Being unable to part with your smartphone seems like it belongs on an episode of My Strange Addiction.
However, spending too much time playing Candy Crush is about as real as it gets. In fact, statistics (yes, those exist) show that 11% of people in Western countries suffer from some form of technology addiction.
On average, people spend about 5 hours on their phone a day, which seems reasonable, except it’s not. People sleep 8 to 10 hours a day, which means of the 14 or so hours we spend awake, we dedicate around 35% to our phones.
Kicking your smartphone addiction isn’t as harrowing as it sounds and can actually be gratifying.
What keeps us glued to our screens is an endless stream of notifications. Message? Tweet? FaceBook status? Instagram like? Every few seconds is a tap on the shoulder.
To make things easier, turn off your notifications. While not receiving an alert regarding how many people have reacted to your new profile picture may be stressful, trust me — you’ll live. In fact, it may eventually feel liberating.
If you’re the type of person who needs a constant reality check, keep track of how much time you spend on your phone a day.
Various apps can monitor your usage and even tell you when you need a break. Use these apps to set goals for yourself. Do you want to reduce an hour of screen time? More? Be realistic but not too lenient.
If you’re a busybody, try out a manual to do list. Sure, iPhones make it a lot easier to figure out what you’re supposed to do and when, but jotting down tasks allows you to focus.
The most effective form of note-taking is handwritten, because muscle memory allows you to more successfully absorb information. With just a pad and pen, you won’t be subjecting yourself to any potential distractions.
After a long day at work or school, catching up on current events may seem like a rewarding and logical activity. While it can be, you can change things up by reading the newspaper. Who knows? Perhaps it may even inspire you to read a book — you know, where real stories are told.
On weekends, being able to spend the entire day alternating between social media and games may seem like a sensible bonus. Not if it’s making you inactive.
Try something new. Start out small. Check out a coffee shop you don’t normally frequent. Go to the library (while they’re still relevant). If you have one, walk your dog at a park on the other end of town. Do something refreshing and, if you must, document it on your phone (but not the whole time!).
Lastly, be more social. You may be outgoing, but spending 3 hours looking at photos of baby goats with your friends isn’t really bonding. Explore the great outdoors or simply go see a movie — yes, with your phone on silent mode.
Tacky as it may sound, life is too short to spend all of it on a 4.7-inch screen. Or 5.5, if you’ve got a Plus.