With more revelations coming out about the dangersof too much phone-gazing, many of us are looking back to the time before smartphones with rose-tinted spectacles. Is it possible to go back to those halcyon days when we weren’t bothered with messages 24/7 and work stopped when we got home?
Well, probably not. But you can cut your screentime significantly by following some of our handy digital detox hints:
Notice your phone usage
Ever found yourself reflexively reaching for your phone without making a conscious decision to do so? Me too. Try to make a note every time you touch your phone. If nothing else, this should let you know just how much you’re using your devices. Hopefully it will also train you out of any absentminded phone-checking habits you’ve picked up.
Delete your favourite apps
This isn’t the same as abandoning them entirely! For example, you can still check social media on your smart devices without the apps. It’s just that bit trickier, as you have to use the browser to do so. That smidgeon of extra effort can be surprisingly effective at cutting down mindless social media scrolling! Plus, it’ll free up a ton of memory on your phone and stop those pesky red bubbles clamouring for your attention all the time.
Download a screentime app
There’s a range of apps out there which will help to limit the time you spend phone gazing. Apps like Freedom can schedule lockout times for certain (or all) apps, while apps like Space can track your screentime and app usage patterns to make you more mindful of your digital habits. Find a list of the best time-out and digital detox apps here.
Turn off push notifications
It’s much easier to ignore your phone when it’s not yelling at you all the time. Turning off push notifications for your most distracting apps will make a world of difference to your screentime, trust us!
Out of sight, out of mind
Having devices to hand is deadly for the digital detoxer. It’s way too easy for your hand to stray to the phone for ‘a quick check’ which takes you down an internet rabbit hole in no time. Make things easier for yourself by putting your devices somewhere you can’t easily reach them. Popping them in a cupboard in the next room means you’re less likely to use them frivolously.
Introduce ‘phone breaks’ when socialising
Since the smoking ban was introduced, we’ve all got used to the idea that our smoker mates will head out of the pub every now and again for a cigarette break. Why not introduce the same kind of thing for phone checking? Make it a rule that phones can only be checked at certain times (or in certain places) while you and your friends are out together.
Make the bedroom a phone-free zone
Phones and sleep are sworn enemies. They can’t co-exist. Improve your sleep and train yourself to exist without your devices by making the bedroom a phone-free zone. If you’re really serious about this digital detox, ban all tellies, computers etc from the bedroom. And don’t let Alexa in there, either, no matter how hard she begs you.
Use a ‘real’ camera
You know how it goes. You snap a pic with your phone camera, intending to do nothing but quickly post it and move on. But then you open the app to share your snap with the world, and there are loads of notifications and someone’s posted something which catches your eye…and before you know it you’re back down that rabbit hole. To prevent this from happening, we suggest that you purchase a ‘real’ camera – i.e. one of those box things with a big lense which isn’t connected to the internet. That way, you’ll at least have to wait until you can get the memory card into a computer before you can upload your pics.