Most of us have a love-hate relationship with our phones--we have become attached to the immediacy of communication, yet we know that this can be a slippery slope. We struggle to keep the phones off the kitchen table during dinnertime. We find ourselves staring at social media instead of interacting with our kids, or are distracted by texts when we should be focused on our work.
We know what we need to do, but neuroscience has showed that the addictive properties of technology is real and difficult to resist. If you're motivated to nourish your relationships and strengthen your work and time management skills, there are several little things you can do today to help manage that urge to look at your phone:
1. Befriend Airplane Mode. Txts from your favorites will still go through if you are connected to wifi, but all other calls or notifications will be silenced.
2. Use a tech-happy basket. Keep a bin or basket in a main room in the house or in the office for mobile devices to be for a period of time, whether it be mealtimes or breaktimes.
3. Don't sleep with your phone! Put it in your tech-happy basket and trust that good ol' alarm clock.
4. Download apps that can help with managing online time. There are several free ones that can give you an idea of your phone use, encourage tech breaks, and even institute cold-turkey days. Examples are Moment (iOS) and Offtime (Android and iOS).
5. Rearrange your home screen, eliminating social media or other time-suckers.
6. Delete notifications that aren't 100% necessary. Those beeps and red icons are distracting and addicting. Checking your phone 10+x day for mail when you get notifications is not more effective or necessary than checking it without notifications a couple times a day.
Finally, if you feel like your smartphone addiction is out of control, affecting your mood and relationships, contact a licensed professional counselor who can help.