Life happens. More and more it happens on our devices; phones, tablets, laptops—even smartwatches. But were any of our gadgets to suddenly dematerialize, it would probably be the lack of a phone that would cause the most anguish; likely even panic. That’s because we—as a society—have become serious phone addicts. And that includes you (as you’re about to discover).
With every passing day our physical and digital lives fuse a little bit more. With every passing day chances improve that the general population reads articles like this one on phones (rather than laptops or desktop computers). With every passing day—whether you’re aware of the change or not—your phone feels like more of an appendage and less of an accessory.
Thanks to the Internet—and the phones that bring it so close to us—a large portion of our lives are actually lived online; connected. The question is: how possible is it for us to disconnect—even if only for a time? Tell me, is disconnecting from your smartphone (for any event other than sleeping) even remotely possible?
Before you answer too quickly, see how many of the following questions you yes to (be honest)…
How To Tell If You’re A Phone Addict
- Has someone in your life ever complained that you spend too much time on your phone?
- Are you on your phone more than 60 times per day?
- Is your phone the first thing you reach for in the morning—even before you get out of bed?
- When you realize you’ve left your phone in another room, do you feel anxious until you retrieve it?
- Have you ever felt bad because you missed something important as a result of being too absorbed in your phone?
- Is your digital addiction costing you money?
- Do you ever check your phone in the bathroom?
- Do you spend more than 25 minutes a day “wasting time” on your phone (accomplishing nothing at all)?
- Rather than giving your full attention to an important conversation with family, friends or coworkers, do you frequently find your hands fumbling for your phone?
- Do you ever get bored with your phone because you’ve used it too much?
- Do you and your phone always spend the night in the same room?
- Most days do you spend more time with your phone close by than you spend close to the people you’re closest to?
- When you are bored with whatever you are doing (waiting in line, watching commercials, etc.) do you immediately entertain yourself with your phone?
- Is your phone the last thing you interact with at night—even after the tv remote (or even the light switch)?
- Is your phone constantly running out of power?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may have an unhealthy dependence on your phone. If you’re under the age of 40, live in America and own a smartphone, I’d wager you do. I know plenty of people over 40 who are definitely addicts.
So you’re addicted to your phone. Now what? Does it actually matter?
I’d say that yes, if you’re addicted to your phone, it does actually matter. Here’s why:
You’re wasting moments of your life away that you’ll never get back. You’re spending less time with people that matter and more time with apps, websites, games, etc. that don’t. Someday you won’t be able to spend time with those people anymore.
Ask yourself: is it worth it?
How To Kick Your Phone Addiction
Without being any kind of addiction expert, here are some suggestions for attempting to kick your phone habit:
- Ask someone important to you to help you with your addiction. If you leave it to yourself, it might be too much to overcome.
- Let yourself be bored. The experts say it’s good for you.
- Don’t sleep in the same room as your phone (get an alarm clock).
- Turn on your phone’s do not disturb mode at a reasonable hour at night so you won’t be distracted by notifications too close to bedtime. Try 7 or 7:30 pm. Set it so that important callers can still get through—that way you’ll know you’re not missing anything truly important and can happily spend time with your family or friends or doing something you’ve otherwise been missing out on due to your phone habits.
- Give yourself limits, just like you would give to a child. One hour of phone time a night (or something like that). You don’t have to go cold turkey.
- If you are having a conversation with another person, never, ever, ever let yourself be on your phone at the same time. Once this becomes a default habit, you’re life will be in a much better place.
- Don’t take your phone into the bathroom with you if you know you’re going to check it there.
- Rearrange your phone’s app icons based on what is truly useful and needed and put everything else into an extras folder. Or try the focus folder technique.
- Uninstall time-wasting apps like games, news reader programs, etc. Maybe you are just addicted to certain apps, rather than your phone as a whole.
Additional Phone Addiction Resources
Here are some additional resources you can check out to help you beat your phone addiction.
- Install Moment, an app that tracks your phone usage and helps you set limits.
- Check out The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction.
- WebMD has a great article on what to do if you’re addicted to your smartphone.
What did I miss? Please tell me in the comments.