Words by Tara Wagner
Feeling Like a Smartphone Addict? How I Broke Up With My Smartphone
As business owners, it’s pretty hard to not become a Smartphone Addict.
I’ve been there, you have probably been there too unless you have the willpower of… a person with a lot of willpower?
So, how do you break up with a phone you still need to see on a regular basis?
“It’s the most tenuous relationship ever.”
I’m gonna share what I did to help me overcome my smartphone addiction without getting rid of my phone.
Watch here or read below.
It’s a tricky subject because smartphones are designed to be addicting.
And yet it’s the one addiction that all of society has become reliant on, and as entrepreneurs, it’s really difficult to give it up. It’s difficult to do our business without a smartphone.
And let’s face it, how many of us want to give it up?
We just don’t want to be so consumed by it, especially when we’re not at work.
I’ve definitely struggled with this to the point where I didn’t like who I was becoming; my face was always in my phone.
So I want to share with you some rules, boundaries, and strategies that I put into place that helped me to use my smartphone more productively, but not feel so used and abused by it.
Smartphone Addict Rule # 1: No Phone By The Bed
Rule number one is probably the biggest and that is no phone plugged in by the bed.
The first habit I had to break was getting up in the morning and immediately checking my phone.
It just set my day up wrong, I wasted my morning, I was setting it up basically reacting to other people’s stuff instead of being able to set my days up intentionally.
Drop me a comment below if you know that this is killing your days or your productivity, or just messing up your mood when you’re jumping on your phone first thing in the morning.
I honestly thought that I could just practice more willpower around this and just not pick it up in the morning.
But let’s be honest, our smartphone is stronger than we are.
So, what I do now is I plug it in in my office or in the kitchen. Or, if I need the alarm, at the very least I’m gonna plug it in across the room.
However, I was still finding myself distracted by it in the morning even though it wasn’t right there.
I’m not picking it up right into the bed, but I was still getting on it too early in the morning.
So that led me to set up rule number two…
Smartphone Addict Rule #2: Do Not Disturb
Rule number two is using “Do Not Disturb”.
I set this up automatically to start at 8:30 PM the night before, and it doesn’t turn off until 8:59 AM the next morning.
8:59 instead of nine in case I have a nine o’clock appointment. I’ve had times where they tried to call and it didn’t ring through.
- So this means I don’t see any notifications for text messages, I have social notifications turned off already.
- I don’t see any of my Asana messages popping up from anybody on the team needing me.
I don’t see anything until I’m ready to see it when I’m sitting down ready to work.
Now, if you’re worried that you’re gonna miss something, there is a setting on most phones with “Do Not Disturb” where it will break through if somebody tries to call multiple times back to back.
So, if there’s a true emergency (especially because nobody actually picks up the phone and makes a phone call … unless it’s an emergency) you’re still gonna get those messages, you’re just not gonna get all of the distractions.
Smartphone Addict Rule #3: No Phones At Tables
Rule number three, and this is one of the first ones that I actually set, is no phones at tables.
- This means that, if we’re sitting down for dinner, our phones are in the other room.
- If we’re going out to eat with people, our phones are on silent and put away, maybe even left in the car.
I did this because one day I was at a restaurant, I looked up, looked around, and there’s people there that were celebrating birthdays, that were on dates, and that were all on their phones. Everybody at the table was on their phone.
Unless you don’t like the person that you are sitting across the table from, this is a pretty good reason to make this a rule.
Just put your phones away, and use that time to really connect.
We have so few moments in our day where we can really just quiet down and connect with the person in front of us. This just became a household rule for us, and a rule when we go out with friends.
Smartphone Addict Rule #4: Leave It Home
Rule number four is to leave it at home as often as possible.
I know this rule freaks a lot of people out, especially if they were born after 1986, because they don’t remember going places without a cell phone.
The question I always get is, “What about an emergency?”
Well, what about an emergency?
Somebody’s gonna have a phone, there’s always a way to get help if you need it, and it’s not like I’m leaving my phone at home before I go and wander a crack house at 3 AM, so it’s not that big of a deal.
