Are you sick of your phone sometimes? Have you ever tried to set it aside while you work but notice that your hand unconsciously spider crawls back across your desk to pick it up? Does your phone feel like work instead of play?
Many people feel the same way—a little uncomfortable with how much they use their phones.
Sure, it’s almost unimaginable to live without a smartphone. But there is a name for things you feel like you can’t live without—addiction.
Here are some ways to reduce the amount of time you spend staring into the black mirror.
Turn off Notifications
If your phone isn’t constantly reminding you to pick it up, your usage is much easier to regulate. All those little noises are ways your phone lures you to look at it. This reinforcing mechanism builds the feeling of addiction. Usually, those notifications are not a matter of urgency.
Social media and gaming apps will let you turn notifications off. Do that, now. We can wait until you’re finished.
Put Your Phone on “Do Not Disturb”
This is a great little trick that most cell phones have the ability to do. When you place your phone on Do Not Disturb, your calls and texts will not be shown as a notification (so as not to tempt you). You can schedule certain hours to place your phone on DND, while in the car driving, and you can even choose an “auto-reply” message to go to whoever is messaging you to let them know your phone is on DND. You can allow calls from your “favorites” list, and repeated calls will also make a sound, so you don’t have to worry about missing a call from someone important.
Your Attention is Valuable
Your attention span is monetized. Many platforms don’t sell products anymore—they sell advertising. An advertiser wants to see metrics for how much time a user spends on a platform. Then they pay the platform more if the users stay longer.
The old saying is true—time is money. The more time you spend looking at what other people want you to look at, the more your time is other people’s money. When you realize this, you can start making decisions about who you want to benefit from your attention.
Create areas where your phone isn’t allowed to follow you. The easiest two places are your bedroom and dining table. Give yourself some time alone or spend some quality time with loved ones, minus the constant attention-seeking behavior of your phone.
Your bedroom is one of the best places to do this. Consider turning your phone off entirely before you go to sleep or putting it in a different room. You might even wait a while after waking up to turn it back on again if your schedule allows.