Sometimes you are the last to know that you have an addiction. You may not realize that your cell phone is an extension of you. If you wonder if this is you, ask your spouse or your friends. And, before pointing fingers, look in the mirror!
Nomophobia is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.
Here are a few tips to begin the break-up! (Don’t cringe, it is necessary for a more balanced life.) And, if you can’t breakup, at least cool it off a bit.
There’s an app for that!
There’s an app for that. A good place to start is to record and become aware of your usage, and possible abuse. Phone Habit Tracker or Checky are great apps to let you know exactly how much time you are spending on your phone and how many times you check it a day. This can be really eye-opening. People are shocked when they find out they are checking their phone upwards of 300 times a day.
Turn the hour glass
Set realistic limits for yourself. Depending on your line of work, phone calls/conference calls may not be able to be shortened or avoided, but you can still vow to lessen your time on text, email, social media, web browsing. You can set a limit of no more than 2 hours a day, or no more than 15 minutes at a time.
The app Moment tracks how many minutes you spend on your phone and will send you subtle notifications letting you know that you are approaching your self-imposed limit. It’s not obnoxious and primarily just nudges you to move on to other things.
If you don’t respond to tracking by the number, you can set times to limit your cell phone use (family time, sleep time, church, workout, etc.)
Statistics show that we spend an average of 4.1 hours checking our work email each day. That’s 20.5 hours each week. I don’t believe that is counting the cell phone email checks…at the movies, during dinner, at the ballgame, in the middle of the night. Efficiency trainers suggest shutting down emails a large portion of each day to increase overall productivity.
It is extraordinarily healthy to have set times to unplug. It clears your mind, helps you process the day and without question improves your relationships! It kind of goes without saying but the best way to unplug is to put your phone aside where you can’t see it or hear it. As they say, it is easier to avoid temptation than to resist it.
Make two lists per day:
1. Your to-do list
2. Your Daily Bucket List
These are tangible things you want to get done during the day. The 1st is what needs to get done. The 2nd is the things you’d like to do that you never feel you have time to get to. Don’t check email, Facebook, or any other social media until it’s done. This helps you prioritize what you actually want to do with your day.
Tell it No
Stop the notifications. Kill them! Every app wants to send you text notifications. Notifications are a HUGE distraction and are not necessary. When you want to be informed, you chase it … don’t let it chase you. Turn them off – you will be amazed how freeing this is.
What’s your Vice?
Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest? YouTube? How about a Facebook-free February? Take a social media vow of silence for a month. You’ll find you can live without it and you will be amazed how much time becomes available. Maybe set 1-2 days a week where there is no social media.
Studies say a major problem in today’s “social” environment is that we are beginning to spend more time documenting what we’re doing, instead of living our lives. We are becoming g less and less present in the experience.
What’s that Password?
Think about signing out of each app after you’ve used it. If every time you have a free second you must sign back in, you are less likely to mindlessly scroll through posts. Everything you do on your phone should be intentional.
Ever Hear of DIY?
As we create more time by unplugging, what do we want to fill that space with? Is it time to read, learn a hobby, craft or create? If you don’t intentionally fill the space created, it will get filled for you.
I’ll Read It Later
Time to unsubscribe. All those newsletters you plan to read later, delete. And unsubscribe. Go to Unroll.me. Just sign up and it will show you all your subscription emails. If you need to unsubscribe from more than five, you have to share something about them on Facebook, but totally worth it. A lighter inbox is very freeing.
Never Leave Home Without It
Don’t know what to do with yourself in public if you are not scrolling your phone? Bring a book or magazine with you. Yes, they still print those.
Before every meal, put your phone on silent or better yet leave it on another room. Trust us, no one really cares what your meal looks like, they won’t even notice that you didn’t post it. Plus, it lets whomever you are with know that you are present and interested in them – their words, their thoughts, their person.
I Dropped My Phone in the Toilet!
Uh, leave your phone outside the bathroom (at least at home.) Seriously, a little quiet is not a bad thing. Having a few hard and fast rules to follow will be helpful. Commit. Rules are good – if you know that you must leave your phone outside when you go to the bathroom, you’ll do it.
Just 10 More Minutes
Love this thought – you don’t need a $400 phone to be your alarm clock. Nice. Leaving your phone outside of the bedroom means that you don’t have easy access to your phone before you go to sleep or right after you get up. You fall asleep easier … and it’ll also make it easier to get out of bed and on with your day in the mornings. So, you get more sleep and save time in the morning … not bad.
Checking Out Now
In the “olden” days, it was considered to be bad form and downright rude to call later 9pm, in some households 8pm. When did those rules change? An hour or two before bedtime, plug your phone into kitchen or living room outlet. Out of sight, out of mind. You will sleep better if you prepare your brain and take time to decompress before hit the hay.
If you need to be available to certain family, use the Do Not Disturb mode. Greatest feature ever…you set a time period where you allow calls to come in from everyone, no one, or just people on your favorites list. Additionally, you can enable a repeat call feature which allows any person who calls twice within three minutes to be put through. So, you can check out, yet still receive emergency calls.
What’s the Basket For?
A great rule for the office … put a basket in the conference room. As everyone enters, you included, all phones go in the basket. An easy rule to live by without a thought. Just bring paper and a pen as you are all set.
But I was in the line at Jack in the Box!
Yep, we know a gal who got a ticket in the line at Jack in the Box for texting and driving. Do NOT text and drive. Put your phone AWAY when you get behind the wheel. Here is a sobering fact: Texting and driving kills more teenagers than drunk driving. Plus 31% of drivers admit to texting and driving.
Put the phone on silent and put it in your purse, in the back seat, in the passenger side door, in the trunk! Make it inaccessible. There is absolutely nothing you need to look at on your phone while you’re driving. Nothing.
OK, look. If you’ve set up your phone to connect to your car speakers via Bluetooth, that’s great. Just make sure that you have a playlist queued up before you pull out of the driveway… and then put your phone in airplane mode until you get to where you’re going. Good apps to keep texts from coming in when you are driving are: AT&T Drive Mode; Sprint Drive First; and Cellcontrol.
I Just Can’t Take It
You might be surprised what emotions may come up while detaching from your phone. Sounds silly, but it’s real. You may feel lonely, agitated, upset, and generally stressed out. We’ve all heard that when something good happened, our brains release a pleasure chemical called dopamine. Once we get a “taste” of dopamine, we crave it. Believe it or not, great texts, posts or email cause dopamine to release. So, yes, we are addicted and crave the good that comes through these avenues. When you don’t have your cell phone, you lose that source of pleasure. Can you say withdrawal? It’s real.
Tell people that you’re making a serious effort to cut back. Give your friends, family, and coworkers permission to hold you accountable. Further, telling your friends, family and coworker that you’re making cutting back and setting boundaries, it helps establish new expectations. This way they’ll know that it might take a bit longer to get back to them.
Cutting back on phone use, breaking up with Social Media and setting boundaries with emails and texts, allows you to bring back the art of the spoken word. Talking to your coworkers, family members and friends. Always a good thing.