Nowadays, most of us (or maybe I should write all of us?) always depend on our smartphone. It really helps so many things in our life. WIth it, our life becomes much easier. With some taps on there, we can get what we want: buy something, get a ride, read the news, and the list can go on. This is good.
Unfortunately, most of us are now very dependent on it. We feel we can't live without checking out the phone. We started ignoring the real people around us and kept our focus on the phone screen. We started to forget to appreciate the things we already had because our focus is always on the phone screen, most of the time
Source of image: markmanson.net
Does the picture above look familiar? Many of us can't part with our phone. We always check it most of the times. When we eat, walk, ride the bus or train, meeting with people, or even when we're in the toilet, we can't part with our phone. We are addicted to it and can't resist to always check and play with it.
Six months ago, I was no exception. I was playing many real-time strategy games on App Store. I kept thinking my game progress all the time. I ignored most things and people around me. It is true that physically I was with them, but I was not really there. My mind keeps wandering to think about the game on my phone.
But today, it's no more! Actually, now I rarely check my phone except someone is calling me. Most of the time I ignore any e-mails, Whatsapp group updates, or any other updates. I completely get rid off all games from my phone. I only installed one or two apps there which really important to me like mobile banking app. Many people will say that my phone is boring. I even don't save any more music or videos there.
How did I do it? How did I cure my smartphone addiction? How did I avoid using my phone too much? What did I do for solutions? Do I throw away my phone? Of course not, I am not that extreme to replace my smartphone with the feature phone. Smartphone did make my life easier when I use it wisely.
1. Replace the phone with the lower-end smartphone.
I replaced my iPhone with lower-end Android smartphone. But I carefully choose it, to make sure it fits my need for accessing Slack and Whatsapp. It doesn't need to have high-end hardware or high-resolution screen so it will be crap when I tried to install the latest game on it.
2. Only install the most important apps.
This can vary from person to person, but for me, most important apps are Slack (for work), Whatsapp (most people use it as text/call app), and the mobile banking app. The rest are the native apps come from the phone. I uninstalled all the games so I am not tempted to play with any of them. This may sound harsh, but it works for me.
3. Remember your beloved ones: your family.
I have no idea how many hours I have left with them (and I am sure all of us have no idea about this). Therefore, when I met with them, I will focus on them. Listen to them, talk to them, I mean I am really there with them now, both physically and mindfully. Your family is more important than your phone. When you broke or down or when something happened to you, the ones who take care of you are your family: your wife, parents, brothers, sisters — not your smartphone. Keep it in mind.
4. Let go of the urge to check it unless someone called you.
From my experience, most of the updates on the smartphone are not really urgent things to take care. If something really happened and it needs me to take care of it right away (read: very urgent thing), then people will call me several times until I answered the call. For e-mails or any Whatsapp message, usually, I reply it several minutes or hours later. Remember that you are not obligated to answer in real time unless you have agreed with the party (such doing online discussion on Slack for your project)
5. Find something else as activities.
Instead of checking your phone, try to find another physical activity you can do. Instead of checking up my phone in the morning when I wake up, I prefer to slowly walk outside, then walk through the surrounding area near our home, or do gardening. When I was on the bus, instead of being busy to read updates on my phone, I prefer to look the scenery along the road. Be creative because you will always find something else as activities instead of checking up your phone most of the time.
What if you're on the subway train with no scenery to look at? Good question. I suggest you bring a newspaper or a favorite book. Reading them is healthier than straining your eyes by looking at the phone screen.
6. Turn off notification and auto-sync up.
I turned off notifications for all apps except for Whatsapp private message and Slack (for given time range). I even set all Whatsapp group to be muted. Most conversation in Whatsapp group is just jokes, gossips, news or someone sharing something there (most of the time, I found the shared content to be a hoax!)
7. Remember: a smartphone is for making my life easier.
I keep this in mind. The technology was invented to make human life easier and simpler, not making it more complicated or hectic. Honestly, I felt really exhausted when I was addicted to smartphone and its cool games. Fortunately, I heard my inner voice to use the phone in the more wisely way.
Those are the ways I haven't tried, but you can try them. I do know some people tried those and they can't reduce their phone time.
8. Switch back to dumb-phone.
Honestly, I haven't done this yet because I need those few important apps on the phone. Though I do know some people who switch back to a dumb-phone and they never look back.
9. Install app which helps
There are some apps which developed to break your smartphone addiction. You may try some of them: AppDetox, Moment, BreakFree, and other similar apps.
Results for myself so far . . .
Now I feel more content and grateful with myself and my life. Parting with my smartphone actually did not ruin anything. I can have more focus when I am working, so I can get things done in shorter time. I can wake up earlier. I feel more peaceful. I can go to bed earlier (mostly before 9 pm). I am more patient. All of those make me feel better and less stressful.