Productivity

5 Easy Ways To Break Your Phone Addiction

How many seperate times a day do you think you touch your phone? 20? 50? 100 if you’re super bored?

Try 2,617.

And that’s just for average users. The heaviest smart phone users touch (tap, swipe) their phone 5,427 per day.

That’s 340 times per waking hour.

5 times per minute.

Even average users touch their phones twice per minute.

This metric includes every touch – so every time you tap, click or swipe that counts as a touch. That’s a lot of touching. For average users all this touching equals about 145 minutes per day, heavier users would touch their phones for 225 minutes.

phone addiction

This doesn’t sound so bad but that equals 2.5 hours in our day.

Using a smart phone for 2.5 hours a day isn’t a problem at all, if you are conscientiously using that time for that purpose. If you spend a blissful 2.5 hours a day chatting to your mates on Facebook, looking at beautiful Instagram photos and reading interesting articles that fulfil you, I’d say that is time well spent. However if you’re spending 2.5 hours a day (or more) mindlessly scrolling, not really absorbing anything you’re looking at, that’s a lot of time that could be spent doing something else. Like going for a walk, reading a book, doing something creative or watching a movie.

Sometimes I have people ask me where I find the time to do things. Like crochet my own clothing or cook healthy meals every night. I don’t have kids so that’s a good start but honestly? It’s because I don’t waste time. Lying on the couch and dicking around on my phone is just as appealing to me as it is to most of the population but it provides me very short lived satisfaction. I’d much rather spend half an hour in the kitchen making a beautiful meal than lie in a comatose state on the couch for ‘just a few minutes’ and then panic and order takeaway for dinner because I blinked and an hour disappeared.

Having said that, I do spend a lot of time on Facebook because it’s awesome. I get to see what my mates back home are doing, I get to see my niece spam on my mum’s wall and I get to catch up on my favourite blogs. It’s great… but’s not 4 hours a day worth of great.

Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference between quality phone time and non- quality phone time. For me personally it’s all about The Loop. I check email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Then I check email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. By the time I’ve finished ‘checking’ (what even is this ‘checking’? What am I expecting to be there? Free puppies? Piles of unclaimed cash?) Instagram it’s time to check email again.

When I find myself in the dreaded loop, here are a few things I do to break my phone addiction.

1. Delete the biggest time sucker apps off your phone

So I obviously need to be on Facebook nearly every day. I have blog, I have a business and I have two podcasts that rely on me being on Facebook. It would be almost a year ago now that I deleted the Facebook app from my phone and I can’t tell you how much of a difference it’s made to my life. I no longer default to picking up my phone if a webpage is taking longer than a nano second to load. I don’t mindlessly scroll through Facebook while I’m waiting at the post office and I don’t make myself feel sick on the tram because I can’t help but spend the whole of my 20 minute commute commenting on other people’s Facebook posts. At the moment Apple don’t allow you to block apps but if you’re an Android user, Offtime will actually stop you from accessing apps like Instagram and Facebook. If every time you pick up your phone, you don’t get that hit of Facebook dopamine, you’ll soon disassociate your phone with those kind of feelings. If I need to do a Facebook live crochet class or a lesson for Secret Bloggers’ Business, I just re-install the app for those events and delete it again when I’m done. Easy.

phone addiction

2. Leave your phone at home often

I do this nearly every day. If I’m going to get a coffee in the morning from my local cafe, I’ll leave my phone at home. I don’t need it so I go tech free and enjoy the walk. Same thing if I’m going to the theatre – I’ll tell whoever I’m meeting that I won’t have my phone and the sky hasn’t fallen in once. We’re so used to having information and safety in our pockets that we tend to panic at the thought of not having our phones with us. What if there’s an emergency? What if plans change? What if the person who’s meeting you is late? Yes, I’ve had that happen. I always tell people if I won’t have my phone and when they’re late, they’re just late. It’s fine. Me knowing they’re late doesn’t change how late they’re going to be and if they don’t show up after 20 minutes, I leave. Just like I did in the 90s. It’s really refreshing. It also holds people accountable. We have the option of being late these days, because we can just text to say we’re on our way but can’t we just be on time instead? For the love of god, can’t we all just be punctual? (*sobs quietly*).
phone addiction

