How many times do you check your phone, just to check it? No notification, no text, just the inherit need to pick up your phone? I am a huge culprit of this and finding a balance can be quiet difficult. American’s on average are viewing their smartphones 52 times per day. This means that people are picking up their devices every 18 minutes (if the average person gets eight hours of sleep).
Your phone should be used as a tool for whatever you decide, but being aware of your phone habits are the first steps to building a healthier relationship with your device. I have come up with a few tips to help mitigate unnecessary time spent on your device.
Identify what you want your relationship to look like with your device
Start with tangible goals that you can achieve to lessen your screen time. Saying that “I want do not want to spend as much time on my phone,” is a blanket statement and you can feel like a failure when you get sucked back in. Start with apps that you use most frequent and set goals for yourself.
If you are an avid social media user like myself, I found success when I turned off notifications for each app. By turning off notifications I was no longer incentivized to pick up my phone as frequently as I would when notifications were on. Ask yourself questions like what behaviors do I want to change? What do I enjoy on my device? What makes me feel bad? These questions can help shape your end goal and what relationship you are striving for with your device.
Track your usage on your device
Apple released screen time with iOS 12, which is the ability to access reports of time spent on your device inside settings. Seeing is truly believing with the introduction of screen time. The data gives you insight to how often you are on your phone, it even tells you on average how many times you pick up your device.
What I found very useful with this is the fact that you can set app limits. This means that you can set time limits on certain apps and when you are getting close to your limit your phone will notify you. You can choose to ignore the time limit, but the sense of guilt after pressing ‘ignore’ looms. This feature holds you accountable to your goals and makes you more aware of your relationship with your phone.
If you are not an Apple user, no need to fear, Android devices have an array of apps that have similar features as Apple’s screen time. Offtime is a distraction free app that you can download to help manage your screen time.
Stop mindlessly scrolling
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and many other apps have the infinite scroll on their platform. This means that you can just keep scrolling through your timeline with no true “end” and users can consume and infinite amount of information.
The infinite scroll causes us to lose track of time and end up spending way longer than we intended on certain apps. Our brains are constantly intrigued to what may scroll next, but how valuable is the information you are receiving? Ask this question next time you are infinitely scrolling on your social media.
Finding a healthy balance between you and your phone can be daunting. Starting with your goals and finding out what works best for you is key.