My name is Catherine and I am addicted to my phone. You see, I love my smartphone. I am not sure when or how, but over time I have allowed myself to get to a point where my phone controls me instead of me controlling it.
According to the NY Post, Americans check their phone on average once every 12 minutes. That is 80 times a day! I’m not sure your thoughts on that, but when I initially read those statistics, I wanted to puke. I mean, is this the life you had seen for yourself? One where you are incapable of being present because you can’t seem to walk away from your device?
The only thing worse than not listening to someone is pretending to listen to them
I’m not going to lie to you. This is something I am extremely guilty of. I have recently found myself in several situations where I have told children they could do something insane because I was not in fact listening when they asked me, and instead I was playing on my phone, probably doing something really important such as looking at funny memes or replying to a group text message. (Go ahead and give me a World’s Okayest Mom trophy…I deserve it.)
These situations have caused me to realize that I am probably not just not listening to my children, but to others in my life as well…and it’s time to change. I want to take my life back.
How to Stop Your Phone Addiction
These are the steps that I am choosing to deliberately take in order to break my phone addiction, and I would love you to embark on this effort with me.
Let’s make this change together!
Set a Schedule
Creating screen-free time in your schedule is crucial for success, and is a wonderful starting point for quitting a phone addiction. For example, I am going to say from 5 pm – 8 pm I will not be near my phone. I will choose to use that time to focus on my family.
With that said, I want to stress to you that phones are never invited to the dinner table. Not on the table. Not in the room with the table.
Meals are a sacred space where you have been gifted time with those that you love. Don’t confuse this gift with the tone of force or dread. Be in the moment. Choose to grow and learn with those you love. Don’t assume you can start this journey of being more present tomorrow. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.
If you are looking for a way to make your mealtime better, consider investing in this game. It has changed our family’s meals for the better.
Turn Off Push Notifications
I have an apple watch and I’d venture to say that I live and breathe by it. It tells me when to stand. It lets me know when my activity levels are sub-par…and it also tells me when I have an email, text message, or even phone call. In my attempt to walk away from my phone in order to break my addiction, I discovered that my watch was actually hindering my process. So, what did I do? Spoiler alert: I didn’t throw away my fancy watch…I simply turned off notifications in order to allow me to focus on being present.
The same thing has been done with my iPhone. My notifications are none. I glance at my phone and do not see messages or notifications, but simply the time. I want to be who the moment calls me to be, not controlled by the consistent notifications from my phone.
Charge your Phone in Another Room at Night
How often do you use your phone first thing in the morning? I know that I am guilty of scrolling through my social feeds the second my eyes open.
When discussing this point with some of my friends, everyone seemed to immediately point to the fact that they can’t move their phone to another room because they use their phone as an alarm clock.
Let me stop you right there to tell you, this issue can be easily solved.
Buy an alarm clock.
Allow yourself to go to bed without starring into a screen, and wake up in the same manor. You deserve a decompressed mindset, rest, and thoughts that are your own to discover as your eyes open to begin the day.
All phones these days come with timer software that helps you realize how over-connected you are. I rely on the screen time report to show me how to improve…and be horrified by my inability to put my phone down.
Use this data as a tool to improve.
Understand That You Don’t Need to Always be Available
Phones have taught us that we can be available 24/7, but unless you have a job that requires on-call shifts…it is far from necessary.
Do not carry your phone with a guilty conscious about how you must be available in case someone needs you. You can’t please everyone, and that is okay. Focus on the you that you want to be, not the you that you think everyone else wants you to be.
Are there still going to be days when I mess up on these goals?
Habits take a long time to change, but what I am doing is learning to approach my phone intentionally…which is a wonderful step towards the direction of change.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to my real thoughts. If you would like to read more blogs from this category, click here.