Smartphones are pretty amazing. But when your grandmother tells you to put your phone away at the dinner table, maybe you should listen to her.
Smartphone addiction is a real thing! We obsessively check our smartphones when we’re talking, working, walking, and driving, even though we know we shouldn’t. We just can’t help it! But you know what they say: recognizing you have a problem is the first step to fixing it, so congrats on reading this far. Here are 10 tips you can use to help you kick your smartphone addiction, reclaim your place in the real world, and possibly even venture outside without a phone glued to your hand (thanks a lot, Pokemon Go).
Don’t use your phone in bed
Studies show that using your smartphone in bed is not a great idea to begin with, because the blue light messes with your sleep hormones. So the first step to kicking your smartphone addiction is to make your bed a phone-free zone. Seriously, for your health. The first few nights will be hard, but eventually you will go from the above picture to this:
Get a real alarm clock
It’s tempting to reach for your phone first thing in the morning, especially if your phone is the thing that woke you up. Banish temptation and decrease the risk of expensive smartphone ‘accidents’ by dropping $10 on a real alarm clock.
Make meals a phone-free zone
Challenge yourself to make non-smartphone-enhanced conversation with friends and family members for an hour or more. No cheating! If someone mentions a funny image they saw on Reddit, make them describe it using words and/or a pen and paper.
It’s a bonding exercise!
Turn off notifications
No notifications = no reason to check your phone. In theory, anyway.
Delete unnecessary apps
Most of the apps on your phone are probably just clutter, anyway.
Plus, imagine how productive you’d be if you weren’t checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, six email accounts, and Reddit all the time.
Complicate your lock code
You can’t check your phone if you can’t get into your phone! Set up your phone to lock immediately, and make your lock code a password (not a PIN or a pattern). Include both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Make it 18 characters long.
Focus on the person you’re talking to
Make a conscious effort to keep your phone out of your hands during real-life conversations. Focus on the person you’re with. Really focus.
(Eventually you may make them uncomfortable enough that they’ll leave and you can check your phone.)
Put your phone on airplane mode
If turning off your notifications doesn’t work (maybe you’re getting some phantom phone vibrations), try turning off your connection to the Internet. All of the Internet. No service = no reason to check your phone.
Have a phone-free day once a week
Once a week, do something crazy and leave your phone at home. For an entire day (maybe half a day if you’re just getting started). Go outside! Read maps! Drive without GPS! Go wild!
Then come back and catch up on all the emails and texts you missed.
Take it slow
Remember: The goal is to curb your smartphone addiction, not go completely Stone Age. Quitting your smartphone and the Internet cold turkey will likely get you lost and fired and will lead to a quick relapse.
This may surprise you, but there is a middle ground between checking your phone 3,165 times a day and not owning a smartphone at all.