “push notifications” from every app you use. You don’t need to know about the latest video from Pusheen the Cat unless you really want to.
Benefits: Reduced anxiety from interruptions, and more time for deeper focus.
6. Use a time tracker
There are a lot of ways to keep track of how much time you’re spending on your phone. Apps like Moment and Checky are great ways to see how much you’re really using the device, where your time is spent, and how much you are checking your phone. Apps are designed to call us back (I should know – I worked on a few with my husband) but we’re never as aware of our time usage until we confront the numbers directly. Hold on to your seat, because you’re in for a scary reality check!
Benefits: Scared straight into using your phone less.
7. Do More Things in the Real World
I completely forget about my phone when I’m doing tangible things I enjoy, like exercising, playing with my cat, and doing puzzles. Whether it’s reading, doing a hobby, or a fun art project, using your hands in some way helps you reduce the itch to look at your phone, alleviates stress and makes you think, “hey, why do I even need that tiny computer screen anyway?”
8. Choose calls over texts
I kind of hate text messages. When I’m feeling anti-social, it is my ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card. I don’t need to talk for hours at a time – I can just send someone a teeny message that says hello. But, unfortunately, it’s just not the same as a real connection. So I encourage you to text less and call more. That way conversations don’t linger over several days, leaving you checking your phone regularly to see if the person has replied yet. Better yet, meet someone in person and be off the phone entirely. You’ll never regret it!
Benefits: Real connection.
9. Do not check your phone in the morning
I read some article somewhere that asked if you thought “Beyoncé woke up and checked her phone each morning?” And the answer was an obvious no. The best way to start your morning is to have your own agenda, which means giving yourself time to figure out what your goals are for that whole day. If you spend your time on your phone scrolling social media, texting, or reading emails, chances are you are using your time serving someone else’s agenda. Take the morning for yourself and set your intentions for a better day.
Benefits: Accomplish more in the day with less distraction and comparison.
10. Get outside and refocus
Nothing quite does the trick to make me unplug entirely than being outside. From the chirp of the birds to the crunch of leaves beneath my feet, as I take a hike or walk around a park, I feel the stress and tension literally melt from my shoulders. Early man spent all his time in the outdoors, and so it’s no surprise that it feels like coming home. Take a two-day camping trip where there’s no service, go for a hike, or just enjoy sitting outside on your patio and listening to the crickets. There’s nothing quite like nature to get you relaxed and refocused.
Benefits: Fresh air, clear head, and wilderness induced happiness.
While I don’t think I’m someone so addicted to my phone that I need to detox from it, I do think it’s a constant battle to stay vigilant against social media and iOS addiction. Therefore I will be installing Moment immediately and getting to know the real amount of time I’m wasting on my phone. Because isn’t that the truth? In the end, it is kind of just wasted time.
How do you manage your phone time and what tricks do you use to keep you off your phone? Share with me in the comments below!