Does Your Cell Phone Control Your Life?

10 ways to keep your cell phone use in check

Do you check your cell phone all the time? Do you feel lost without it? Cell phone addiction is a real thing, and it can have negative consequences in your life. Are you experiencing any of these effects?

  • Anxiety when you are away from your phone
  • Distraction and failure to get your important life responsibilities completed
  • The need to check your phone constantly
  • Inability to focus on what’s happening around you
  • Eye strain or neck strain
  • Hearing “phantom” notifications or vibrations when your phone didn’t make a sound
  • Texting while driving, even though you know it’s very dangerous

If you are feeling these effects, you are certainly not alone. Different studies have estimated that people on average check their cell phones anywhere from about 75 to 85 times per day. If you are tired of feeling that your mobile phone is running your life, try these 10 strategies to tell your phone that YOU are in charge!

1. Keep track of how often you check
For a few days, try an app like Checky to count how many times per day you are checking your phone. This will give you a baseline. Based on this starting number, you can try to reduce the number of times you check your phone each day.

2. Don’t use your phone as your alarm clock
Some people use their phones to wake them, and this means that the first thing you do every single day is pick up your phone. Go back to an old-fashioned alarm clock. This way you can turn your phone off at night and charge it in a different room. Make sure you don’t even turn your phone on until you are finished with your morning routine.

3. Limit your notifications
Part of what is so distracting about cell phones is the constant notifications that you hear throughout the day. Our curious nature makes us pick up the phone to see what’s new. It’s hard to ignore those tones! So instead, go into your settings and turn off all but the most important notifications.

4. Target your worst habits first
What draws you into your phone the most? Is it your social media? Is it your work emails? Is it texts from your friends? Once you’ve isolated the problem, set a schedule for yourself. Allow yourself to check your texts/emails/social media only four times per day, such as 8am, lunchbreak, 5pm, and 8pm. This puts you in control of your time.

5. Create no-phone zones
Designate certain places in your home and certain times of day where cell phones are off limits. This might mean no cell phones in your bedroom. No cell phones at the dinner table. No cell phones while you’re watching a TV show. Make yourself some rules, and stick by them!

6. Use a timer
Surfing around the Internet or scrolling through Twitter or Facebook can eat up more time than you realize. One way to combat this is to set a timer. Give yourself a five-minute break where you allow yourself to check into your accounts. After the timer buzzes, be sure to put away your phone.

7. Give yourself a curfew
Some research has shown that looking at backlit screens right before bedtime can interfere with your natural sleep rhythms. Set a time, about 1 or 2 hours before bedtime, and be sure to turn off your phone at that time.

8. Tell your friends you are cutting back
It can be hard pull away from your social media activity if your friends are used to hearing from you. It helps to tell your friends that you are trying to cut back so that you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

9. Find other hobbies
If you shape your life around interesting activities and hobbies, you won’t be as tempted to turn to your phone out of boredom. Try to find hobbies that don’t require you to be online. Try out a new sport. Volunteer in your community. Learn a musical instrument or a new language. Read a book. Learn to cook and become a health food fanatic. There are lots of things that you can do with your time that will make you proud of your accomplishments.

10. Bring a friend along
Changing a habit can be a hard thing to do. It may be easier to accomplish if you have a friend who is doing it too. Pair up with a friend who also wants to cut the cell phone addiction. This way you can support each other along the way!

We hope these techniques will give you ways to put your phone down and take control of your life. If you are reading this article on your phone, it’s time to power it down and start living!

The American College for Medical Careers in Orlando, Florida posts free tips on healthy living, student life, and career development on its weekly blog. For information about our medical career training programs, contact us online today.