I couldn’t imagine life without my iPhone. I use it to check my email, search the internet, monitor the weather, give me driving directions, do my banking, make restaurant reservations, and, of course, take lots of photos of Allegra and Ruby. In fact, I still sometimes marvel at all the things one small device can do, and how it’s made my life easier in so many ways. But as awesome as it is to have all this power in the palm of my hand, it’s also a bit disconcerting just how much I’ve come to rely on it, and at times, it feels like, perhaps, I’ve crossed the line into using it a little too much.
A study by British psychologists found that young adults use their phones an average of five hours a day, and much of that behavior seems to be habitual with no awareness that it’s happening. I never tracked my own usage (and I’m a little afraid to do so!), but I know it’s a lot. And while I’m not suggesting that you toss out your cell phone – I know I wouldn’t want to live without mine – I know I don’t want to feel like I’m at the mercy of my tiny computer. Perhaps, it’s time to show our smartphones who’s in charge?
Turn off notifications
With the exception of text messages, I have turned off all notifications on my phone. I don’t want to know when I get a new email, Facebook notification, or weather alert. This puts me rather than my phone in charge of checking for new emails and updates.
Don’t check your phone first thing in the morning
Don’t reach for your phone while you’re still in bed. Getting hit with a barrage of emails or notifications before you’ve even started your day gets your day off to a stressful start. A much better way to spend those first few minutes after waking up is to think about five things you’re grateful for, or to set positive intentions for your day. Then, of course, you’re going to feed your cats!
Stop using your phone in the evenings
Set a cut off time when you’re going to turn your phone off in the evening. Connect with family and friends instead. Play with your cats. Spend some quiet time. If you don’t want to turn your phone off, at least put it out of reach into its charger.
Put your phone away
When you’re socializing with others, put your phone away. There’s nothing more annoying than having lunch with a friend who constantly glances at her phone.
Consider leaving your phone at home occasionally
It’s just a device, not an appendage. The world won’t come to an end if you don’t have it with you at all times. I never take my phone with me when I go for my daily walk. That one hour each day is my sacred time.
If you feel that you may be spending a little too much time on your phone, put yourself back in charge and tell your phone who’s boss. Your cats will appreciate it, too – they don’t want to have to compete for your attention with an inanimate object.
Do you feel that you’re using your phone too much? Share your experience in a comment.