4 ways to shut down your smartphone obsession

We already know that we’re obsessed with our phones. But when it comes to how and when we use them, we ultimately have a choice.

Hopefully these tips will help you become the less phone-focused and more carefree.

First, here’s why you’re not alone

It isn’t just you. Pew Research reported in 2017 that 77% of adults the U.S. say they’re smartphone owners, compared to a mere 35% in 2011. Forty-six percent of smartphone owners said their smartphone is something “they couldn’t live without.”

Here’s what you can do.

Find out where you stand

Can you even guess how many times you check your phone every day?

A Forbes article mentions a way to figure out how hooked on your technology you are upfront.

“Start with measurement, to get an accurate picture of how frequently you check whichever platform or device you want to cut down on. How often do you check per hour? Measure and record this. How often do you check per day?” it says.

Remember, your cell phone is not a traditional alarm clock

Stop the social media onslaught before it starts.

A Thrillist article about kicking an iPhone habit says not to use it as an alarm clock: “[W]e all know how it goes: once you’re done dealing your standard wave of 20 snoozes, you flick off the alarm, and go straight to browsing: Instagram, email, videos of baby elephants—you’ve already bogged yourself down with a tech overload before your feet hit the floor. If you want to distance yourself from your tech in a meaningful way, you need to nip the problem in the drowsy bud. And since so many of us literally wake up with our phone in our hands, this is the first place to start cutting back.”

So instead of trying to pull away from the screen’s blue light in the early hours of the morning — right after shutting off the alarm— rely on a traditional alarm clock to get the job done.

Put it far, far away

On that note, it only makes sense to include a tip about keeping your phone separate from you — in fact, the further away the better.

An Entrepreneur article talks about how you should keep it somewhere else in a tip about being “unplugged occasionally.”

“If you have an important project you need to complete or you just want to spend quality time with friends and family, leave your phone in another room and try not to check it more than two or three times a day. Give yourself a smartphone break once in a while. Ultimately, you want to be in control of your phone and not the other way around,” it says.

Ditch the notifications

Ping. Beep. Ping…beep. 

Sometimes it feels impossible to keep up with all the notifications flooding your phone over the course of an average day. That’s why it’s important to preserve your mental clarity.

A LifeHacker article says you should shut notifications off on your phone.

“Specifically, turn off all notifications that don’t require immediate action. You can probably leave calls and texts on, but turn off everything from Twitter, Facebook, and every app with a ‘follow’ function. Turn off your email notifications too. It’s not as if you don’t check your email every 20 minutes anyway. If you need, establish a ‘call/text if it’s an emergency’ policy…” it says, continuing onto other points, including that notifications that hold a little more weight can be hidden from the front screen and made silent.