How much time do you spend on your phone? More than what you want to? Because same! I can’t help it! I see the screen lighting up and I feel this irresistible need to check my phone out, see the cause of that notification. My brain sings “do it, do it, do it” and I do it. Yet, as I did rethink my use of Instagram and changed my approach to the app, I noticed that I spent way less time on my phone!
When it comes to Instagram of course! But what about other apps, other things? Because they too send notifications, light up my screen, push me to check my phone out! And prevent me to do other things. I have no will power. So I needed to come up with some easy solutions to stay away from my phone, reduce my screen time and make the most of the time I save! And here they are!
1. Turn off notifications
What makes you look at your phone when you don’t really need to? The screen lighting up and a notification popping up. As I am writing this, I got two notifications from Instagram so of course, I had to unlock the screen and check them out. The thing with Instagram and social media in general is that, it has a very high opportunity cost. Do you really think you will only check that notification? Of course not! You will probably also watch a few stories, scroll for a bit, like some photos, and just like that, it’s an hour gone!
My advice? Even if it kills you, go into your settings, and turn off notifications for each app one by one. Not all apps of course, but the one that are most likely to bombard you with notifications: Instagram, twitter, facebook. If the app does not notify you that someone liked your photo, you won’t know so are less likely to check it out.
2. Put your phone on silent and sleep mode
I would not turn all notifications off. Social media yes, whatsApp and messages? No. Because when it comes to those, you never know, but they might need a very quick answer. However, you don’t have to hear your phone vibrate each time something comes up. Especially if you are at work or just trying to have a quiet evening in. How it works? So easy, you switch off to silent mode. You can decide what sort of silent mode you want in your settings: wether total silent or a vibration.
iOS also gives you the choice to silence text and calls, or just texts. So that if you someone calls you, you phone will still ring. But in the end, text will light up your screen but won’t make your phone ring. You can also put your phone in sleep mode so that nothing shows up on your screen. It is perfect when you are watching a movie or sleeping.
3. Unable private and work emails
This is something I talked about already in a previous blog post. I used to have my work email on my phone. Of course, in the evening or over the weekend, my inbox would always become packed with new emails. Thus, I was always so tempted to check them out, have a read and sometimes even send a reply. On my free time!
Removing your work emails from your phone helps you get rid off a stress factor (you are at home, you can’t do much for work even if it is urgent, so better not know and have a relaxing weekend), remove the temptation to check them out and helps have a clean break with work once you get home. Plus, of course, it makes you spend less time on your phone. As a rule of thumb, I would not add my work email to my phone. I’d check them out on my laptops if need be, but that’s it. When it comes to private emails, at the weekend, I unable them and switch them back on when the week starts again.
4. Remove all unnecessary apps
By unnecessary apps, I mean the ones that you downloaded just to fill the space on your phone, that are not essential to your lifestyle and that you might check out once in a blue moon. Also, gaming apps. Yes, yes, sure, Candy Crush is great when you are on the tube, commuting to work. But let’s be honest, you’ll play even when not on the tube and you’ll spend a lot of time doing it. I know what I am talking about. Remove those and go grab a book!
Think about all the apps on your phone that you check out, out of reflex or boredom. Do you really need them there? Even apps that may seem essentials to you, might actually not be. As in you won’t miss them. For example, I deleted Facebook from my phone because it was there, blue and shiny, and I rarely checked it out. Only when I had a red dot at the corner to tell me something was on. I’d open the app just to remove the dot (yeah, it disturbs me). Time to Marie Kondo your phone and remove some temptation!
5. Keep your phone far away from you
Your phone is like a cookie. If it is there, you want to eat one. Until the jar is empty. You might get an indigestion at the end but you still got all the cookies. If your phone is next to you, it’s easy to grab it and unlock it. Especially if not all notifications have been turned off. Because you can well see your screen lighting up! Leave your phone on the table when you are on the couch. On your night stand when you read a book. Face down, so that the light produced when it received a notification won’t distract you.
You can also stay away from your phone in situation where it is not absolutely needed. Write a list on paper when grocery shopping. Leave the phone in your bag while in the office. Leave it home while going to the restaurant. You might feel naked without “your precious” at first but will get used to it and will find being without it quite agreeable.
Another trick for iPhone users is to turn your screen to black and white. Android users don’t get the option but it can be quite radical for iOS users. Go into Settings / General / Accessibility / Display & Text Size / Color Filters. Everything on your phone will be white, grey or black. And those colors aren’t of the happy type. If looking are you phone makes you sad (because it’s grey, got it?), then you won’t look at it that much! I think. Maybe. I need to try this one to make sure!
How much time do you spend on your phone? How do you stay away from it? What are your top tips to spend less time on your smartphone?
Thanks for stopping by. Hope you liked this post.
Photos by Junya Yashiki
See you soon,