But if my husband and I are going for a walk, why do we both need a phone? If I’m just going to the grocery store, why do I need to bring a phone with me?
I started to do this because it gave me a great time to just disconnect, be unplugged from those temptations, and enjoy some quiet space, which I miss, being born in the early 80s.
A lot of people probably need more of that quiet space, where the noise is turned off, the distractions are turned off, and we can just pay attention to what’s around us, and people watch or think.
That’s kind of a big one for me, I’d love to have more time to just think and process.
I will admit that leaving my phone at home was very awkward at first. I kinda felt like I had left a child at the store, something just didn’t feel right.
But now I really love the freedom of it.
I would love for you to drop me a comment and let me know if you ever leave your phone at home intentionally or unintentionally, and how you feel or if you feel like you could implement this rule.
Smartphone Addict Rule #5: Silent Mode
Rule number five probably has turned into my favorite rule; it is Silent Mode.
Any time that I am in my work hours, I’m either on calls with clients or I’m working on a project on my computer, my phone actually goes on silent, usually also upside down so that the lights aren’t triggering my squirrel brain and making me wanna pay attention and pulling me in.
This has been really hugely helpful because I’m turning off the dings and the pings that are gonna want to distract me and pull me away, and it really allows me that quiet space that I was talking about to really be able to get some work done.
I don’t know what I would do without Silent Mode.
I know Silent Mode kinda drives people crazy a little bit because I don’t always get their messages right away. But again, if there’s an emergency, most people know how to get a hold of me, so it’s not that big of a deal.
Let me encourage you to try this, at least on occasion, just to help you to get stuff done when you really need to focus on a big project.
Smartphone Addict Rule #6: Night Mode
Rule number six is to set up Night Mode on your computer.
Night Mode turns your screen from blue to yellow. It’s not very pretty, but it is helpful.
I set this up automatically from sunset to sunrise, but you can also set this up all day. The purpose is to allow less blue light to hit your eyes.
Blue light messes up your sleep, it can cause problems with your eyesight, and it can even be what’s contributing to the addictiveness of our devices.
At the minimum, setting this up from sunset to sunrise is preferred. But if you can maybe turn this on all day, that’s even better.
Or, optionally, you can get the blue light glasses, or the blue light blockers, which I’ve never tried.
If you’ve tried those, leave me a comment below and let me know what you think about them.
Smartphone Addict Rule #7: Boundaries
Rule number seven was about creating boundaries around when I would and would not use my phone.
For myself, I try to be off of my phone by 7 PM every single evening (I don’t always nail it, but that’s the goal.)
And then from Saturday afternoon all the way through Monday morning I’m actually trying to be completely unplugged, I don’t even touch my phone except for maybe FaceTime with my mom.
This is easier to do on Sundays simply because not a lot of people expect you to be available, but I have also let friends or clients know that they’re just not gonna be able to reach me on Sundays, that’s my day of being completely unplugged.
I really find that when I’m able to completely unplug from all of the input and the noise of the world, that I’m really able to get in some good, real deep self-care, which is what I really need to be able to go into the next week not feeling like a crazy person.
Now, I realize that spending a full day or a day and a half for self-care might not feel realistic to you in the stage of life or business that you’re in.
After all, my son is 19, he’s already moved out, it’s a different game for me at this point.
But that is not to say that self-care is not incredibly important.
You need to find a way to prioritize in some way, which is why I want you to download my Self-Care in Seconds training.
because it will deliver on its name.
It’s gonna teach you how to shift your mindset and your approach to self-care so that you can start filling your cup, feeling energetic, feeling happy, and getting your needs met in as little as 30 seconds.
If that sounds good to you, if you legit don’t have time for self-care but you really, really want to, be sure to grab that training. It’s absolutely free, and you can get it by clicking the button below or click here for more details!
What about you, boss lady?
Leave me a comment below letting me know your best tips for fellow smartphone addicts.
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About the Author
I’m the breakthrough coach for self-employed women who are barely surviving their business. I help you to identify and overcome your old habits – both practical, as well as emotional and mental – learn a better way of approaching the work/life/family juggling act, and gain confidence in your new role in your growing businesses. Learn more about me here.
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