It seems that it is time to make an effort to cut down our phone usage. Most Americans spend more than five hours a day staring at their smartphones.
If you are clocking the recommended eight hours of rest each evening, that means that almost one-third of your 16 waking hours is consumed by phone usage. This marks a 20 percent increase in mobile phone use since 2015, prompting many to question: Am I too obsessed with my smartphone?
The Center for Internet Addiction reports that technology addicts are more likely to suffer from conditions like depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances and social phobia. With tech addiction becoming a growing concern, it’s time to start curbing that internet habit, so here are several tips on how to reduce your phone usage.
Track Your Phone Usage
Though this step may seem counterintuitive, using your phone to track your phone use can help you to realize exactly how much time you spend using your phone, and how many your phone habits are insignificant wastes of time.
The app Checky allows you to track the number of times that you check your phone daily. The total number is often surprising, but knowing the average number of times you unlock and use your phone each day will give you a starting point to work backward from.
Simply being aware of the fact that there is a running tally going should cause you to pause and ask yourself if you really need to check Twitter yet again.
In addition to tracking the number of times you check your phone, it is also useful to know how long you spend on it at a time. The app Moment tracks the duration of specific tasks, like the length of time you spent on Facebook or the number of minutes spent texting.
After mapping out how often and for how long you use your phone, you can reduce your phone usage by setting restrictions on your personal smartphone habits.
Don’t Bring Your Phone into the Bed, Bath or Beyond
Most smartphone users take their phones with them everywhere, including into bed with them, but this habit causes several issues. First, using your phone as your alarm clock encourages phone dependency since it becomes the last thing you see at night and the first thing you set eyes on in the morning.
In fact, it is commonplace to begin scrolling through a newsfeed immediately after shutting off the alarm. Break the habit or sleeping and waking with your phone by either using an old school, freestanding alarm clock or by banning the phone from the bedroom altogether.
Another way to par down unnecessary phone usage is to also declare the bathroom a “phone free zone.” Granted, people spend a good amount of time in the restroom otherwise indisposed, but is dragging your cell phone along with you really necessary?
The old fashioned way to pass the time in the commode has traditionally been to use a book or magazine, so returning to our roots in this regard could help you cut down on internet time as well as improve on sanitary practices. Put your phone down until after you’ve washed your hands.
Beyond the bedroom and bathroom, including the dining room on the list of rooms of which to leave your phone outside. If you are eating with others, traditionally it is considered rude to stare endlessly at your phone’s screen rather than grace them with your conversation. A bonus to making meal time internet-free is that it reduces the risk of a wine-soaked smartphone.
Do Use Do Not Disturb
The Do Not Disturb mode on your phone is one of the simplest strategies for cutting down on your phone usage. On Android phones, you have several Do Not Disturb options. You can choose to suppress all notifications, including phone calls and text messages, or you can allow calls and texts from starred contacts to come through. Another option is to set scheduled times to engage Do Not Disturb, maybe during certain hours when you should be asleep or when you’ve committed to eating with company.
To set Do Not Disturb options, swipe down on the notification pane and flip to the quick settings. The “Notifications” slot is indicated by a bell icon and when you select it, a separate panel will open. From here you can adjust the volume of notifications or enable Do Not Disturb, as well as set the schedule you prefer.
A basic Do Not Disturb setting only allows the user to block notifications, but the Android settings make it so the notifications are not blocked, they are just hidden until the user decides to see them. By breaking the habit of looking at your phone every single time it makes a sound, you will likely come to realize that most of those notifications are not pressing matters.
Technology addiction is a real and increasing condition. If you are like the average American, you may be quickly approaching an internet habit. By recognizing how often you use your phone, setting boundaries for your usage, you can break the hold of tech addiction before the possible consequences can take effect.
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