How to Break Up with Your Phone.

** This is a synopsis of an article first published in the New York Times.

How many people on their deathbeds do you think are going to say, “I wish I’d spent more time on Facebook”? Keep asking yourself the same question, again and again and again: This is your life. How much of it do you want to spend on your phone?

The average person spends four hours a day interacting with his or her phone, according to data from Moment, a time-tracking app. How much time do you spend on your phone? Is it the first face you peer into in the morning and the last you see at night? If so, it may be time to evaluate your relationship and consider a break-up or at least, set some boundaries. Here are some ways to help you cultivate a healthy relationship with your phone: 

 

When you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to another 

 

Anytime you pick up your phone, you are saying no to the real life, to the moment that you’re in. The author suggests changing your perspective: “Instead of thinking of it as “spending less time on your phone,” think of it as “spending more time on your life.””

 

Be discerning about what you give your attention to 

 

Here’s a thought: social media apps are free because advertisers are the customers and you are the one selling your attention. Are you willing to pay them for your attention? Or, would you rather pay attention to your surroundings, which is free and freeing. 

 

Create an environment to support your goals & set limits  

 

Action creates reality. If you want to spend less time on your phone, the easiest way to do so is to replace your screen time action with other actions. Take the phone charger out of your room and replace it with a book you’ve been meaning to read. Decide on a ritual you will do before checking your phone in the morning — say a prayer, think of three things you are grateful for, stretch, and then check your phone. Use an alarm clock instead of your phone so you’re not tempted to fall down the rabbit hole. Delete social media apps and disable notifications including emails and texts. Set specific windows of time to check in with your phone and stick to your time limit.

 

Create speed bumps

 

Avoid “zombie checks” — checking your phone mindlessly and out of habit. The author suggests creating “speed bumps”: small barriers that ensure your phone use is conscious use. “Put a rubber band around your phone as a physical reminder to pause, or set a lock screen image that asks you to confirm that you really want to proceed.”

 

Be mindful and body conscious 

 

Check in with your body and mind when you’re using your phone: How’s your posture? Are you hunched over? Are you breathing deeply or shallowly? Are you clenching your jaw? Is the content you’re consuming making you feel good? Do you want to be on your phone right now? Or, are you feeling pulled away from the moment you are in?  The more connected you are to yourself, the easier it will be to make the healthy choice. 

 

Practice breaking up

 

Turn off your phone during mealtime. Leave your phone at home when you exercise. Put your phone in the backseat or the trunk before your commute. Pay attention to your cravings to hold and check your phone. The fear of being without your phone has a name: nomophobia. Most fears are irrational. The truth is, you can live without your phone.  

 

Use technology to protect yourself from technology

 

Here are some time-tracking apps to help measure your screen time: Moment, Quality Time and (OFFTIME). 
There are also apps to block your access to sites you are trying to break free from: Freedom and Flipd.
Apple has a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode that sends customizable automated text message responses while you’re en-route.  Android offers a comparable mode called Lilspace that also shows you how much time you’ve remained unplugged.

 

See what it looks like to be distracted and dependent 

 

Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t make it right or healthy. Keep that in mind. How does it feel to be ignored and less important than a phone? If you don’t like how it feels, don’t do it to others. Be present. As Ferris Bueller wisely said: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Don’t miss it. 

 

Read the full article here

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