I have a confession to make. I am addicted to my phone, especially in the evening when I come home from work. I love to watch one episode of a series on Netflix but in reality, it takes me two hours to finish that episode because I am not paying attention and I am spending time on my phone. But the other day I decided to focus on myself and one of my goals is that I want to spend less time on my smartphone.
How to use your phone less
1. Put your phone away
This tip is very easy. When you are at home, put your smartphone away in a different room. If you are outside, put your phone in your bag and not in your pocket. If you go outside for a walk, don’t bring your phone but enjoy nature.
Picking up our phone and scrolling through our feeds has become a habit. We sit down on the couch and the next moment we are on our phones, wasting our lives. We are not in control anymore, our brain is. So the best way to stop this is to put your phone away.
2. Be more mindful
If you don’t want to put your phone in a different room, there is another solution. You have to become more mindful. Being mindful helps with observing negative thoughts and stopping overthinking. But being mindful can also help to overcome this addiction. You have to live in the NOW, be present and focus on what you are doing, feeling and thinking. Just observe it. If you become more mindful, you will first notice how often you pick up your phone during the day and later you will be more in control and you can stop yourself from picking up the phone.
Mindfulness has a lot of great benefits.
3. Notifications and sound off
Many years ago, if someone called you and you missed their call it was no big deal. You could call them back later. But these days we want everything immediately. We are not patient anymore and we think we have to respond to our messages/emails/calls immediately. But that is not true. If it is really important, they will call you again or leave a message. We don’t have to be available 24/7. Our brains need to rest too.
What I like to do is to turn off the notifications and put my phone on silence. So now I only know when someone called or messaged me when I really pick up the phone.
4. Start and your day without your phone
A lot of people feel stressed on a daily basis and that is not good for their health. One thing that really helped me is to start (and end) my day without using my smartphone. In the morning, I just focus on myself for the first hour or so. I make breakfast for myself, I exercise, I read and I get dressed. And this really helped me to feel less stressed during the day. And we all know that looking at a blue screen will mess up your sleep, even when you think it doesn’t. So turn off your phone an hour before you go to bed. Read a book or just get ready for a good night of sleep.
5. Set a time limit for yourself
On some phones or apps, you can find how much time you spend on your phone. One time I also decided to download an app to find out how often and how long I spend on my phone. The results were shocking. Apparently, I picked up my phone around 50-100 times a day! This was just to check the time or to see if I got new messages. But also the amount of time I spend on my phone was pretty shocking. I mean, sometimes you need your phone for navigation or work. But I didn’t really use my phone for that. Even on the weekends, I spent a lot of time on my phone.
I found a couple of statics on this website and it says that people spend an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phones. Millennials are even on their smartphones for 6 hours a day. Honestly, the numbers are way worse now because of the pandemic and TikTok.
But even when you ‘just’ spend 3 hours a day, that is 21 hours in a week! That is almost a whole day in just one week! Millennials spend 42 hours per week on their phone! In a month that is 90-180 hours and in a year it is 1095 – 2190 hours. I mean, what if you did something else with that time! You can read so many books in that amount of time or learn how to play an instrument!
6. Go offline
This more an extreme approach and I can’t decide if I am a fan or not. Spending more time offline is great of course! But if you go offline for the weekend and spend 8 hours online on Monday, then the ‘offline’ didn’t really work. I think it is better to go offline and then decide how you are going to spend less time online.
These were my 6 tips for reducing your screen time. How much are you on your phone on a daily basis?