How to Spend Less Time on Your Phone

"You're always on your phone"

For my job, I always have to be on my phone. I'm constantly out and about, writing social media posts, answering emails, looking at snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook - absolutely anything with a notification that fills the time when I have nothing to do.

About 6 months ago I kept hearing the phrase "You're always on your phone" - and not just from any old person, my family and friends.

I've made a concious effort to put my phone down in the past 6 months - especially when I'm having some down time but it wasn't until I watched a really sobering YouTube video by Simon Sinek on Millennials in the work place I finally realised....

 I am a phone addict.

It's difficult for people to admit this at first, and in the video Simon tells us that having our phones is as addictive as alcoholism, gambling and sex. The reason is because when we get a text, Dophamine is released into our system - yes the same chemical that fuels addiction in alcohol gambling and sex. It feels so good when we get a text because Dophamine is realised into our system. It makes us feel happy, so we always end up going back for more.

One weekend I looked at my phone so much I felt bored, and physically sick at the sight of that tiny little screen... but for some reason I had to pick it up and look at it in regular intervals.

As someone who runs their own business, I'm not bashing the positives of being able to access whatever you want whenever you want. Our phones provide us with instant gratification for this exact reason which is why we can't leave the house without it. But there is one thing in particular that your phone cannot give you: Good relationships. Which is why I decided I needed to put my phone away. Here are 4 tips to how I spend less time on my phone.

 

1. Leave your phone at home

It sounds scary but trust me, when you do this for the first time you will feel FREE. Yes, free from the need to tap the home button to see if you've had any texts, but discovering no notifications. Free from needing to check your social media or emails. You'll have more fun connecting with whatever you're doing - whether that's going out for dinner with your other half, working on yourself at the gym, learning something new at a outside of work class you're taking.

Soon you'll realise that the amount of time you've spent without your phone will have allowed you to learn new skills, laugh out loud with your friends, or take up a new hobby!

 

2. Don't charge your phone next to your bed

The blue light that emanates from your phone screen (yes even with that new night shift mode on your iPhone) is clinically proven to keep you up at night. Think about the amount of times you've mindlessly scrolled through your phone before bed - does that feeling of not being able to put your phone down even though you've scrolled through everything humanly possible sound familiar? It's time to charge your phone outside the hallway.

"But I use my phone for my alarm"

Simple solution: buy an alarm clock. This one's a fiver.

 

3. Turn it off at 7pm

Give yourself a time limit for when you're allowed to look at your phone. After this time, put it away. You won't miss looking at things if your phone is out of sight and out of mind - especially if it's off, you won't even be tempted to see whether you've had any notifications.

 

4. Find meaning in your spare time

Spending your time doing something meaningful like taking up tennis, or volunteering for a charity will take your mind off what's going on on your phone. I love exercise and I did some form of exercise most days before I got well and truly addicted to my phone. Take my phone out of the equation and I've coincidentally found myself back at the gym. Look for fun and creative ways to take up your spare time. You'll feel satisfied that you've done something useful with your evening and weekends!