Addicted to your cell phone? Here are 6 strategies to cut down your obsession. The average person is on their device over 25% of their waking life.
We are addicted to our cell phones. We reportedly spend 5 hours per day on our cell phone, with over half that time spent in apps.
After tracking my own usage, I found I was spending almost 4 hours per day on my phone, which equates to 25% of my waking life! And no, it wasn’t for work.
Cut Down Phone Usage
Once I saw the numbers reflected in my own life, I knew I was teetering on an addiction.
Social media itself is exceedingly negative. The average person spends over 25% of their life on their phone. Think of the time we could spend doing activities with our kids or even taking time for ourselves IRL.
With the strategies below, within five months, I now average less than 2 hours per day.
Addicted to Cell Phone? Try This
Use the App “Moment”
I know it seems counterintuitive to use an app when you’re addicted to your cell phone but until you know what’s driving you to use your cell phone, you can’t change your habits.
This app stays on in the background and tracks how long you use your cell phone, each app, and the total number of pickups per day. You can set limits, reminders, and even a hard shut off.
You really only need to do this for a few weeks to see where your weak spots are. I quickly realized I used my phone way too much for social media (like most people). At first, I tried sheer willpower to stay off my social media apps. Obviously didn’t work, so I deleted the apps. Now I have to log onto a computer.
After a week of logging onto a computer to check social media, I realized I wasn’t missing a thing. In fact, recently I was sitting in a drive-thru listening to music and it hit me, normally I would have immediately reached for my phone in that 2-minute window.
Check your battery settings to see what apps you use most
If you don’t’ want to download an app, all you have to do (for an iPhone at least) is go to Settings>battery then scroll down and click to the “last 7 days” then click the little clock to see the number of hours instead of the percentage.
This will tell you exactly how many hours you are using each app over the course of a week.
See what is at the top and if the hours of usage are disturbing to you, consider deleting the app for a week or two and see if you really miss it. Hint: you won’t.
Go tech free for one weekend
Have a whole weekend with your kids when you go tech-free. At least your devices. Plan a whole weekend full of activities that wouldn’t require devices. Maybe camping or hiking, swimming or a dog adventure. See what you miss with your phone.
We recently took a 10-hour road trip with no phones. I was honestly worried. But the kids quickly became inventive and began doing what we did when we were kids – playing paper games or hand games, talking, laughing.
Ask yourself how you are feeling when you are spending lots of time on your phone.
This works especially well if you have deleted some of your most used apps, from step 1 or 2 above. If you still find yourself using your phone as much as before then why are you reaching for it?
- Are you bored?
- Are you craving connection?
- What reward are you getting from your phone?
- Are you avoiding facing some other problem?
Leave your phone in a different room
This is easier to do when you are with your kids and you know you won’t be needed for an emergency. Start small if you need to – vow to keep your phone out of sight every day until you leave for work. Then you get home, leave it in your purse until bedtime.
At the very least stop using your phone when:
- you are having dinner with your family or a friend (it’s rude)
- you are driving (it’s dangerous)
- in the bathroom (it’s gross – just swab it for bacteria if you don’t believe me)
Turn off all notifications
If you aren’t willing to delete those apps, turn off the notifications. Try using your phone for what its designed for – to be a phone. Make phone calls and texts.
If you want to use an app, then let it be on your terms. Don’t be a slave to your electronic device and jump everytime FB or Gmail tells you to.
Breaking the Cell Phone Addiction
Cell phones have their place. As long as you are using your phone as the tool it was designed to be then you will break your addiction.
This is part of a series titled Single Mom Passion Project. Helping moms find their passions again after years of straight-up survival.