Studies show I have approximately three minutes of your attention before you lose focus and need new stimulation. Chances are during the course of reading this article you will have the urge to check your phone at least once. You might also experience higher levels of anxiety as you try to concentrate on the task at hand. These, my friends, are the new realities of our 21st century smartphone addiction. A recent poll indicated that more than 80% of us keep our phones in our sightline or on our person at all times during the day. And, more than 60% keep it accessible during the nighttime hours!
Research suggests that being disconnected from our devices for even just ten minutes can cause our hearts to race, our anxiety to increase and also cause us to feel like we’re missing a part of ourselves or a piece of our identities. At the same time, studies show that having our phones on us at all times makes us tired, unhappy and uncreative. Not a great snapshot of the realities of our overly connected generation. Experts say disconnecting is of the essence for the betterment of our physical and mental health. While no one is under the assumption that we will cut ourselves loose, cold turkey, there are some habits we can implement to help cut back on the device addiction.
How To Cut Back on Cell Phone Use
Turn off notifications
As if we don’t have the urge enough already! Having all the notifications on causes us to check our devices even more. Do yourself, and the people around you, a favor by keeping the ringer on but turning off all other notifications such as email, Facebook, and Instagram. This way you will reduce the amount of times you’re reaching for the device. Plus, every time you do, you’ll have more to look at it.
Do the real face time
There’s nothing worse than trying to talk to someone who is constantly on their phone. It’s rude and disrespectful and indicates that something more exciting is happening online than in person. Instead of making this mistake, decide that when you are interacting with someone, whether its a friend, colleague or bank teller, you are not going to check your phone. Enjoy the social interactions and allow yourself to be fully present during the face-to-face interaction.
Be in the moment instead of in the picture
One of the biggest reasons we reach for our phones these days is to take a photo. This is the issue with having a great camera in our back pocket at all times. Also, most people have the opinion that if it wasn’t posted on Instagram, it didn’t happen. Sigh. This is causing us to take pictures of everything and anything, as opposed to being in the moment and creating lasting memories. Instead of wasting away important events behind the lense, dedicate a few minutes at the beginning of an event to take a few photos and then put it away. This will force us to be present for the occasions in our lives and create memories that don’t involve an android. Besides, we always look better at the start of an evening, so the photos will be better anyway!
Leave it in the locker
There are not a lot of times in life where cellphones are not welcome, but exercising and showering are two of them. Take advantage of these times by rolling solo and opt to leave the phone in the locker while working out. Get a good sweat without worrying about social media, work emails or calling back your aunt Hilda. They can all wait, so just enjoy the cellular silence and focus on yourself!
Set a curfew
Studies show that looking at a screen before bed can seriously impact the quality of our sleep. Set a cutoff time at night and vow to put the phone away until morning. This will allow a better sleep and probably more quality time with our loved ones, uninterrupted. You won’t regret that one!
Make a call
When was the last time you picked up the phone to make a personal call instead of sending a text or email? If you’re still trying to think about it, then it’s been too long. The art of phone conversations has gotten lost over the years but it doesn’t mean that it’s gone forever. Instead of typing a message, dial a number! Communication is easier, the conversation is more personal and it will help steal you away from the screen for a few extra minutes.