Your smartphone gives you a direct line to friends, family, coworkers and even complete strangers around the world. With so much stimulation at your fingertips smartphone addiction can be a real problem. How do you take a break from the constant bustle, conversations and instant gratification of your smartphone? Here’s a guide for those who need a little help.
Real Alarm Clocks
This may seem antiquated, but a real alarm clock will stop you from those early morning smartphone binges. If you don’t have your phone on you bed stand you won’t immediately check your missed texts, email and social media platforms the moment you wake up. Give your mind and body the time it needs to wake up without a screen in front of it, even if only for ten minutes. So, where should you keep your smartphone? A great place is outside the bedroom. This way you won’t be tempted to check your phone while in bed.
One reason smartphones are a constant present in our lives is notification banners, buzzes and beeps. Both iPhones and Samsung smartphones have customizable do not disturb options which can target texts, specific apps or just turn off notifications for your whole phone if, say, you’re at the movies or in a library. iPhones let you screen calls and texts from specific individuals. Just swipe up from the main iPhone display, select the moon icon, and you’ll be able to filter out the extra noise.
Conversely, Samsung smartphones have you swipe down from the main display to access the do not disturb setting. Once you’re in the do not disturb options you can customize notifications for days of the week, times and more. Like with an iPhone, you can specify which people send you notifications as well as the specific apps.
Track Smartphone Use
Just like your parents made you do in front of the TV, you should limit your smartphone use each day. This may be difficult at first, so set achievable goals. The first day, just cut down on your smartphone use by an hour, maybe two — three if you’re ambitious. Each subsequent day, cut down a little more, until you’re not as reliant on your mobile device. Remember, it’s a tool, but the outside world around you needs your attention just as much, if not more.
To do lists can be a great incentivizing tool. Make a list of tasks. These can be as simple as eating breakfast, taking a shower or reading for a half hour, before you use your phone. Once you accomplish one of these tasks reward yourself with a time limit of smartphone use. Set a time for fifteen or twenty minutes. Within this timeframe use your phone as your will, but once the time is up, set yourself another task. Repeat this throughout the day.
Create a screen cutoff rule for evenings. This doesn’t mean any screens at all, but an hour or two before your bedtime turn all screens off, including your smartphone. An hour or more of screen-free time before bed has shown to increase the quality of sleep you get each night, so you’re more rested and ready for the day ahead.