28 Feb 10 Things to Do to Get Off Your Phone
Since the pandemic the average amount of time adults spend consuming media has jumped astronomically, meaning that we now each spend around 7+ hours a day viewing content across out phones, laptops, TVs and more. Nearly 60% find this to be enough of a problem that we have actively tried to cut down on our phone time, and of that 60% only 40% succeeded in any measurable way. It is a hard task! So, we have put together a quick list of things you can to do instead of reaching for your phone every few minutes.
1. Commit to plans
One of the easiest ways to stop ourselves from going on our phones is to find compelling distractions in the real world. So, we recommend you put more effort into plans with loved ones in the real world. Technology has also made it a lot easier to cancel last minute and mess each other around: flaking often as our founder talks about in her latest book. Don’t be that person, make real-world plans and stick to them, you will be far less likely to reach for your phone.
2. Talk face to face
Another way to combine time with loved ones with putting our phones down is to prioritise in-person conversation. If the person you are texting or messaging lives near enough, why not make a plan to meet up for a walk or a coffee? You will get far more out of the interaction and both be off your phones for a while!
3. Allow yourself to zone out
If we are constantly reaching for our phones whenever we have a moment to think we never allow ourself that time to zone out. So, we challenge you, next time you are standing at the bus stop, or waiting in line at a shop, instead of instinctively reaching for your phone to allow yourself to be mindful of the world around you instead of desperately needing a distraction.
4. Declutter your home screen
Most of us have plenty of apps on our home screen but how useful are all of them? One way to help you get off your phone is to go through all the apps you have downloaded and decide which are important to have on your phone. This could include deleting games, some email accounts, photo-editing apps or more: whichever are your mindless time-suckers to allow you to move through your phone more efficiently without getting distracted!
5. Use mobile websites over apps
In the same vein, we would always recommend you use mobile websites over apps. Apps are designed to be addictive and whilst mobile websites are to some extent also designed in the same way the user experience is not as all-consuming, making it easier to disentangle yourself after you have found what you are looking for. If you don’t believe us: try using instagram through the mobile site, we guarantee you won’t be there nearly as long as usual!
6. Bring an activity with you
One of the most common reasons to go on your phone is to fill time. Perhaps you are waiting for a friend, queueing in a shop, having a quick coffee break or sitting in a waiting room, most of us pick up our phones by default. Instead, we challenge you to find an analogy activity to fill that time and to bring it with you on your day, the same way you would a phone. We have many recommendations if you are interested. They include: reading a book, sewing, crotchet, origami and many more: there will be a hobby for everyone.
7. Call instead of texting
Yet another way to stay more connected and get off your phone (sort of) is to call instead of texting. We understand that it is not always feasible to wait and make plans to speak to people, especially if they live far away, but it is almost always possible to call instead. Calling is far better for human connection and gets you off your screen (even if you are using it for another purpose!).
8. Be mindful of your tech use
If you are looking for ways to get off your phone it is likely you have been noticing yourself reach for your phone more than you want to. If that is the case you are already halfway to success. The next step is to actively notice when you are engaging in those practices, stop, reflect if you actually want or need to use your phone and hopefully not pick it up.
9. Disconnect regularly
Perhaps the most obvious tip we have is to take some time offline regularly. You could assign one day, or block times throughout your schedule but however you do it make sure you allot time every week to spend time offscreen. Each time you practice this it will be easier to incorporate time offline back into your day-to-day.
10. Allow yourself time out
Finally we have a tip stolen from Cal Newport, who our founder interviewed for our podcast. He talks about the need for all of us to have some time when we are not working, or playing, or actively doing anything. He calls making use of this time going to our ‘cabin in the woods’ of our mind. So, our final tip is to make the most of your mental space for thinking and reflection, even (and perhaps especially) when there is nothing to do.
For more about how you can get off your phone – pick up a copy of our new book: My Brain Has Too Many Tabs Open. Available to order here.