A smartphone in today’s world is an essential tool to enhance our lives. However, more often than not, they end up disrupting our lives if we let them. The bottom line is- we need to have a healthy relationship with them in order to use the good stuff and ignore the rest. If you haven’t read the first part of this article, read it here:
Is your smartphone killing you?
Now that you’ve read that, let’s dive into the good stuff:
Use a dumb phone for a week
A lot of us have dumb phones lying around the house. You know, the ones that are only good for calling and texting. Dig it up, transfer your contacts and insert your SIM card. Use this for a week. At the end of a week, you will be able to figure out the really important apps you need versus the ones that just wasted your time. For precaution, carry the switched off smartphone with you in case you need it for emergencies.
Delete all unnecessary apps
After the one week experiment, you’ll be able to figure out the important apps that actually enhance your life. Keep those and delete all the rest. Definitely delete all social media apps. Some of the essential apps that most of us can benefit from are: GPS apps, Internet messengers, Reading apps, Music/podcasts, Camera, Calendar, Notes apps etc.
Don’t get data plan, use only WiFi
A lot of times, I find myself at home or in close proximity to a public Wifi. If you’re like me, a data plan is unnecessary. If you stop using it, you’ll save money and you’ll be less likely to whip out your phone in a moment of boredom. When I’m going out somewhere for the most part of the day and I feel I might need mobile data, I just subscribe to the one-day limited data packs for GPS and checking messages.
Do what you love
Back when we had dumb phones and no internet, we partook in interesting activities. For me, that is reading and listening to music. I still do those, but it’s a lot lesser. When I’m with my family and friends, having a good time or walking in nature, I am least likely to care about looking at the screen. You must have some activity you absolutely love to do. Just ignore the phone and do it. Make sure to-
Disable all notifications
This is essential if you keep internet on all the time. A tiny ding! from your phone will disrupt your attention and take your mind away from the moment and into the phone. Disable all notifications except calls. All messages are non-urgent. People rarely call these days. Explicitly tell people to call when urgent instead of sending you texts.
Mute when doing important tasks
Some people prefer to switch off their phones when studying or doing deep work. I’ll suggest muting all sounds and keeping it away in a drawer (or somewhere not visible). This way, you’ll be able to focus on your work and later, check if you missed any calls.
Decide phone-free times
Create rules for when you shall not use your phone. Encourage your family and friends to do the same. Examples- during dinner time, one hour after waking up, one hour before going to bed, etc.
Get a cheap smartphone
If you know your essential apps, get a cheaper smartphone that will be able to run limited apps. Cheap phones usually have lesser processing power and lower internal memory. This will make it cumbersome to install games and social media apps on a low-end phone.
Keep your home screen clean
Keep only the most accessed, most useful apps on the home screen. A cluttered home screen will stray you from your purpose of reducing phone usage.
Check phone once, at the end of the day
This is the trick that has helped me the most. I decide to check all messages and notifications only at the end of the day, just before dinner. This way, I can stay up to date on messages and still maintain my sanity!
Use these steps to find your ideal way to have a healthy relationship with your phone. The key is moderation, not abandonment. Let’s create a world where we control our devices instead of them controlling us.
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Is your smartphone killing you?
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Book recommendation for this week:
The slight edge teaches the importance of discipline in success. It’s about taking small and calculated steps towards your goals every single day and continuing to improve yourself even after reaching goals. Successful people fall when they stop doing the thing that brought them up there- daily improvement. Click on the image to buy!
Do check out the entire list of book recommendations on top of the home page titled “Best books”. If you are on mobile devices, click on “Menu” on the home page and then “Best books”.
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