This is not a sanctimonious mom blogger telling you that you suck at being a mom and that you are addicted to your phone.
This is me. Real-life me trying to figure out how to spend more time with my kids and less time with my smartphone.
I often feel like I need a smartphone detox. Here are some of the tactics I have used to try and break my smartphone addiction. You can use them too if you are feeling like you are addicted to your phone.
For one of my smartphone detox actions, I took a one-month break from Facebook. Know what I did? I made my first quilt! That’s how much time I earned back.
All of a sudden, when my phone wasn’t vying for my attention, I had time. I had time to play with my kids, and I had time for new endeavors. If you feel like you are addicted to your phone, imagine the activities you could do if you had more time in your day.
I’m keeping it real. Smartphone addiction is a real struggle in my house.
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Use these tips to help end smartphone addiction:
1 – Turn off email push notifications
The first step to detox when you are addicted to your phone is to turn off your smartphone email push notifications.
When you turn them off, you no longer know about all the insignificant emails coming into your phone day in and day out. Even if you use your phone for work, it is rare you need to check your email the second one arrives. People use email to communicate non-urgent matters. If the matter is urgent, they can make a phone call, or at the very least, send a text message. Your email can wait until it is time to check your email.
Set a specific time (or times) every day to check your email. I highly recommend not checking your email first thing in the morning either. Instead, do those more important tasks you have been meaning to accomplish. You can check your email when you are done with higher priorities.
2 – Turn off social media push notifications
Instead of dropping everything to watch other people live their lives, continue to live your life.
Turn off all social media push notifications.
I love Facebook and Instagram as much as the next person. However, there is often not much going on that can’t wait until later. Spend more time focusing on your family, your activities, intentional parenting and you living the life you want to live.
You can always check social media when you take a downtime moment later in the day.
3 – Don’t carry your phone with you everywhere you go
Pick a place in your home to leave your phone. You can even leave it charging. Turn the volume all the way up. Now walk away and let it hang out by itself.
If you have the volume turned all the way up, you won’t miss any important calls from your significant other or other important people. It’s a weird feeling I know. I was always the gal with the phone stuck in her rear pocket. You will survive without your phone touching you throughout the entire day. I didn’t believe it either, but it does work!
If you are out an about, put your phone in your purse. Again, leave the volume all the way up if you like. You won’t miss any important phone calls, but you will spend more quality time with the people around you.
You can make your iPhone say the contact name when it rings. This can allow you to ignore calls from people you don’t care to talk to right now. My friends get a real kick when my phone says “Pumpkin” when my husband calls!
4 – Hide some “Friends” on Facebook
Today’s politics and drama taught me that I don’t really appreciate some of my “Friends” on Facebook.
I’m not talking about the friends that bring intelligent conversations to the table. I’m talking about the ones that are so close-minded that they post things without any willingness for discussion or so matter-of-fact they seem ridiculous.
So, to deal with these “friends” I “unfollowed” them. I did not “unfriend” them. They are just no longer someone I follow in the Facebook world.
It makes me like them more in real life, when they are not hiding behind their screen of insanity. There is no reason to waste my precious time reading posts from people that don’t bring me joy and happiness, or at least intelligent discussion.
5 – Make a rule
Make a rule, no phones at the dinner table.
If you are addicted to your phone, it can ruin a family meal. There is nothing so important that you miss 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with your family. I have been caught breaking this rule. My five-year-old has told me, “Mama, remember, no phone at the table!”
Tell your kids the rule. Make them your accountability partners. They love having your undivided attention, give it to them while eating.
6 – Make another rule
Make another rule, no phones in the bed.
This is your time with your partner. They too deserve your undivided attention. It is also your time to focus on getting the needed rest to take on another day. Ask your partner to do the same.
7 – Set up you charging station outside of your bedroom
One sure-fire way to keep your smartphone out of the bed is to set up your charging station outside of your bedroom.
This helps declutter your bedroom, and it helps take away the temptations to check your smartphone while in the bed. Even if you use your phone for work, you are allowed to sleep!
8 – Turn off cellular data for certain apps
If you want to help stop feeling addicted to your phone and stop looking at your phone in social situations, turn off cellular data for your social media apps or any other apps that capture your attention on a regular basis.
Actually pay attention to the people around you and engage in conversations with them. It is OK to talk to the stranger next to you in the check out line rather than stare at your phone. You might be the smile and conversation they needed today!
Don’t worry, you can check your phone later when you are at home and on Wi-Fi. Who knows, maybe you won’t need as much cellular data on your phone anymore if you keep up with this plan!
9 – Set limits with your smartphone
To combat being addicted to your phone, you need to give yourself defined limits to when you can spend time on your phone. Set a daily limit and time to go on social media. Go as far as setting a timer. We all know how easy it is to fall into the rabbit hole of scrolling. With a timer, you can move on with your day and reality.
10 – 24-hour social media detox
Challenge yourself to go a full 24 hours without checking social media. This will really help you realize the depth of your smartphone addiction. You may need to physically hide your phone!
To ensure success in your social media detox, delete your social media apps. This helped me more than I realized. I cannot tell you how many times I picked up my phone and went to tap a social media app. It was eye-opening and a little humbling.
If you enjoyed the freedom from social media, try extending the challenge for a longer period of time.
11 – Ignore some of your texts
This is crazy, I know, but you do not have to run to your phone to reply to every text as soon as you receive it. It can wait.
If a matter is urgent, people can still call you. You both have phones. Your time with your family and your time for yourself is incredibly valuable. You don’t have to drop everything to immediately respond to a text. Wait until you have time, then respond.
12 – Stop using your phone to answer every question that pops into your head
I am soooo guilty of doing this. A question pops into my head, and I pull out my phone for an immediate answer. Well, throughout the day I think of a lot of questions. I guess I’m the curious type. However, an immediate answer is not necessary.
I have resolved to write down any questions or topics to research, and then I make time to look up the answers at a later time when I have time blocked out for my phone or computer. Most of the time, the question no longer matters and my attention moves on to something else.
13 – Keep a paper planner
Keep a paper planner instead of a smartphone calendar or planner. Gasp, I know.
There was a time when I would have rolled my eyes if you mentioned such craziness. However, there is something very gratifying about writing down tasks, checking them off, and making something pretty to organize your day.
Keeping a paper planner also helped me with feeling addicted to my phone because I was no longer staring at my smartphone to organize my day or to look ahead. At least my family knows what I am doing when I sit down with my planner. When I am staring at my phone, they don’t know what I’m doing, other than not focusing on them.
My favorite paper planner, the Living Well Spending Less planner. Never have I been so productive in my life than when using this calendar!
14 – Plan a no phones date with your spouse
Go old school. Tell the babysitter where you are going and leave the phone number.
Leave your phones in the car if you can’t actually leave home without them. Enjoy an hour or two of uninterrupted time with your spouse. It will be amazing!
It’s OK to give yourself a break
Now, if your kid pees on the floor, your puppy ate your new pair of Tevas (true story), or your workday ended in tears, grab a beer (or hot tea) and your phone. Don’t feel guilty for taking a break. It’s a mini-computer and a connection to another world. It’s like our mamas back in the day retreating to go read a book or to take a bubble bath. Sometimes you need the time. It’s ok to do it guilt-free.
Use these tips to reconnect with the things you love to do and your family. You don’t have to give up your phone forever (I don’t think that’s even possible). However, learn to live a simpler life and a less digital life when possible. It will bring joy you never knew was possible when you trade in being addicted to your phone for more quality time with those you love.
Have you ever felt addicted to your phone? What has worked for you?