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How to Use Your Phone Less Often

Apr 6th, 2018

The average American now spends more time on his or her smartphone each day than he or she spends socializing with friends and family. For college students and young professionals of the millennial generation, smartphone ownership and usage rates are even higher. While smartphones are more or less an essential part of our society’s infrastructure, those who spend several hours attached to their phones each day are at increased risk of experiencing antisocial behavior, lost productivity, sleeplessness, depression, and anxiety. If you’d like to wean yourself off your smartphone addiction, here are six tips for using your smartphone less.

Examine your usage statistics

Before you set out to use your smartphone less, find out how much you currently use it. Check usage stats under settings, and download QualityTime, Moment, or a similar app that will show you a breakdown of just how much time you spend on each app. Analyze this data to see how you can use your phone less.

Monitor use through alerts

Not only do apps like QualityTime monitor your smartphone usage. They can alert you when you’ve spent a certain amount of time on an app or on your phone. The aim is to encourage you to spend less time using apps you use too much. 

Turn off notifications

Designed by developers with the dual aim of alerting you to news and messages and maximizing the time you spend using their product, most smartphone notifications are distractions. Depending on personal and professional circumstances, there may be some notifications you need. That’s fine. But if you’d like to spend less time on your smartphone, turn off all other notifications. It should make a serious difference in how much you use your phone.

Take tech breaks throughout the day

Except in rare circumstances, most of us can afford to take 30 or at least 15 minutes to respond to a message or email. Train yourself to look at your phone once every half-hour or hour. Respond to correspondence as quickly as possible. Set your phone face down on your desk or table so you’re not distracted by silent notifications. Leave sound notifications on for anything that may require your immediate attention.

Schedule additional no-phone time

Regardless of whether or not you can take tech breaks at work, you should be able to work some no-phone periods into your personal time. Dinner is a start. You may also want to allocate an hour or two before bed during which you silence or power down your phone. Research suggests this can help you rest easier and sleep better at night, anyway.

Make your bedroom a smartphone-free zone

For similar reasons, consider making your bedroom a smartphone-free zone. Charge your phone in another room in your apartment, and use a traditional alarm clock rather than your smartphone. Conventional alarm clocks are more reliable, anyway.

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