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.
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.