6 Ways to Combat Your Smartphone Addiction

January 28, 2015

2:30 pm

If you’re like me, you’ve probably sat at a restaurant and scoffed at some of your fellow diners, hunched over their phones and not talking to each other. Classic smartphone addiction. Of course, when you pull out your smartphone at the dinner table – but rarely, of course – it’s for truly important things.

Like checking your Klout score.

Most of us realize that constantly checking our phones can make us stressed and sleepless, give us tendonitis, and draw us away from our loved ones. A few of us have had that oh-my-God, wakeup experience of almost crashing our cars or (as the case might be) walking directly into a black bear:

Our smartphone addiction is alternatively funny and sad, frustrating and ridiculous. It takes gargantuan amounts of self-control to not wile away time mindlessly checking Facebook, scrolling through emails, or playing another game. Sometimes hard-and-fast rules can be the best way to limit those behaviors – here are a few ideas:

Don’t be that guy

“My rule: no texting whilst walking. After a bad fall and one very swollen leg, I’ve banned myself from texting while walking. I now make myself look up and enjoy my surroundings. Good for both my body and mind.”

– Ilana Stemmer, head of communications at Keepod

Be mindful

“When I reach to grab my phone, I always ask myself ‘why?’ What intention do I have by reaching for my phone? What am I going to do with the phone? If I don’t know the answer, then I’m about to aimlessly poke around on my phone like a buffoon, so I put the phone back down.”

– Brad Soroka, senior UX designer at Digital Telepathy

Add a barrier

“I organize all my apps in groups that sit in the dock, so I don’t have one-tap access to any app on my phone.”

– Brad Soroka, senior UX designer at Digital Telepathy

Wait

“For 15-30 minutes every morning, I cannot open any emails or messages. I can only use that time to come up with MY OWN goals and plans for the day. After that 30 minutes has passed, I can let the rest of the world in. It’s tough but I’m trying.”

– Joey Panek, web entertainer

“I don’t check emails until I’ve finished my morning practices and planned my day. In planning, I define who I am waiting on and when I do open my email, it’s only to search for their responses. It’s not until I get one big project completed in the morning that I check my emails.”

– Dan Martell, CEO of Clarity

Well, that makes sense

“I have a strict policy of not using my phone when it runs out of battery. I’m very disciplined in these scenarios.”

– John Foley, cofounder and CEO of Peloton

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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