How to stop checking your phone

  1. You constanly lose your concentration on important things in order to respond to social media. Too many times in conversation, you check your phone. You are noticing that you are becoming enslaved by your phone instead of helped by it. I know that problem, I’ve had it too many times myself. But that’s in the past for me. Now I can control my phone-checking-urge. If you want to learn that too -which is, I must say, truly an ability on itself- then you must read the steps below on how you can finally start to live life beyond your sceen.

Steps toward life beyond the screen

Step 1: Motivation

You have to want it. You can think ‘yes I want it, my phone driving me mad’, but that’s not enough. You have to really sum up the pros and cons (on paper or in your head) and make the decision that you really really really want to stop checking social media so much. In the next step you can evaluate how much you want it. If you aren’t motivated to limit your phone usage, than you can do two things. One, you can enjoy your phone life. Two, you can scroll down to the ‘Why’ chapter to challenge if I can convince you.

Step 2: Statistics

So, you want to stop checking your phone ‘so much’. What is ‘so much’? How many times do you want to check it instead? I understand that you ain’t counting every time you press the power button (or double tap the screen, just touch it, talk to it, there are endless way to check your phone these days). Google Play Store has a few amazing apps designed to do just this. I personally would reccoment ‘App Usage’ made by Sam Lu. Use it just one or two days to get an idea of how many times you check your phone and how much time you spend on your phone. Don’t be shocked when you see the result. It’s okay. You’ve got the power to change.

Step 3: Goal Setting

So, now you know how much time you spend/waste on your phone, you can set goals. Do you want to spend zero minutes on your phone? Then just sell your smartphone and buy a simple ‘not so very smart’ phone like your grandma still uses (note: this assumption about grandma’s is bad and generalising. My grandma uses a newer phone than I do. Even the old lady in front of me in the train at the very moment of typing is ticking on her new iPhone).

I realize that most of you just want to be less dependent from their phones. Choose a goal, for example a maximum of 40 checks a day and no more than one hour phone time in 24 hours. Your goal depends on what your wishes are, how much you are getting frustrated by your phone and what your App Usage results were.

Step 4: Eleminate Apps

Look once again at your App Usage results. Are there any apps in particular you want to eleminate? Are there any apps that are holding your attention although you waste too much time on them? Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram? You can do four things to use them less.

  1. You can turn off the notifications of the app, so that you won’t get disturbed as easily when you are busy on something.
  2. You can download a new homescreen (like Siempo) that will not show the colorful social media app icons.
  3. You can install App Detox to your phone and set rules for yourself. How many times a day/hour do you want to open the app? How many minutes do you want to use the app? App Detox is great because, unlike any other app, it will redirect you in the right way with funny pop-ups like “You Shall Not Pass to Instagram”.
  4. If you think ‘you know what, I hate this app/I never use this app/this app is no good, delete it. You’ll have got more phone memory and your addiction will be over in no more then a few days.

Step 5: Other Tips

  • Check your phone on fixed times a day, for example 8 am, 12 pm, 5 pm, 8 pm. For the rest of the day, turn off notifications or turn off your phone.
  • Forest: Stay Focused and many other apps are amazing if you want to concentrate for a brief period of time. You can also just turn off your phone for that time, but if you want to have the possibility to make phone calls, it’s a great alternative.
  • Make your phone less accessable. Put it in the living room when you are in another room for example.

Step 6: Evaluate

Choose one time a day that you want to look how you did on your goals. Keep a little diary or note(app/book) if you want. You can reward yourself if you did good. Congratulations, you stopped looking at your phone!

Why

Oh, you ask yourself, why would I? Funny that you ask, because, I’ve challenged myself in may this month to find the answer.

From hours a day on social media I went to one month without facebook and with no more than 10 minutes a day snapchat and instagram. I found it hard to let go of social media completely, as you see, but I though this would be a great alternative. Honestly, when I’m writing this, I would do it again without any hesitation.

After the month with considerably less social media, I found the following reasons for every human being with a smartphone to lessen his/her time spent online.

  • Social media wastes a lot of time
  • Some apps, like Snapchat, make it with the ‘streak’-concept almost an obligation for you to check social media
  • Most of the time the snapchats you get are not of any value (i.e. Goodnight, goodmorning, drinkings, trainlife, study…)
  • Posts on instagram aren’t a representation of real life, that’s why it is proven that they make people insecure about themselves.
  • Imstagram and facebook do everything to gain money from their platforms. That’s why you will see a lot of ads that waste your time or ‘steal’ your money.
  • Oh, and the algorytms are made in such a way that you only see some posts many many times and you’ll see some posts (mostly of value, the one of your friends) almost never.
  • Most ‘friends’ ain’t your friends. They are just people you saw twenthy years ago and have never spoken to. Maybe a strange tip, but, what I do, is that when I pass by facebook friends who don’t greet me, I’ll delete them as friends.
  • Privacy. Or better say: no privacy.

For me, the most important reason to be ‘out of the screen’ is to live in the moment. To live a purposeful life beyond my screen. Isn’t that what life is about? Living life in reality instead of in a comfortable uncomfortable environment of the virtual reality of social media. I do think so. That’s why I would recomment you all to follow the steps I gave above and to start enjoying life to the fullest.

Kind regards and I see you next time,

Joel

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