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Trick Yourself Into Using Your Smart Phone Less

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The introduction of smartphones into our modern world has been a major blessing, and a curse. As we enjoy features like access to our friends and family no matter their location, we’re also becoming dependent on our devices, leading us to use our phones a lot throughout the day. How often do we find ourselves mindlessly scrolling through Twitter, Instagram or Facebook before we realize 10 or 15 minutes have passed? The average human spends about four hours on their phone a day, and that number only increases the younger the phone user is. If you feel like you spend too much time glued to your mobile device and find it distracting, here are some tips to curb that habit.

  1. Keep your phone away from your bed, on silent, and don’t use it right before you sleep or right when you wake up. We are all guilty of allowing our phones to interrupt our sleep, waking us from the REMS cycle when we hear a loud ping from a Twitter or text notification. Notice how not using your phone first thing in the morning, sets the tone for the rest of the day and decreases your itch to check your phone every 20 minutes.
  2. This may sound counterintuitive but, there are mobile apps that help reduce the time spent on time-devouring apps. Two major apps that have gained notoriety for helping phone-addicts end their unhealthy habits are Offtime and Freedom. Both block websites and apps that distract you on a regular basis, but Offtime goes a step further by collecting and analyzing your cumulative time spent on your device while also allowing you to set up notification blocks and automatic responses during moments where you want privacy.Image via VictorPR/iStock
  3. We often use our phones during dull moments of our day, such as standing in line at the store, in rush hour traffic stops or while waiting for an appointment. Instead of whipping out your phone, try leaving your phone in your pocket or bag,taking a deep breath and taking in the sights around you. Sometimes our phones can add to our stress, and finding moments to quickly meditate throughout the day are can help you remain calm and balanced.
  4. Delete the social media apps that you gain nothing from and do not contribute to. It is no secret that social media tends to be a black hole for your time and attention, heavily contributing to the hours we spend on our phones daily. So, if you notice that you are wasting time on apps that you do not post on, or doesn’t provide you with important information, delete it off your phone.
  5. Lastly, remember other hobbies you enjoy (whether that’s reading, creating art, building machines, etc.) and try to schedule more time doing those activities that fulfill you, without having your phone nearby. If you have to hide your phone from yourself just to sit down and watercolor for a few hours, then so be it! You will feel much better about your time being spent on satisfying personal projects.

Now you have some tools to reduce your screen time, put down your phone or tablet, close your laptop, and enjoy some time “off the grid”.

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