I did a piece not too long ago on healthier connectivity—and a lot of those tips apply to your phone, too, but that little world-in-your-hand device holds a special place in the annals of hang-on-just-a-second-wait-whoops-what-did-you-say-I-was-distracted. It’s super-easy to check your phone here, there, and everywhere… and then to get sucked into email, games, social media, and everything else.
I’m a big fan of my smartphone—don’t get me wrong—but I do a few things to keep it in its place, so that it doesn’t take over my life. Here’s a few ideas to try:
Have a ridiculous, brightly-colored phone case. That thing where you try to just sneak your phone out someplace where you really shouldn’t? It’s a lot harder to do when your phone is hot pink. Or neon orange. So this is what I do to help make sure I’m not taking out my phone when I shouldn’t.
Take away the time-sucks. Everyone has their own favorite games to play on their phone, but if you know you’re prone to getting lost in them, ditch ’em. I leave the “just a few more minutes” games on my tablet, so that I have to be more intentional about playing them. It means I’m less likely to get sucked in at random times.
Don’t push it. Unless you’re a super-important person (maybe you are; I don’t judge), you probably don’t need push notifications enabled for your email. And I would say that no one needs push notifications on their social media like Facebook and Twitter. Want to use them on your phone? Great. But turn off those notifications. (Not for Happier, though. Leave those ones on. Ha!)
Unless you’re waiting on health/safety news from a loved one, put it to bed when you go to bed. Yep, I covered this one before. It bears repeating. The world will continue without you for 6-8 hours, I promise.
Etiquette is etiquette. Would you have a phone conversation while simultaneously talking to someone else? Of course not; it’s not only difficult, it’s rude. So why do we feel like it’s okay to text and talk, or check email and talk? Pretend your phone is, you know, a phone (even if you’re not using it for “phone” things) and just ask yourself, “Is this an appropriate time for me to be on the phone?” It really can be that simple.
Keep your phone working for you, rather than ruling you, and you’ll be happier.