Is it Time to Break Up with Your Phone?

The average American checks their phone 47 times a day, and as many as 50% of us check it in the middle of the night. Ten percent of us even check our phones during sex, according to Dr. Tchiki Davis.[1]

Maybe you check your phone for work or to check in with friends and loved ones. The next thing you know, you’ve spent hours on games, videos, and social media. All that time spent with your phone adds up to a laundry list of physical and psychological ailments.

Eye strain can set in within 20 minutes. Prolonged use can result in poor posture, lost sleep, headaches, missed meals, and even Vitamin D deficiency from too much time indoors.[2]

Mobile phone addiction follows the pattern of other addictive behaviors, namely the need to check your phone to the point it affects daily activities and personal relationships. When forced to stop, users experience withdrawal symptoms, like loss of time, restlessness, irritability, and depression.

So how do you stop and win back your time? In her book How to Break Up with Your Phone, Catherine Price discusses changes to make this happen.

First, understand how you use your phone. Spend a few days monitoring your usage, checking how you feel before and after using it, what you tend to do, and what prods you to pick it up.

Next, try to outlast the urge to check your phone. Think about how you feel when you have the urge and how you expect to feel when you use it. Brainstorm other ways to get those feelings, like a hobby or exercise.

Think about removing your social media apps from your phone. Not only will it keep you from using them, you won’t get the constant beeps, dings, and whistles of alerts. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, try putting a message or meme on your lock screen as a reminder of your goal to cut the time spent on your phone.

Designate no-phone places and times, like dinner and bedtime. Charge your phone somewhere that keeps it out of arms reach in the middle of the night.

In today’s tech-savvy world, most of us couldn’t live without our phones. But with a little effort and a few of the techniques listed above, you can turn it back into the servant rather than the master.