5 Tips To Help With Phone Addiction
One day I was scrolling instagram and I saw a little “You’re all caught up” icon.
Translation: You’ve scrolled for so long there’s nothing new to show you, you loser.
At this moment I closed the app in disgust, only to find that I’d subconsciously opened it again 15 seconds later. WHAT THE HELL!
I knew something was wrong, so I set about finding ways to reduce this ugly, pervasive addiction.
After much research and a lot of trial and error, I found 5 easy ‘tips’ that (for me at least) had the biggest impact in reducing phone usage. Without further ado let’s get into it.
Move your app shortcuts
If I asked you to close your eyes and open Instagram right now, I’m guessing you’d be able to do it pretty easily. Even without a phone in your hand, I’m sure you could do the thumb swipes required to open the app. We develop this muscle memory that gets deeply ingrained in us. So much so that when we open our phone to ‘check the time’, we somehow find ourselves scrolling social media, without a clue how it happened.
The solution is to break the unconscious chain of events that leads to this. By moving your most used apps, suddenly your muscle memory will be useless. Better yet, move a really boring app to where your most used social media app used to be. You’ll be amazed at how often your cheeky muscle memory will open the [insert-boring-app-here] app by accident.
Get a wristwatch
This was an easy win. A quality wrist watch (I use a virtually indestructible Casio F-91W) can reduce your phone usage dramatically. Now when I need to check the time, I just look down at my wrist, compared to picking up my phone (with that alluring new notification).
Switch to grayscale
A little known feature of modern phones is that you can opt to turn off colour all together. This grayscale mode removes all the vibrant colours that your mind associates with your favourite apps. If you do this, I guarantee you’ll have a much harder time finding where everything is. An added bonus is that this mode has significantly increased my battery life, double win!
*I found if I did this for an extended period of time, going back to colour was almost overwhelming, like eating a greasy burger after a healthy diet!
Turn your phone on loud
Turn your phone on what? But I’m so used to the vibration! I don’t want to be rude.
The main reason I checked my phone so much is because I didn’t know if I’d received any notifications or not! This is a crucial step in addiction, the uncertainty of a reward (notification) is the underlying factor that keeps people playing slot machines all day. It’s addiction 101.
This needs to be done with some finesse, however. If you turn your phone on loud and don’t filter your notifications, this will do you more harm than good. It’s best to decide EXACTLY what notifications you deem ‘important’, and turn off all other notifications.
Doing this will remove the urge to ‘check’ your phone, because you know if there was anything worth checking, you’d have heard it.
Think about the consequences of your addiction
That sounds kinda bleak, doesn’t it?
What would you be doing if you weren’t checking your phone so often? What COULD you have accomplished if you didn’t watch those cat videos?
Phone addiction isn’t something that is really talked about much, and as *most* people have it, it’s fine, right?
Really thinking about what it is potentially costing you makes you take it a little more seriously.
For me, this sobering exercise makes the judgemental little voice in my head a little more chirpy every time I reach needlessly for my phone.
For me, the above 5 tips have been the most effective in reducing my phone dependancy. If you’ve used other techniques that have been effective I’d love to hear them in the comments below!