If You're Usually Glued To Your Phone, Here Are 10 Easy Ways To Start Using It A Little Less

by Caroline Burke

Let's face it: Most people are pretty attached to their phones at this point. The majority of us leave our phones on the table at dinner, take them to every workout, and we even spend time talking to friends via text and social media when there's literally a physical human being right in front of us to interact with. If you're starting to get sick of how often you check your phone, then it might be time to consider some easy ways to use your phone less, so that you're, you know, a bit more aware of what's going on around you.

The use of phones in the world have worked simultaneously to connect and separate people from one another on a daily basis. You can FaceTime your mom from across the world, but you also might not be able to get through a full meal with a friend IRL without glancing at your phone to check for texts or scroll through your Instagram feed. And though your relationship with your phone should be one that reflects your own personal needs and desires, it's pretty unlikely that feeling a compulsion to check your phone every 10 minutes is really an ideal way of life for you.

Here are 10 quick, easy tips to help you break your phone-checking habits and spend less time staring at screens.

Change The Color Scheme To Black And White

For both Androids and iPhones, it's possible to change your color scheme from color to black and white, which can apparently be really helpful in reducing the addictive quality of staring at an iPhone, according to The Atlantic.

To switch your color scheme on an Android, check out this tutorial; for iPhone users, this tutorial should do the trick.

Take Advantage Of Airplane Mode More Often

Putting your phone on airplane mode for a few hours each day (or maybe even on the weekends) will allow you to keep your device as a tool for when you need it, without having to constantly respond or react to the buzz of notifications. Plus, it's such an easy option to toggle on and off that it won't feel super stressful to do, even if you consider yourself the most serious of iPhone addicts.

Delete Your Social Media Apps

Go ahead. Do it. You won't lose any of your actual accounts if you delete a social media app from your phone, but you will probably notice a huge decrease in the amount of time you spend aimlessly staring at your device day to day. According to TechCrunch, most people in the U.S. spend half of their time on social media apps when using their smartphones. When you think about it that way, deleting even just one of those apps is bound to decrease the amount of time you're on your phone, at least a little bit.

Turn Push Notifications Off

If your phone isn't buzzing every other second with non-important updates that you really don't have to know about at this exact moment, then you might feel better about your relationship with the device in general.

The thing is, some people have started to speculate that many of us have an almost Pavlovian relationship to phone noises and vibrates, meaning you might literally be addicted to that sound or feeling, and it may even elicit an automatic response from you (i.e. you pick up your phone and start scrolling) each time you feel that buzz or hear that ding. The only real way to find out how much push notifications are affecting you is to get rid of them for a while and re-center yourself.

Define Your Relationship With Your Phone

Have you ever taken the time to actually think about what you like and don't like about the way you use your phone? You might want to. Making a list of the things you like and don't like about your relationship to technology might make things clearer and help you understand what you need to do to move toward a healthier state.

Replace Your Phone Time With A Literal Hobby

Depending on where you're getting your information, the average person is said to spend anywhere from an hour to five hours a day on their phone— so if it feels like you're crammed for time every single day, it might be because you're wasting way more time than you realize scrolling around on your phone.

Instead of falling down the rabbit hole of your social feeds, force yourself to do something else with that time. For example, you could go to a yoga session, or even pick up an instrument. An hour a day is plenty of room for you to cook your dinner rather than order takeout, for instance, or for you to finally get back to a reading schedule with all those novels you've been dying to crack open.

Use An App To Stop Using Other Apps

When all else fails, there are tons of helpful apps out there that can help you curb or tailor your phone usage. The app Moment can help you track how you spend time on your phone, then give you the analyses to help you figure out where you need to make adjustments.

If that doesn't work for you, the app Forest makes the whole thing a bit more literal: You pick an amount of time you want to stay off your phone, and in that time, you "grow" a digital tree, and if you check your phone earlier than the designated time, that tree dies. And who wouldn't want to grow a lush, digital forest?

Buy A Watch

Stop carrying your phone around as an excuse to tell the time. Odds are you're not using it to tell the time anyway, so why not buy a watch that makes that excuse totally null?

And I'm not talking about an Apple Watch, either — go old school, girl. Find something cute that makes you feel ~sophisticated~ every time you check the clock.

Create A Physical Schedule Of Your Phone Usage If You Need To

Think about this for a moment: When do you actually need your phone, and when are you just using it because you're bored? If you're having trouble figuring out the difference between those two, then it might be time to make a schedule of when exactly you're using your phone, and for what purposes.

I actually did this for a month myself, and it made me feel way more grounded overall. Instead of checking emails, texts, and social media throughout the day, I only checked my email twice a day, and I only responded to texts when I was on my computer (I have my messages linked). Of course, your job and lifestyle will play a big role in what type of schedule you can create, but it's definitely possible to come up with a healthy system that doesn't involve feeling like you're constantly on a feedback loop every five minutes.

Just Leave It At Home

It's as simple as that. If you're going out with your friends, grab your credit card, license, and apartment keys, and leave your phone charging by your bed. This is a triple win: You won't be constantly checking your phone, your friends will actually see your face, and your phone screen won't crack on the sidewalk at the end of the night.