3. Every time you find yourself dicking around on your phone, give yourself permission to do something you like

The problem with phones is that they provide this lovely little warm sanctuary of distraction. You can hang out there for 20 minutes, no trouble and go back to what you’re doing. It’s also weirdly acceptable to be on your phone. If you’re at work, you can quickly grab your phone and text someone or share a link and it’s a fine. You couldn’t take the book you’re reading out in the middle of your work day and read a few chapters though. That would be extremely weird but essentially it’s the same thing. If you’re using your phone in your down time as a relaxation tool, give yourself permission to do something you really want to do instead. Let’s face it, when you plop down on the couch with your phone when you get home from work, you’re going to be there for the next 20 minutes. If you want to spend that time on Facebook, go for it and enjoy it but if you’d rather read, knit, paint, go for a walk, make an amazing gourmet dinner or meet a mate for drink, do that instead. You can spend your time any way you like, just make sure you’re doing it on purpose. It’s so hard to give yourself 20 minutes to read your book in the afternoon (it’s like weirdly indulgent or something) but wasting that time on Facebook is fine? We need to change that narrative.

phone addiction

4. Use the Self Control app

I often block Facebook for the full 8 hours of my work day. I wake up in the morning, go to the gym and then check Facebook for the first time at about 9am. I’ll spend about 20 minutes answering comments and then I shut it off until 4pm. I don’t get much productive stuff done from 4pm onwards so Facebook is great place for me to be at that time. I also don’t have Facebook on my phone and I’ve logged out and deleted the password from the Safari browser. It’s so unbelievably freeing and makes me a million times more productive. For example, I’ve been writing this article for the last hour without checking Facebook because it’s not an option. With constant Facebook checking, this article could have taken four hours to write. Without it, I’m looking at two hours tops.

phone addiction

 

5. If you can, delete your Facebook profile

I’d love to try this but I can’t because of work but if I wasn’t an internet person, I straight up wouldn’t have Facebook. Or at the very least I’d have my settings so tight I’d only see things I wanted to see and it would be for family and friends. I’d love to hear any thoughts from people who aren’t on Facebook or have taken big breaks from Facebook. Let me live vicariously through you.

This week on Straight & Curly, Kelly and I are talking about phone addiction and how to kick your clicking habit.

Also Kelly and I are extremely sad pandas and in the move to become an independent podcast we lost our ratings, rankings and reviews. It’s actually extremely heart breaking. If you listen to (and enjoy!) Straight & Curly and you have a few moments today, if you could leave a review that would be amazing. And yes, it will add to the amount of time you use your phone for today but it’s for an EXCELLENT cause.

So tell me… do you have a phone addiction? Or are you cool to leave your phone untouched for hours at a time?

P.S Also you should totally sign up for my newsletter. It’s full of cool stuff.

21 Comments

  1. Michaela 2 months ago

    How many separate times a day do you think you touch your phone? ~ For me, a total of three times. Maybe.
    1) Once in the morning to turn my alarm off
    2.) Afternoon to start my Pandora app
    3.) In the evening to reset my alarm.

    I kind of wonder why I have the thing, since I never text and I don’t use it for social media. =/

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 months ago

      Wow that’s amazing! I wish that was me. I don’t have my phone in my bedroom at all – I use my watch to wake myself up in the morning.

  2. gabbybustos 2 months ago

    Wow, these statistics are scary!! Thanks for the tips.
    -Gabby
    http://www.orcuttfamilydentistry.com

  3. Missy D 2 months ago

    I’m pretty okay with leaving my phone untouched, I think having a work phone the last few years has probably cured me of that – I just don’t want to see it.

    My biggest use of my phone is keeping up conversations with friends on Whatsapp (we have some friends living overseas and our group chats keep us close) and listening to podcasts and music when I’m walking to and from places. I don’t check into FB much – it’s kinda boring.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 months ago

      I’m so not into WhatsApp. I travel in groups a lot and people are always like ‘Let’s start a WhatsApp group!’ and I’m like ‘No’. I just don’t like it. It’s another whole thing I have to have on my phone and there’s already too much stuff on there anyway.

