If you are starting to feel anxious when your phone is not in sight or you find yourself checking for messages 100 times a day, then perhaps it is time to step back from overusing your smartphone. Modern phones are simply amazing - I am always in wonder of the technology involved in making a smartphone – they can be used as torches, are our morning alarm, have games, music, provide access to the Internet, make calls and so much more. But at times we all fall victim to getting too attached to our phones, to the point that it can make us feel negative or reliant upon these devices. So if you are overusing your smartphone - be brave, take a deep breath, turn it off and take a step back.
1 Take a 48 Hour Strike
If you are a true phone addict, then you may want to take a 48 hour break from overusing your smartphone. I will guarantee that if you don’t have a phone for a few days the world will keep on turning and you will be fine. If you don’t trust yourself, hand it over to a member of the family and then spend time completely away from phone technology. For hundreds of years people managed just fine without a phone and you will too. Go cold turkey, cut yourself off and begin to discover new ways to communicate and live your life.
2 Get an Alarm Clock
One of the traps of using your phone as your morning alarm is that you will want it close to your bed, and then when you wake up you will fall into the habit of checking your messages first thing. Staring at a screen is not a fun or healthy way to start your day. By investing in an alarm clock you can turn off your phone at reasonable time in the evening and leave it firmly switched off until you have finished your morning routine and are ready to face the day.
3 Remove Your Work Inbox
**Its 9:**00 a Friday night, and you hear a beep – 2 new messages in your work email inbox. Just out of idle curiosity you think "I may as well sneak a peek at my inbox and keep abreast of what’s going on at work." Having easy access to your work emails on your phone is a huge mistake because it stops you switching off from work in your free time and can leave you feeling drained. You will be more productive at work if you know that you can switch of at the end of the day and spend time with friends and family. If you make just one change to your smartphone usage, this is the important one.
4 Switch Your Phone to Silent
The constant vibrating and beeping of your phone can be a massive distraction. I’m sure we have all been out to dinner with a friend and rather than giving you their full attention they keep texting someone or checking for updates. Switching your phone on silent or simply keeping it out of sight and mind, helps you to give you full attention to what you are doing. Live in the moment and be swept away in what you are doing. There will always be time to catch up with people on the phone later.
5 Read a Book
Rather than wasting hours of your life lining up coloured cubes in Candy Crush, when you have time to kill (i.e. commuting to work) – simply read a book or do another light activity. Playing games on our phones can feel like a great way to turn off from the real work for a short time, but time is precious and when you look back on the hours you wasted playing monotonous games you might wish you had spent your time more wisely. Reading a book is a great way to shut out reality, whilst also giving our brains a good work out and with stories to inspire the soul.
6 Keep a Diary
Smartphones come with a neat handy diary to help us become more organised – but by using these online diaries we are inviting so many more reasons to rely on technology. Try buying an old fashioned paper diary to help you keep notes and remember important events. There are so many great styles and sizes to suit your personality – a diary is a pretty cool accessory to have; check out Paperchase for some inspiration.
7 Wear a Watch
Yes before we had smartphones we relied upon watches to tell the time. Watches are an awesome fashion accessory, as well as functional. In an important meeting looking at your smartphone can appear rude, and insinuate that you are bored and looking for other entertainment – whereas checking your time on a watch is harmless. From sports watches to gold diamante watches, there are so many styles to choose from. Once you get into the habit of using a watch you will be surprised at how much you relied on your phone to tell the time.
Switching off from your smartphone may seem pretty daunting but you will soon feel more positive and in control of your phone usage. By following these 7 steps you will dramatically cut the time you spend looking at your small phone screen and will no doubt find more time to do activities you really enjoy, giving your full attention to the tasks in hand. Having said all this I am not advocating chucking your fancy phone in the bin – there are times when having access to a torch or a map is just plain handy. What tips would you give to step back from using a smartphone?
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