Ask anyone what the first thing they do in the morning or the last thing they do at night is, and chances are they’ll say ‘check my phone’. Whether you’re an iPhone lover or Android loyal, the rise of the smartphone has meant that it has become about so much more than calls and texts. While we love the convenience, it turns out your smartphone might be doing you more harm than good. Thankfully, we’ve some top tips to keep you sane and stop your smartphone from taking over your life.
Track Your Screen Time
If you’ve recently upgraded to iOS 12 and checked out ‘Screen Time‘, or installed Google’s ‘Digital Wellbeing’ banner for Android P, chances are you’ve come face to face with exactly how much time you spend on your phone each day. Who knew that a few innocent scrolls of Instagram and a couple of Youtube videos could add up to HOURS!? The programs track your phone usage, showing you the times of day you were on your phone, and which apps you used the most.
Ok, so now what? If you are spending way more time than you thought on your phone, it might be time to set some boundaries. Block out some ‘screen free’ time every day and keep it consistent. First thing in the morning and for an hour before bed are our top picks, but it’s also important to allocate phone free time to spend with family and friends. Once you’re in the routine, you might find yourself checking your phone less and less throughout the day.
Hand It Over
Not all of us have the self control to just stop using our phone, so it can be a good idea to take the temptation away totally. Stage an intervention for yourself and give your phone to someone you trust. Handing over your phone to a family member or friend for a set period of time helps keep you accountable, and means that sneakily checking your messages won’t be an issue. Start with half an hour and work your way up!
Ok, so now what? If you’ve handed your phone over, use the time to do something that doesn’t involve a screen – don’t just turn on the TV or set up your laptop. Do a work out, have dinner with your family or clean your room. You’ll be surprised how present you can be without the distraction of notifications every couple of minutes. Get your bestie, or bf/gf to do the same! Before you hang out, hand over your phones so that you can make the most of your time together.
Need to put down your phone and get moving? Check out 9 Awesome Fun Runs To Do With Friends!
Change Your Settings
While phone free time will have the biggest impact on your physical and mental health, as well as your relationships, there are other things you can do to make a positive change. Use your phone’s power for good! Turn on do not disturb while you sleep, switch your screen to night shift after 6pm, put it on silent during family meals and switch off mobile data when out with friends. These little changes can stop your phone becoming the focus of your day and make you more enjoyable to be around!
Ok, so now what? There’s nothing more motivating than seeing the results of making a positive change. Use a sleep quality app to check if your sleep improved after using the night shift setting before bed. Check your screen time after hanging out with friends and see if turning off your mobile data while you were out made a difference. Whatever it is, notice your progress and reward yourself!
Undoing bad habits can be tough, but putting down your phone is so important for physical and mental health, and the health of your relationships. The world of the smartphone is one of constant comparisons and almost no downtime, so it can be so refreshing to take a break and remind yourself of what you’re missing out on. Don’t get us wrong, we love our phones, but it’s good to remember that we can survive without them!
These are our top tips for reducing smartphone use but what are yours? Share them in the comments!