      • Missy D 2 months ago

        Omg, it’s soooo good. Especially amazing for when half our close friends are living overseas. It’s a nice feeling to know they’re only a couple of messages away. It’s kept us very close as friends. And way more cost effective than texting!

  4. Marion 2 months ago

    What self control app do you recommend?

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 months ago

      The app is called Self Control. It’s for Mac users. 🙂

  5. Reannon 2 months ago

    I have t had Facebook for nearly 2 years & I don’t miss it at all. I deactivated my Insta account for about 4 months & it was great! I felt so much more productive & clearer in those months. When I tried to deactivate it in July it was gone- 6 years of stuff gone! At first I was sad but then I got over it. Just this last Saturday I logged out again because I feel myself getting twitchy, picking up my phone far more often than I’m happy with. There’s just something about Instagram that sucks me in! Not sure how long I’ll stay away for this time but I can already feel myself disconnecting from my phone again. It’s good. I like it.

    • Sheree 2 months ago

      I hear you I took fbook off my phone for that reason of getting terribly distracted. I do feel I need to log off Insta a bit more for days at a time as I pick up my phone & check it way too much…it sucks me in also way more than fbook I think it’s all the pretty pictures!!

      • Author
        Carly Jacobs 2 months ago

        Insta can be a major time suck – I find I default to insta when I don’t have FB on my phone.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 months ago

      That’s amazing. How do you read my blog if you don’t me asking? I always assume people click through from Facebook. I’d love to take a break from Facebook but it’s necessary for my work. I’m pretty disciplined though – I’m off it most of the day.

  6. Kelly 2 months ago

    Hmmmm I am probably in the high user category. I use my phone for work which means I have it on me all the time – it is beyond ridiculous. Though when I think about it such a handy little invention too. You always have a camera, you can listen to music, you can listen to a podcast, you can write lists, you can read your favourite blogs ,,, the list goes on! Its no wonder I am addicted, which is surprisingly hard to admit.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 months ago

      I totally agree – I ‘tracked’ my phone use with an app once and I was appalled but it included listening to music and podcasts. I’m never going to feel guilty for that. It’s amazing!

  7. Emily 2 months ago

    I took a year and a half off Facebook, and I felt like the most cheeky satisfied person alive when I pressed the ‘deactivate account’ option. I instantly felt lighter and almost relieved. Benefits included, Never having heard the latest news, my friends always had things to tell me whenever we met up. They would joke about having to call me when we were getting together rather than rely on group chats. I felt free and way more industrious – and I didn’t give a shit about ‘missing out’. In fact, might be time to do it again. I do have a business page, but I’d be happy to give the rest up for a while, and gain some clarity. Again.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 months ago

      It sounds amazing. I’ve stopped to replying to FB messages and when I block myself out of FB for the day, I text my mates to tell them funny things which is much nicer than tagging them on FB.

  8. Hannah 2 months ago

    I’m one of those who wish we could go back to exclusively using landlines. Ha! Half the time, I don’t know where my phone is and when I finally find it, it’s usually dead. If I can leave it at home, I do, and if I have to take it with me, I try to leave it in the car. (Because the emergency would be the car breaking down, right?) I got off facebook in 2013 and haven’t looked back, and I’ve never been on any other social media outlets, though I did begin a personal blog in 2015 and that’s turned out to be a fun hobby. 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 months ago

      I love how many people aren’t on Facebook here! It’s great. I think it’s becoming more of a common thing. I don’t like talking on the phone so I’d be happy if we just had texting on our phones and nothing else. 🙂

  9. Lisa Fourman 2 months ago

    Thank you so much for this blog post! I really needed it since I’m definitely addicted to my phone in every way! I need to delete the games off it along with the Amazon Kindle app. That way, I won’t have any reason to turn the screen on every 5 seconds. (I could also delete the Facebook app, Messenger app, and Twitter.)

    • carlyjacobs 2 months ago

      I think the Amazon Kindle app is fine – any way you can read books is A-ok but yeah I’d ditch the games and social media apps.

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