Phone addiction is real and it’s infiltrated our everyday existence. It’s hard to be anywhere in public without seeing a surprising number of individuals glued to their smartphones—crossing the street, in the checkout line while shopping, sitting down to dinner with loved ones. “We are spending far too much of our time doing things that don’t really matter to us,” observes Nancy Colier, author of The Power of Off. She describes that people have become “disconnected from what really matters, from what makes us feel nourished and grounded as human beings.”
In her findings, Colier notes some alarming statistics. “Most people now check their smartphones 150 times per day, or every six minutes.” Furthermore, “46 percent of smartphone users now say that their devices are something they ‘couldn’t live without.'” For those of us who fall in the category of excessive phone checking—whether it’s texting, refreshing our emails, or absentmindedly losing ourselves in social media black holes—Colier shared with The New York Times a few steps to become less addicted to your phone and get back to enjoying real life.
Determine what’s necessary. It’s not realistic to give up our phones entirely or to even set strict rules that ban phone time. Our phones are essential for catching important emails, calls, and texts and while we shouldn’t be checking them every six minutes, it is reasonable to stay tuned throughout the day. Assess your phone use and determine what’s really essential to get through the day and what’s actually just a habit that’s contributing to self-distraction. Commit to only relying on your phone for the former and cut out the excess that’s hogging up your time and attention.
Take baby steps. As you break your phone addiction, start with small steps that refocus your time and energy toward what really matters. Refraining from using your device while eating or spending time with friends should be rules you always follow. Consider what other activities fall into this category and begin to reduce phone use in ways that allow you to better enjoy the moment at hand.
Refocus your time. Take a time out to assess what really matters to you in life. What do you find most important and nourishing to your wellbeing? Decide to devote more time and attention to those practices as you reduce your phone time spent scrolling aimlessly through social media or compulsively refreshing your work email. You’ll eventually find these healthful activities—and a newfound attitude—will replace your bad phone habits and you’ll enjoy more of life with your eyes taking in what’s beyond the screen.
Head to the comments to let us know if you’re trying to break the habit and share what strategies are working for you.