Let’s face it: phones have become an integral part of most people’s lives. At our fingertips, we can tap into breaking news around the globe, open an app for a last minute date night reservation, and check how many times Buddy went to the bathroom. Phones (smartphones to be exact) have made our lives more convenient and, for the most part, more enjoyable. However, we have entered an age where we are physically and mentally unable to put down our phones. Below are a few suggestions we have to help you use your phone less.
Set Mini Goals
Telling yourself to “stop using your phone so much,” is not very effective. Instead, try setting a mini habit for yourself. Setting smaller habits that are very difficult to fail can help you establish a new (bigger + better) habit in the long run. Habituating to a new ritual can be daunting, so many people never get started in the first place. Failures are bound to happen, but that doesn’t help. You’ll be overwhelmed by the negative feelings and associations that come with failure, making it even harder for you to continue working on a new habit over time.
Once you have set a more regimented schedule for yourself thanks to mini habits, you can make them slightly more complex by adding in restrictions on what you may do on your phone during the allowance period. For example, can only check the news and messages in the mornings while social media is restricted to early evenings.
Increase Friction to Unlock Phone
Phones these days are equipped with biometric technology such as fingerprint scanners and face scanners. They have replaced the traditional four digit passcodes as the fundamental method of phone security and privacy protection for phone owners. Unlocking a phone has never been so simple. Place your thumb over a “home” button and voila, your phone is ready to be used. With facial recognition, the process is easier, with the phone unlocking as soon as you lift the phone into your line of vision. The one definite thing about them is that they have made unlocking and accessing one’s phone significantly more expedient even though research and studies have shown that biometric-based security functions are really not as secure as you may think.
Increase Hassle to Login to Accounts
One of the biggest culprits of phone addiction is social media. Not only are they engineered to have addictive qualities, but every platform now has their own native mobile apps, making it easier than ever to check your feeds, notifications, and everything in between. Similar to the suggestion above, one way to cut down on how often you go on social media (and even other addictive apps) is to make it a hassle each time you have the urge to go on the app or platform.
Replace Smartphone with a Smart Device + “Dumbphone”
A solution that is often proposed to help people with a phone addiction is to get rid of their smartphone and downgrade to a “dumbphone.” The thought of using a dumbphone is frightening because it is hard to imagine our day-to-day lives without the new standard of connectivity when it comes to the technology carried on our person.
However, if you are ready to take the plunge, we have a slightly different approach to switching over to a dumbphone. Many of the functionalities and conveniences we enjoy about our smartphones can be replaced by another smart device such as an iTouch or a mini tablet. We understand some minor problems and inconveniences may arise, but we think it is a good compromise. You will have a dumbphone, which will perform the two basic functions we all need in a phone these days: call and text (SMS). You will also have your non-phone smart device, which will perform the other functionalities you seek and miss about your smartphone. Depending on the set up, you will most likely need to have WiFi access to use your smart device. As a result, you will be curbing your phone use while simultaneously learning how to become less reliant on your digital device.