Your alarm goes off, and you roll over to tap your phone awake, scrolling through any new notifications that may have popped up overnight. You tote your phone to the bathroom while you shower. You have it easily accessible in your pocket on the way to work (checking during every red light or while waiting for the train), and lay it face-up on your desk (so you can peruse while waiting for that annoying rainbow spinning wheel to disappear).
Later, after work is over it stays on the table throughout your dinner and you do five (okay, 45) minutes of absentminded scrolling before bed.
Sound familiar? Thought so.
Motorola released a Phone-Life Balance Study that shows exactly how consuming your phone obsession is. They surveyed 4,418 smartphone users aged 16 to 65 in the U.S., Brazil, France, and India and found that, while 60 percent of people surveyed say it’s important to have a life separate from their phones, 65 percent admit they “panic” when they think they’ve lost their smartphone and 29 percent agree that when they’re not using their phone they’re either “thinking about using it or planning the next time [they] can use it.”
All that device time isn’t just damaging your health by causing tech neck and digital eye strain, shortening your attention span and messing with your memory. It’s ruining your social life too: One-third of respondents to the Motorola survey reported prioritizing their smartphone over engaging with people they care about and want to spend time with, and more than half of Gen Z respondents describe their phone as a best friend.
And when your most important friendship in life is with something that needs a USB charger, you know things need to change. You can probably tell when your phone use is getting excessive and when it’s time to start cutting back on your screen time. Here are some tips for doing just that.
1. Stop using all the bells and whistles.
Smartphones make life easier. You will not ditch your phone, go Google Maps-less, and spend all day getting lost in the name of breaking your cell phone addiction.
What you can do is pick and choose which behaviors you’d like your phone to help you with. An easy one: Go back to using an old-fashioned alarm clock to reduce the temptation to scroll before bed and immediately upon waking up.
2. Be selective about alerts and notifications.
Do you really need to be notified of every single “like” on your latest Instagram? Think about which notifications are mission-critical, and disable those that aren’t.
3. Use a phone-use tracking app.
Though it might sound counterintuitive, you can use your phone to get you off your phone. Meet Space, an app that’s specifically dedicated to helping people find phone-life balance.
It helps you decode your phone-usage personality and understand your emotional triggers, then tracks your phone usage over time to help you really see the level of your obsession.
Opt into the notification blocker and screen dimming tools, or even compete with friends (Fitbit-style) to discourage phone obsession and encourage more real-life moments.
Even without the app, you can make a pact with friends or your S.O. to stow phones during dinners or other social moments. You’ll be more present and the conversation will be so much livelier.