As they say every aspect has a flip side to it and so is the case with the advent of smart phones into our lives. On the one hand, while smart phones have added so much value to our lives, it has also brought with it a new addiction which is on the rise, known as ‘Nomophobia’. It is a strange addiction which indicates the fear of being away from your smart phones or the absence of network coverage. Irrespective of the degree of your addiction, here are a couple of ways to help you overcome smartphone addiction.
1. Turn off notifications
Notifications are great distracters. Notifications from your various social networking platforms tempt you to check your phone more often, thereby making it an ingrained habit. So, the first step to deal with this addiction is to turn off notifications. By doing so, you will be less compelled to keep checking your smart phone. Keep the notifications on for only your messaging app and your calendar app as these are relatively important than your social notifications.
2. Fight the urge to check your phone
If you are in the midst of your work and feel an irresistible urge to check your Facebook feed, you tend to usually give in to this urge and end up wasting 20 minutes of your precious time. Sounds a familiar urge, isn’t it? To beat this ardent urge, all you need to do is to consciously close your eyes, take a deep breath, inhale and exhale for 4 seconds and you will notice that the urge will slowly dissipate. If you feel, you still have some urge, instead of 4 seconds, continue deep breathing for 10 seconds and the urge is bound to disappear, as this is how the human mind works. This is a simple yet powerful technique.
3. Uninstall all the social media apps on your phone
Depending on the intensity of your addiction, you may want to uninstall all the social media apps from your smart phone. Yes while it sounds like a drastic measure, console yourself with the thought that you will still be able to access these sites using your cell phone’s internet browser. This is an interesting de-addiction step, because we have become so accustomed to the convenience of using apps that the thought of opening the internet browser and typing in the URL has suddenly become a tedious job. Hence, this thought will dissuade you from the need to frequently check the social media updates.
4. Uninstall all the unused apps
This step will not only remove the extra clutter from your smart phone, but it will also cut down that additional time that you just spend unnecessarily exploring your unused apps. If you delete the unused or the lesser used apps, it will free up your storage space, improve your cell phone’s battery life and performance, and also beat the addiction to unnecessarily tinker with these unused apps.
5. Set your own limits for smart phone usage
Merely telling yourself to use your phone less is not effective enough. Hence to limit your smart phone usage, set your own limits such as:
- Say no to phone usage at mealtimes
- Say no to phone usage in the washroom
- Say no to phone usage during social events or gatherings
- Say no to phone usage during one on one conversations
- Say no to phone usage in your bedroom
You need to start with an easy one and you will soon notice the difference in your smart phone usage pattern.
6. Mute your group chats
Mute all your Whatsapp group chats so that you are not tempted to check your phone every now and then. As per the Whatsapp culture, nobody expects you to respond to every forward or every message in a group chat. In other words, these group chats are not time sensitive.
7. Restrict your reply to text messages
Apart from responding to urgent text messages, beat the urge to respond instantly to every message. While it is easier said than done, it is certainly not impossible. You just need to resist it. Make it a point to respond to all accumulated texts just twice or at the most, thrice a day.
8. Turn off your mobile data during bed time
Develop the habit to turn off your mobile data and even wifi at bed time. This will not only help you sleep well but also help beat the urge to check your cell at bed time.
9. Keep your phone at a distance while working
Make it a practice to keep your cell phone at bay or even better keep your cell on flight mode before you plan to begin your work. A research conducted at Michigan University by professor Erik Altmann has proved that an interruption of mere 2.7 seconds is enough to double the rate of error that you are likely to commit during work.
10. Use apps to track smart phone usage
If at all you need to keep apps on your smart phone, resort to apps such as RescueTime, App Detox, and Moment that help you understand your phone usage patterns. These apps track how much time you spent on the apps, and also allow you to set phone usage rules. Refer to the internet to read more regarding the usage of these apps.
11. Wear a watch to check the time instead of picking up your phone every time
Go back to checking the time on your wrist watch instead of glancing at your phone to check the same. This will stop the distraction from noticing the flood of notifications, thereby tempting you to check them.
12. Share your conscious decision with others and enlist their help
Share your conscious decision to break your smart phone addiction with your friends and family and seek their support to help you with this. Inform them that you shall be checking your phone less often, so there may be some time lag in responding to everyone’s text messages.
13. Lock your phone with a complicated password
Last but not the least, in order to reduce your smartphone addiction, set a long and complicated password. The sheer inconvenience of unlocking your phone will dissuade from using it mindlessly.
14. Get a normal or dumb phone
Ok, if nothing, I mean nothing helps you break your smartphone addiction, do this- keep it in your locker or gift it away and buy a normal phone that you might even call a dumbphone. Now you can only make calls and send text messages, just what a phone is intended to do! You will, in a few days, feel lighter and smarter. Make yourself smart and not your phone. This will also save you money that you spend on costly smartphones, data plans, paid apps and all!
And yes, you won’t miss your mails, your laptop and desktop are always there at your service!
Smart phones are meant to help us become more productive. After all, man is the master of technology and not vice-versa. So use your smartphone to your benefit instead of becoming an addict. Apply these tips and get rid of smartphone addiction.