A hand holding a smartphone with a grey table in the background.

How to control your smartphone fixation

It’s a no-brainer that smartphones are addictive but there’s more to life than just smartphones says Raisa Anan Mustakin.  

I used to be fixated on my smartphone. Somewhere in my mind, I was always conscious of this. However, being conscious is one thing and failing to act on that consciousness is another. I’m not proud to say that I failed numerous times to get a handle on the long hours I wasted in front of my phone’s screen. Despite this, I believed I could bring this unproductive habit of mine under control. I tried out the following (and this is me reporting back to all of you): 

1. Switch off all the notifications 

This is for the zillions of apps on your phone. I did it and soon realised that my life is quieter than I gave it credit for.  

2. Uninstall the apps that you can access on your PC 

This tip alone possibly decreased my total screen time by three hours. Now, I don’t have Instagram on my phone. Whenever I want to access it, I use the online version and access it by signing in. As it turns out, the extra steps of inputting my email and password every time I want to log in, are enough of a deterrent to reduce my impulsivity towards Instagram and other apps. 

3. Make your phone less interesting 

The above-mentioned tip will mostly do the trick. However, if there is any specific app that makes you check and use your phone often, allocate a fixed amount of time to it – and try your best to adhere accordingly. 

4. Make it physically harder to access your phone 

I used to put my phone in my pocket whenever I was at home. That led to using it when I was making a cup of tea or even when I was putting clothes in the washing machine. I’m still surprised that I haven’t yet accidentally thrown my phone in a pot of boiling water or in the washing machine!

I’ve started keeping myself away from this luxury. I keep my phone in a drawer inside my dressing shelf – and loathe as I am to admit this – I’m mostly lazy enough not to open my dressing shelf and drawer in order to access it. 

5. Avoid taking your phone to bed 

This was the hardest step for me. I don’t always use this tip, mainly because I don’t own an alarm clock and, with time, I have made a bad habit of putting an alarm on my phone. But if you do own an alarm clock, this tip is likely to increase your sleep time. 

6. Lastly, 

It’s impressive how vividly I remember a time in my life when feature phones were the only models available. If there is one other thing that I remember with equal vividness, it is that I never used to spend hours on end in front of my feature phone. Instead, I used to go out and spend joyful hours in nature, the public library, the parks or the local candy store. 

It’s been a process, but I’ve started embracing that there’s more to life than the smartphone in my hands. This understanding was the most helpful tip for me in controlling my smartphone fixation.

Feature Photo by nikko on Unsplash

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How to control your smartphone fixation

by Raisa Anan Mustakin Reading time: 2 min