Smartphone are pretty great, well, aren’t they? But when your mother tells you to put down your phone at the dinner table, maybe you should listen to her.
Smartphone addiction is not a made up thing, it’s real! We obsessively check them no matter what we are doing, whether its talking, walking, eating and so forth, despite knowing that we shouldn’t. We just cannot help it! But since you are here it means you do recognize it as a problem, which is a first step toward solving any problem, so congrats on reading this far. In this article, I’ll give you ten suggestions/tips (or whatever you want to call it) to help you get rid of your Smartphone addiction, get back your place in the real world, and possibly even go outside without a phone glued to your hand.
Avoid Using Phone In Bed
I came across this article which says you should not use your Smartphone in bed as the blue light messes with your sleep hormones. So, in-order to get rid of your Smartphone addiction your first step should be to make your bed a phone-free zone. Along, with helping your Smartphone addiction, it will also keep you physically healthy. The first few nights will be hard, but you’ll eventually get used to it.
Get A Real Alarm Clock
It’s not easy to avoid using phone first thing in the morning, especially if its the thing that woke you up. Back in the days we used to have real alarm clocks, some people still have them. You can get yourself one too, trust me it wouldn’t cost you that much, probably $10 at best. By getting one not only will it help you to avoid the temptation of using phone first thing in the morning, but it will also decrease the risk of expensive Smartphone ‘accidents.’
Make Meals A Phone-Free Zone
As said above, when your mother tells you to put down your phone at the dinner table, maybe you should listen to her. Instead of using your phone try to have non-smartphone-enhanced conversation with friends and family members during meals such as try to describe the funny image that you saw on Facebook or Instagram using your words.
Turn Off Notifications
Let’s admit we all get an euphoric sensation when we hear our notification sound. Well, whenever this happens, a dopamine release is triggered in our brains, a chemical that creates feelings of pleasure. It’s an essential part of our brain’s rewards system, which is why it’s also gets blamed for addiction.
Turning off notifications also makes sense, since, if you have no notifications then you will have no reason to check your phone every five minutes. So, turn off notifications and instead check your phone after every hour or two, this way you will not miss on important notifications and will also be able to kick your smartphone addiction.
Delete Unnecessary Apps
There are probably more than one apps on your phone that you have not used even once in a week, meaning most of them are just clutter anyway. As mentioned above, you should use a real alarm clock instead of your phone, this is not only true for the alarm clock but also for other things too such as calculators, calendars, cameras, notebooks and so forth.
So, delete all these apps from your phone and replace them with physical tools. Remember, the key is to reduce phone unlocking as much as possible to prevent getting unintentionally pulled into the digital vortex.
Complicate Your Lock Code
You can’t check your phone if you can’t get into your phone! I know this one might sound a little crazy but it will surely help, so, set up your phone to lock after every 2 or 5 sec, and make your lock code a password (not a 4 number PIN or a pattern). Make the password very strong by including both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Make it ten plus characters long. Doing all this will make opening your phone a herculean task and will thus discourage you from frequently opening it.
Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends
As mentioned earlier, the first step toward solving any problem is to first recognize it as a problem.
Admitting to your friends and family that you want to reduce your phone usage can create a necessary feedback system. You may be making a conscious effort to keep your phone out of your hands but it’s very easy to forget all that and start scrolling through the screen during a family gathering, now, you may not notice this but others do. The people around you can call you out to bring you back to the present moment. So, ask your friends and family to hold you accountable.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many other popular mobile apps comes with infinite scrolling functions, where you can consume a never-ending feed of information.
One can easily lose track of time when going through such an endless stream of interesting posts as nothing holds our attention better than the unknown. Our brains kind of get addicted to trying to predict what’s next and, like a loose slot machine, the infinite scroll gives you a quick and easy access to something called variable rewards (that’s what the psychologists call it).
I know it’s not easy to live without social media apps, but try deleting the apps that have infinite scroll & instead only access them via a computer and see how much time you can earn back.
Turn Your Phone To Grayscale
Have you heard the phrase “Color Psychology” before? Widely used in marketing and branding, it is the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior. Marketers see color as important, as it can influence a consumers’ emotions and perceptions about goods and services.
Red is the most emotionally intense color and stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing, a reason why that little red notification bubble has been able to control us for so long. Turning your phone to black and white can help reduce the urge you have to view new notifications that pulls you down into the infinite scrolling vortex.
Take It Slow
One very important thing that you should always remember is that aim of doing all the above things is to curb your smartphone addiction, not go completely Stone Age. Quitting your phone and the Internet cold turkey is not a good idea, it will likely get you lost (and may be fired from your job too) and will ultimately lead to a quick relapse.
Now, it may come as a surprise to you, but there is a middle ground between checking your phone 2000 times a day and not owning a smartphone at all. So, try to keep everything balanced.
Thank you for reading!