With the news that we’re now spending more time on our phones than with our significant others, it might be time to think about reducing our screen time. In fact, 62% of recently polled Brits said they hate how much time they spend on their phones. If you also wish you were less addicted to your device, we might be able to help.
There’s no better time to start than now — beginning at sundown on March 6 through sundown on March 7 is the National Day of Unplugging. It started out as a project from Reboot, an organization that “affirms the value of Jewish traditions and creates new ways for people to make them their own.” It’s an outgrowth of Reboot’s Sabbath Manifesto, which encourages people to unplug from their phones and tablets in order to better connect with the world around them.
New research from the University of Derby on “smartphone addiction and its related psychological characteristics” claims that the more you use your phone, the higher the risk of becoming addicted.
Other research has shown that more time spent on Facebook, which Chopra says has increased because of smartphone app, has increased feelings of loneliness. Furthermore, studies have linked tablet usage to stunted development in toddlers.
If you disable all unnecessary notifications, this is less likely to happen. Even muting your device to stop audio alerts can end that impulse we all have to check our phones whenever they chirp.
There are various apps, such as QualityTime for Android and Moment for iOS, that monitor your phone usage and inform you just how many hours a day you’re spending looking at a screen.
Try to set up phone-free periods during the day. Schedule them when you’re busy doing something else, in order to make the break a bit easier. For example, you could put your phone on Airplane Mode for the first hour after you get home from work. Chances are you’ll be busy making dinner, spending time with your family or getting ready to go out, so you won’t feel the need to check in.
“One easy way is to slowly train your yourself with ‘tech breaks,'” Rosen tells Mashable. “Start by looking at your phone for one minute and checking all forms of communication, including texts, calls and social media. Then turn it off, set the alarm for 15 minutes and place it face-down in plain sight. The upside-down phone reminds your brain to not release stress and anxiety neurotransmitters.”
The next time it rings or chirps, check it again for only one minute. Keep doing that until it feels natural not to check in, and see that you didn’t miss anything.
“Increase your tech break by five minutes every week or so, and soon you will be able to not check in for an hour or more without getting anxious about what you may have missed,” Rosen advises. “It also trains your friends, family and colleagues to not expect that immediate Pavlovian response!” Read more…