How to Use Your Phone Less

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If you actually try to more mindful and observant with what you do, you’d realize that you spend a lot of time using your phone. Apple has an app/system config for that now right? But you don’t need that, just dare yourself to not use/touch/look at your phone for 10mins and you’ll laugh in embarrassment lol. It’s common knowledge already that using your phone a lot has negative impacts socially, mentally or physically. This article aims to give you ideas on how to use your phone less.

This topic actually came to mind not because I was noticing and experiencing negative impacts of it, but rather, I noticed it because of socialization, like when you’re in an aprés ski 🙂 I noticed that people (I myself included) look a lot at their phones even very briefly. Either when they’re waiting for someone, or a conversation is not going well, or if there’s just something weird/wrong going on with their own social interaction. As I try to observe social behaviours, I even learn from experts that people look at their phones out of anxiety. That’s when the alarm bells rung for me.

So for me, I just had this encouragement to be more mindful and not use my phone ESPECIALLY on a social setting. I realize that it’s probably because I’m only bored, trying to kill time, or doing it for social reasons. None of which are good reasons so let me just attend to the core reason directly 🙂 Even more so, when subjected to a lot of people you don’t know and you’re trying to get to know them (which I get into a lot), it’s easy to retreat on your phone, “look busy”, and just dodge the interaction right? So for one, you’re being shy and more importantly you’re missing on opportunity.

It’s like, you want to take one step forward. Not pulling out your phone / dealing with your awkwardness is ‘doing nothing’, but pulling out your phone is actually a double whammy and it’s taking ‘one step back’.

Start Taking Apps Out of Your Home Screen

You don’t need to uninstall or delete apps, just don’t have those icons/shortcuts on your home screen

Here’s mine. See those empty spots? I took out: Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp. I don’t really spend a lot of time with Facebook like when I hear other people’s behaviours. I usually just use it for sharing memes, funny stuff, something smart/insightful, posting my blog. On the consumption side of things, I just want to see a couple of derp memes, get a few giggles out of it, then go on with life. But damn, my feed’s saturated with memes (and they’re good too!) Either it’s Facebook algo knowing what to give me now, or everyone’s meme games are stepping up LOL. So I know #memesForLife, but damn, I wasn’t serious with that and I don’t want to spend no more than 10mins lol.

Instagram’s very debatable for me. I have nothing but good things to say about Insta. It’s def saturated with travel and/or snowboard media for me, so that’s always good. I don’t spend much time at all with insta too actually. It’s just that, if I’m out and I pull out my phone and I spend 5 seconds on it, that’s 5 seconds I could’ve used to muster up courage/brush off awkwardness and actually come up and talk to someone, anyone.

Whatsapp; that read receipt is sometimes a trip for some people.

So anyways, going back, out of sight, out of mind. You don’t really have to do any mental work here. It’s also not meant to greatly reduce your phone use. What this does is that, you’ll still compulsively pull out your phone but then you’d be surprised why the icon you’re looking for is gone (this is a moment for you to have some realization). And then strictly because of your laziness of having to pull out the main app list and looking for your app, you may be lucky and just give up and put your phone down! 2 progress just by removing icons in the home screen!

This is more resounding if you have those “recently used app” shortcut on your phone. As you make this change and go through the progress, you’ll see those apps drop out of that list. Eventually what happened to me was: “woah, most used app: Gmail” LOL WUT.

Have Your Phone on Silent…indefinitely.

I’m talking about no audio tone at all, not even the vibrate option. No one calls nor sends text message nowadays right? If it’s an “important” social message (e.g.: fb, or whatsapp), then you can technically use your computer to open that up right? You spend a lot of time on that too anyways right? LOL If you’re really concerned about important things, turn off everything except the tones for actual phone calls (only via your phone plan, not like calls via fb/whatsapp). If there’s really something very important, people will call you through that.

Again for this one, it’s not meant to change your behaviour. I find this effective for me in a very specific way. You will probably still go on with your habits after doing this, but you know when sometimes you actually get in a moment? Like if you ended up having a good conversation with someone; a friend, a new person, whoever and then things are flowing that you actually forget time, or the fact that you have a phone and you have these bad habits. You know those moments right?

And then do you remember some of those moments when you guys are in the flow, and then you hear your phone buzz, and then you attend to it and then…things get interrupted and then you guys can’t get back to the flow any more?

Yea this act is meant to prevent that. Proactively and hopefully, the more you have good, proper, human conversations the more you’ll be motivated to do these instead of texting…and also realize on the things you’ve been missing.

Don’t Place It on Your Desk, in Front of You

Last but not the least, this is an easy thing to do and this is the one where I noticed it the fastest. I had this habit of placing my phone on my desk, beside my keyboard at work. I noticed that I’d even just tap it and look at notifications even when I don’t have/want to and even if I actually know there are no new notifications warranting a check. This is when you clearly know that it’s just a habit/reaction. The moment your eyes so those screens your brain’s like: “yea why not, it’s there. It doesn’t hurt to tap.” and then you just do it without active thought.

Now what I first did was to just put my phone face down. This immediately had an impact because I’d be typing and I’d see my phone in my periphery and my brain and hands would do that tap reaction and then my brain’s gonna be: “Oh wait hold up, why would we tap the back of your phone?”. You’d then catch yourself and not do it.

This is actually enough for you to realize and change things but if you’re ready for expert mode, the next step is to actually put it in your jacket. This is when you’ll notice you could go on for hours without it!

To clarify, the point of putting it in your jacket is: 1. “Out of sight, out of mind” and 2. you don’t have any direct touch/interaction with your phone. Here we have four seasons so when I say “I put it in my jacket”, I mean I put it in my winter jacket. Since I’d be indoors, I obviously wouldn’t be wearing it inside. I’d have it hanging behind my seat or on some jacket rack/hanger/etc. So this means I’m not touching my phone at all.

If you’re wearing a jacket/cardigan/etc for style and it’s always on you while you’re out/working, that doesn’t count. Don’t put it in your pants too. The problem with these is that, you’re actually touching it, and feeling it (thus you’d get reminded). I tried leaving it in my pocket before but every time you stand or change position while sitting, you’ll notice it because it’s poking out of your pocket and you can feel it. Same goes with indoor jackets; much worse if you’ve developed that “pulling out” habit/reaction on those clothes. I have this on certain suit jacket chest pockets.

If you don’t have jackets and/or you’re a woman(or man) with bags, put it in your bag instead. Put it in the main zipper, let it sink underneath the rest of your items.

Another tip I have (which may be specific to me) is I slide it between my thighs, when sitting down. Can you picture what I mean? Sit down and you’ll see that there’s that space between your legs, near your crotch. There. The thing here is that my phone is incredibly thin so when I slide it on there no matter what I do, no matter how much I move, I actually cannot feel/notice my phone. It’s at the point that sometimes I’d stand up, and then it’d move and then I’d really accidentally sit on my phone.

So if your phone’s big or noticeable, don’t do this. This doesn’t count for you.

That’s basically it. If you just realize and notice your phone use, that’s a big enough improvement already. If you’re being proactive in remedying it, even better. That’s it 😀 Keep the conclusion quick, easy, and simple 😀 Remember, always flush the toilet after use.

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