7 realistic ways to use your phone less

Smartphones grant us access to an endless stream of entertainment and let us talk to anyone we want whenever we like. It’s no surprise, then, that a lot of us are quite attached to our devices.

In a 2016 poll by Common Sense Media, 50% of teenagers said they were addicted to their phones. Another survey found that 75% of women feel like their smartphone usage has damaged their relationship and limited the amount of time they spend with their other half.

In short, some of us could do with spending a little less time with our phone. But how do you go about separating yourself from the most addictive piece of technology ever conceived? Here are a few tips.

Download an app to track your phone usage

Oh, the irony; using a phone to limit your phone usage.

But tracking your phone usage using an app like Moment or Breakfree is a real eye-opener, and it could be the push you need to finally put your phone down for a while.

Both apps include features to help curb your smartphone usage too, like giving you a gentle nudge when you’ve fallen into a Facebook scroll hole!

Don’t check it when someone else is in the room

Using your phone while you’re with someone is rude, but most of us do it anyway. It’s so common that it has a name: phubbing (a mix of phone and snubbing).

We know it’s hard to ignore a juicy notification, but your phone usage will drop dramatically if you commit to not using it when you’re in the company of other people. Just set your phone to silent and enjoy the ancient art of conversation for a while. Twitter will still be there when you come back!

Moderate your social media usage

Social media is brilliant but addictive. Opening Facebook and scrolling mindlessly has become a reflex action for many of us, even if we don’t really care about most of the content on there.

Giving yourself a well earned break from it all (a few hours a day is fine!) will give you more time to spend on actual useful stuff and help you spend less time on your phone too.

Embrace boredom

Smartphones have more or less killed boredom by allowing us to fill every quiet moment with social media, games and funny videos.

“Good!” we hear you say. “Being bored is rubbish!”

And you’re right. Being bored is rubbish. But, it may also be good for us.

According to a study by the University of Limerick, boredom motivates us to undertake meaningful tasks like developing our careers and finally writing that novel you’ve been talking about for years. When we’re constantly entertained, we lose that motivation and spend hours on Snapchat instead.

Turn off Wi-Fi and 4G

By cutting out the internet, you’re cutting out 95% of a smartphone’s temptations. It’s simple yet effective.

Don’t use your phone in the bathroom

Although there aren’t any statistics to prove it, we’re willing to bet that people spend a lot more time in the bathroom since the rise of smartphones.

It makes sense. Sitting on the toilet is boring and you have a wonderful machine that can access pretty much everything in the world in your pocket. Why wouldn’t you have a little browse?

Here’s why: bathrooms are totally gross. We posted about the dangers of using your phone in the bathroom a while ago, but to cut a long story short, there are loads of germs in your bathroom and they’re going to get on your phone.

Not using your phone in the bathroom will reduce your exposure to nasty germs and help you reduce your smartphone usage. Use toilet time to daydream instead.

Try going without your phone for a day

A wise man once said that the proof is in the pudding, the pudding in this case being a day without your smartphone.

It’s simple: set your phone to silent (or leave it at home!) and ignore it for a whole day. If you can survive, spending an hour or so less on your phone every day will be a piece of cake.

If you fail… well, that’s always tomorrow. Maybe try half a day instead.

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Here are 7 ways to use your phone less:

  1. Download an app to track your phone usage.
  2. Don’t check it when someone else is in the room.
  3. Moderate your social media usage.
  4. Embrace boredom.
  5. Turn off Wi-Fi and 4G.
  6. Don’t use your phone in the bathroom.
  7. Try going without your phone for a day.