How to stop your phone addiction in 5 steps

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In one way or another, many people are addicted to their phones. While the internet and smartphones are great for many things, they can also be exhausting.

With the average person checking their phone 47 times per day, this results in over 3 hours per day spent on mobile and picking up their phones 2,617 times per day!

Besides, the time you spend on your phone is costing you. For example, overusing your phone can harm future career moves or family relationships. 

Recently I’ve decreased my smartphone use dramatically. I use all my apps for a maximum of one hour per day. While that wasn’t easy in the beginning, the persistence is worth it. 

Here are the things that helped me stop my phone addiction and resist the distraction.

1. Turn off notifications

Turnings of your push notifications is one of the first things you need to do to stop your phone addiction. By disabling all app notifications, you control how much you look at your phone. The pings throughout the day distract me, and I enjoy knowing that I can decide when I check my phone.

It’s the same with the red notification badges. For many apps, I don’t need to know how many messages I have. I turn those also off when possible. 

2. Delete your most distracting apps

Which apps on your phone are distracting you most? You probably know the few apps you check most often. For example, I have no Facebook or Facebook Messenger app on my phone. If I want to check something, I do so in the web version. 

If you find it hard to part with your social media apps, you can put them into folders. I have put all my apps into a folder, with the most distracting apps on the second page of my folder. This increases opening the app by two taps, which may be all that I need to stop my bad habit on some days. 

3. Set app time limits

With almost any phone, you can check the screen time. More specifically, you can see how much time you spend on your phone and what apps you check most. If you’re using iOS, go to Setting > Screen time to see your report. If you’re using Android, try the Digital Wellbeing function. 

Analyze how much you use the apps on your phone and set a daily limit for them. When you reach a limit, your phone gives you a notification. You need to consciously click ‘15 more minutes’ to continue. 

While this is not a huge barrier, it may be enough to make you aware of your mindless scrolling and break the behavior. 

4. Leave your phone in your bag

If your phone is not in your sight, it is easier to stay away from it. When I arrive at work, I simply leave my phone in my bag and forget about it for half of the day. When I get home, I also leave my phone in my bag. It is an easy way to use your phone less. If something urgent happens, you will still hear your phone ringing.

Out of sight, out of mind. 

5. Set your phone to grayscale

Make it less attractive to pick up your phone by setting it to grayscale. It reduces the colors and inputs you get throughout the day. 

While I don’t have my phone currently set to grayscale, it helped me in the past.

You can spend less time on your phone by turning off push notifications, delete the most distracting apps, set app limits, leave your phone in your bag, and set your phone to grayscale.

Cellphones can be wonderful and helpful tools used for a variety of purposes. When you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your phone, they become a distraction rather than an addition.