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Monday, May 29, 2017

How I Cut Back My Phone Use

I'd like to think that I spend less time in front of a screen than most people my age- I don't even own a television, I rarely have my computer out when the kids are around, and I've always tried to be conscious of how much time I spend on my phone. But the reality is I still spend more time on my phone than I'd like. Thanks to (one of) my 5-year-old's, I've finally found something that has helped me significantly cut down on the number of times I check my phone!

It was probably a year or so ago that I realized I had fallen into the habit of checking my phone whenever I was bored for more than 10 seconds. As someone who prides myself on enjoying spending time with my thoughts, it was shocking to realize that I was that addicted to my phone. But, much as I would like to just shut off my phone, get rid of a bunch of apps, or even get rid of the phone entirely, there are some legitimate reasons for needing to have my phone around pretty regularly- social media for Organized Chaos, texts and emails from my daughters' teachers or dad, taking videos and pictures of my girls.....

I tried lots of strategies to try to cut back on how much I checked my phone. I tried putting it in one central location where I would hear it if someone called or texted but not have it nearby. I tried getting rid of notifications so I only got a visual or aural notice of texts and phone calls, and nothing else. I tried getting rid of all unnecessary apps. Nothing seemed to make much of a difference.

Then, for my birthday, my daughter gave me a wrist watch. And of course, just like any other accessories I get from my girls, I started wearing it every day.

What I soon realized was that for me, the biggest reason I would end up getting sucked into my phone was taking out my phone to check the time, and then inevitably deciding I might as well quickly check to see if there are any new emails or social media notifications while I'm on my phone anyway. Once I started using my watch to check the time instead of my phone, I stopped needing to take out my phone in the first place.

I'm not going to tell you that I have completely stopped checking my phone unnecessarily. I'm still working on breaking the habit of pulling out my phone to check the time- sometimes I'll wonder what time it is and pull my phone out of my pocket and forget that I have my watch right there on my arm! But it has made the single biggest difference in my phone use, and I can see how as I get used to having the watch, I'm spending less and less time with my phone in my hand.

Do any of you wear a watch? I stopped wearing one years ago because I don't like having extra accessories to wear, but I'm so glad I started wearing one again- it's worth it! What strategies have you found that help you spend less time on your phone? I'd love to hear what has worked (and what hasn't) for you in the comments below!

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  1. I got a watch after we went to London last year. Because I didn't want to go traveling again without one. I was constantly checking my phone for the time, which is a pain when you're walking on super crowded streets. Plus, it's just SO much handier then digging through my purse or pocket. A strange bonus is that I feel more responsible when I wear it ��

    1. True, I feel more like a *real* adult with a watch on ;)