Put. It. Down.
Buy a real alarm clock (yes, they still exist!).
Hands up! Step away from the phone.
It’s the first thing I look at in the morning, and the last thing at night. I crave it 24/7 and it follows me everywhere I go...even to the bathroom! I just can’t function without it. So much so that my husband has suggested I seek a self-imposed 'rehab' as he simply no longer wishes to compete with it.
I use my smartphone to organize every aspect of my life, and must have mastered the art of texting with one hand while cooking a stir-fry (not advised). From my schedule, work emails, messaging, social media updates, weather, Internet browsing, countless apps (mostly useful ones, others not so much) — you name it, I’m on it.
"You’re glued to your phone. What about family time?" Hubby asked one night as my head was buried in my phone — in bed. I was about to joke and ask him to send me the app for that, but judging by the unimpressed look on his face, I decided against it. It was at that point I came to a realization: this was killing my relationship. Do I really have an addiction? In order to find out, I embarked on these self-imposed steps to rehabilitation (without going cold turkey):
1. Don't Use Your Phone As An Alarm Clock. Buy a real alarm clock (yes, they still exist!). My hubby bought me a stylish clock online with firm instructions to "use it!" It’s a teak wood cube, very inconspicuous, and matches our furnishings (here's one for those of you in the States). Considering I’ve been using my phone alarm for over 10 years, it took a while to get used to. But looks great on my bedside table!
2. Visiting Times: Each time I hear a bleep, I immediately stop what I’m doing to run and grab phone like my life depended on it. Before I knew it, one tweet or Facebook notification lead to texting a comment or clicking on endless related links. I’d be hooked. But what could be so urgent that you have to abandon your son’s LEGO game just to check (Well, some mothers might argue anything would)? Set aside times in the day just to check emails, notifications, or to browse your favorite apps. I have started to spend an hour after breakfast, with specific intervals during the day. A strict time policy should mean that you can balance your free time without completely ignoring others. Part 2? Phone detox. I’ll admit that I suffer from terrible phone anxiety. Anytime I’d be out, I’d frantically search my bag just to double-check I haven’t left home without it or misplaced it during the day.
3. Switch The Phone Off (Shock! Horror!) Or Leave It At Home: Go out for a few hours with your partner. I often make a habit of putting my phone on the table while we are out eating on a ‘date night.’ The point is to enjoy quality time without any distractions!
4. Don’t Be Antisocial: Rather than just chuckling to yourself while engrossed in your phone, why not include your partner in whatever has caught your attention? Whether it’s a social media debate or a hilarious video that has gone viral, at least they won’t feel completely ignored.
5. See No Evil, Hear No Evil: When you’re at a family event or with friends, it’s very tempting to take your phone out of your handbag. I would carry it around with me at a friend’s house — just in case! Put it away, leave it in your bag and do not dare to retrieve it. If you can’t hear or see it, you won’t feel the need to check it.
6. Bedtime Ban: Sleeping by your phone is hardly a turn-on for either of you. How distracting are the constant bleeps or vibrations all night? Ban all technology in the boudoir, switch off, and keep devices far from reach. There are far better things you could be doing together!
With these in mind, let’s see how my smartphone six-step rehab continues. All it takes is a great deal of self-discipline. I’ll tweet you all, and Instagram my progress!