How many times a day do you check your phone? How about how many times per hour? Probably way too many times right?!
If just thinking about unplugging from your phone makes you feel anxious, don't worry, you don't have to fully detach from your phone to get the same benefits! Starting with just small steps to being on your phone less can be very beneficial, you just need a plan of action. Below lists the best minimally invasive ways to decrease your time on the internet and more time in the present.
1. Put your phone on silent
This is an easy step from detaching from your phone. A notification on your screen is one thing, but to constantly being dinged and alerted to a new message can be overwhelming and cause you to feel anxious. Silent at least cuts the sound cue from letting your know you have a new message.
2. Turn off alerts
Unless the alert is something positive (such as a motivational quote from MotivateBot) Do you really need to know every single time you get a "like" on a picture or that your best friend just posted another picture of his cat? Probably not. Instead of constantly getting bombarded with alerts and notifications, turn these off in the notification settings.
3. Make it difficult to access apps
Move the apps you frequently find yourself checking into one group that causes you to have to click a few times before getting too, or move them to a far page on the app screen. The act of moving your apps away from what you first see when you check your phone will stop you from just going on autopilot and checking your mail and social media.
For the dock section where you can put apps that stay put, I recommend using apps that have nothing to do with messaging or social media. For example, I have a music app, notes, pictures, and calendar.
4. Use "airplane mode"
When you put your phone on airplane mode, this makes it so that you can't access the internet or wifi, and you won't get messages, calls, or emails. It's important to note that anyone can still call, tex, or email you, but you won't be notified of this until you turn airplane mode off.
Great for bedtime
I always put my phone on airplane mode when I get into bed so that I won't be tempted to surf the internet or check social media, and so that I won't be notified of a text, call, or email. The worst is waking up in the middle of the night to see you got a text or missed call from someone, and then not being able to go back to sleep because you are thinking about your response to the message.
Your alarms should still work even when on airplane mode, so don't worry about your alarm not going off in the morning.
5. Use "Do Not Disturb"
This is a great mode option if you don't want to fully disconnect from the internet, but you do want to silence texts and calls. The notification will still show on the app, but if you are reading something on the internet you won't be notified that someone tried to reach you.
This is a good one to use if you still want to be able to be reached by certain people or person, because you can choose to put "do not disturb" except for (blank person).
6. Set timers for when can check your phone
Instead of checking your phone every time you get a free moment, add an alarm on your phone to notify you it's been at least an hour or however long you want to wait to check your phone.
This is an especially good idea if you are waiting on an email and you can't seem to stop pushing refresh on your email app every minute.
7. Turn off badge icon on email
This is one thing I recently did and I am SO happy that I did. Instead of seeing that new emails have popped up in your inbox, turn that symbol off so that you won't be tempted to check your email every time a new one pops up.
You can turn off the badge icon for any of your apps that you want. For example, if it makes you anxious to see a text message waiting for you, turn off the notification for that app.
8. Wait at least an hour from waking to check your phone
What you do first thing in the morning greatly influences the tone for the day. Instead of scrolling through social media or checking your email first thing, instead get up and get some exercise or practice meditation. Being bombarded with demanding emails first thing in the morning starts your day on an anxious note.
9. Put your phone away at meal time
Focus all of your attention on your food increases mindful eating, meaning you enjoy your meal more and will feel more satisfied. If you are constantly distracting your tastebuds by scrolling through your phone, this leads to not only overeating but also decreased enjoyment of your meal.
Next time you sit to eat, put your phone away across the room so that you won't be tempted to play with it while you eat.