Mobile phones have become an integral part of our daily lives. Even though affordable mobiles have made it easier to communicate, to work remotely and improved our lives in many ways, they also have a dark side. Smartphone addiction is all too real for many people. With that in mind, today I”m discussing ways to break your smartphone addiction.
Ways to Break your Smartphone Addiction
You might be addicted to your smart phone if you cannot go anywhere without your phone, or go for more than ten minutes without checking it for notifications. Other signs of smart phone addiction include feeling phantom vibrations coming from your phone when your phone is in fact still, or checking your phone being the first thing you do when you get up in the morning or the last thing you do before going to sleep. This smartphone addiction can be detrimental to your lifestyle, your relationships, and your health.
If this sounds all too real, don’t worry! Here are some top tips and advice for breaking your smart phone addiction.
Be Conscious of Your Addiction
The first step to controlling your smart phone addiction is being aware that you have a problem. The good news is, if you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already taken this critical first step!
Smartphone addiction is a behavioural addiction, as opposed to a substance addiction such as being addicted to caffeine, alcohol or illicit drugs. This kind of addiction becomes problematic when it influences how you behave through uncontrollable urges and compulsions.
Understanding these urges and how they occur in your own individual addiction will help you to set up blocks and barriers to control your behaviour. For example, if you know that you rely on your phone when you are anxious, lonely or bored, put in place alternative behaviours that you can follow in these situations.
Physical roadblocks are also helpful here. For example, you can put something on your phone, say a hair tie that prompts you to rethink every time you reach for your phone. Once you register this prompt, you should ask yourself “why am I picking up my phone?”. If you don’t have a legitimate answer this will be your cue to do something else.
Monitor your Smart Phone Use
In order to really understand your addiction and know how to break it, you should track your smart phone use. This will allow you to know your behaviours and set goals for your usage. Spend a few days noticing how often you use your phone, for what purpose and how much time you spend on it each time.
There are some useful apps that will allow you to do this, or you can even use the low-tech approach and write this down on a piece of paper each time. Just make sure that you are honest and accurate in what you record! You will probably be shocked by just how much time you’re spending on your phone, and this will help to motivate you to make changes when you think about what you could be doing with that time instead!
Create Smartphone-free Zones
In order to create more time away from your smartphone… You should make designated times or situations that are smartphone free, when you will not look at your phone. For example, you may ban yourself (and your family members) from using your phone at dinner.
To avoid temptation, you may want to turn your phone off, put it in a drawer or leave it at home if your designated activity is outside the home. It’s worth considering when kids should have smartphones before you give in to peer pressure and get them their own, too.
Make a Schedule
As well as setting limits for yourself about when you’re forbidden to use your phone… You can also set a schedule for when you are allowed to pick up your phone. Schedule set usage periods will help you to be more efficient at work. It allows you to focus on the important thing in life, rather than picking up your phone every five minutes.
You could set an alarm on your phone for when you’re allowed to check your phone. Or alternatively, give yourself five minutes every hour at a set time, for example.
Use Detox Apps
There are some tools on your phone that can help you to manage your smartphone addiction. These are apps that allow you to set boundaries for your phone usage, and force you to stick to them. For example, Space is an app that helps you to work out how much you use your phone, as well as the behaviours and triggers that enable your addiction. This app is free on both Android and iOS.
“Moment” is another useful app for iOS which helps you break your smartphone addiction. Firstly, it allows you to track the time you’re spending on your phone. Additionally, it will notify you when you reach the time limit you’ve already set for yourself. It also allows you to see the apps that take the most of your time. Finally, “Freedom” is a paid app on iOS that lets you block certain apps and websites. Or if you prefer, you can block your internet connection entirely, during certain time limits.