4 Non-Extreme Ways to Use Your Phone a Lot Less
Here’s how to maintain your digital resistance
If you made a resolution to get off your phone, it’s probably starting to fall apart. The senseless alerts are back, your resolve to “just check one thing” bleeds into the next digital thing, and before you know it an hour (or two or three) have gone by.
You know what it’s costing you. You don’t want to be like the majority of Americans who spend on average 1,200 hours a year on their phone — a full waking month out of every year, a full waking year out of every decade. And yet: That greedy shard of metal and glass continues to gobble up your time and productivity.
Approaching my second anniversary of being iPhone-free, I can say from experience that lapses are inevitable. Remember: While you think that it’s just your two eyes looking at a screen, in reality, 10,000 programmers are looking back at you, recording your every click, constantly adjusting your digital environment so you’ll keep on scrolling.
A permanent digital diet is not only better for you financially, emotionally, and spiritually, it’s also very doable. Before you say, “I’m sorry, the phone is just too woven into my life for me to give it up,” let me offer a few tips. Not for going cold turkey, but for putting the phone in its proper place. You should be the user, not the used. Your phone should be a tool, not make you into one.
Here then are five ways to adjust your digital diet in a reasonable, sustainable way.
Delete your email account from your phone
You don’t need to answer mail on your phone. Really. In my two years being smartphone-free, I’ve found that I write more thoughtful emails with fewer mistakes when I take the time to answer them on my laptop during a prescribed period. If you find it too stressful delete all at once, resolve to reply only from your computer. You can bake that into your work habits by setting up an auto-reply informing your correspondents about your sane, measured approach.
Pare down the rest of your phone environment
Up until recently, most people thought they were getting something for free when they…