3 Simple Ways To Be (Slightly) Less Obsessed With Your Phone

Are you obsessed with your phone? Most of us are! And most of us wish we weren't! Click through for three simple ways to dial back the obsession ... at least a little >> yesandyes.org

Until a 2014, I didn’t have a data plan for my phone.
Until then, I didn’t even know how to check email on it.

I’d forget my bottom-of-the-line smartphone in my purse for days, only fishing it out to use the gps or take funny photos of my cat. I didn’t have any apps and I swear to god, when I first got an Android, I couldn’t figure out how to answer incoming calls.
Then I took a 23-hour train ride without a reading material or wifi.
(You’d be amazed what you can teach yourself with 23 hours. That scenery gets old, y’all.)
All this is a protracted excuse for the fact that now I’m One Of Those People who checks her email on her phone when you get up to use the bathroom. I’m not yet Someone Who Surfs Facebook While You Talk About Your Breakup, but that might not be far down the line.
Gross. Is this something you struggle with, too? Are you actually reading this on your phone at a stoplight/in the bathroom/while your friend is telling your about their breakup?

Let’s make a pact to be better than that, to be – at least slightly – less addicted to our phones.

3 ways to be less obsessed with your phone

1. Leave it in the car

The number one reason I have a smartphone is that gorgeous, voice-guided GPS. I fail at maps and I don’t understand cardinal directions. (Whenever people say ‘Turn north off of 94″ I want to say “You know I don’t understand that. What if the sun’s down? JUST SAY RIGHT OR LEFT, A-HOLE.”)

But once I get to my destination, I could probably just go ahead and leave my phone in the glove compartment of my locked car. Unless we’re expecting a super important call or text, I imagine we could all be safely separated from our phones for two or three hours.

2. Turn off your notifications

Every time I’d see that little icon notifying me of a new email, I’d immediately feel slightly less calm and slightly less present in the moment. Did I miss a client deadline? Was my grandma okay? Did I finally hear back about that amazing sofa on Craigslist?

And all of a sudden, I wasn’t enjoying cocktails with my girlfriends, I was knee-deep in plans to rent a moving truck and pick up that couch.

Just turn those ever-loving notifications off. Here’s how to do it on an Android, an Iphone, a Windows phone.

3. Use actual, physical tools that serve the same needs (and use them with intention)

What if you left your phone on the dining room table and used an actual alarm clock? (I have this one and it’s adorable.) I opt to make my lists in these journals rather than in an app and I’d love to start using a DSLR for my photos rather than my phone.

Each of these steps forces me to be a bit more intentional with my life + time and a bit more present in my life.

Are you addicted to your phone? How have you tried to get over that? 

P.S. Want to break your phone habit? This will help – and it’s free!

photo credit: jordan mcqueen // cc

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  1. Heidi

    I definitely agree with number three. I prefer using notebooks for to do lists and such anyway. I put things in my phone calendar as an extra reminder when it's important, but I use a daily planner more than anything else. I don't agree with number one though. I live in Baltimore, and leaving my phone in my car would mean I'd have to buy a new one. Leave the phone in the car, and it will be stolen.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Even in the glove compartment? That's where I leave mine 🙂

  2. Katie

    Oh, this is something I've been trying to work on too! I've always used my alarm clock instead of my phone to wake up, so recently I've started putting my phone to sleep at night — leaving it downstairs to charge in the kitchen. Although I am a little worried I might miss some kind of emergency call in the middle of the night, it's actually helped me a lot in the morning because now I don't get distracted by email or facebook (or candy crush) while I'm supposed to be getting ready.

    I might have to try leaving my phone (well-hidden) in the car every once in a while. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Christine

    The only apps I use on my phone are the calendar, clock, calculator, Instagram (because it makes pictures look AWESOME), and Shazam for the songs on the radio that I don't know. I used to have Facebook and Pinterest but the notifications kept pulling me out of the moment. I hate it when I'm talking to people and everyone is on their devices. I'm guilty of it with my laptop too, when my husband is trying to tell me something. I definitely need to work on this! Great post 🙂

  4. Notes from a Newlywed

    I'm one of the few people left as well that do not use their phone for an alarm clock. We keep our phones charging in the kitchen overnight and use actual alarm clocks to wake up. My friends are shocked when they find this out. But it doesn't seem so strange to me.

  5. Angie

    Turning off notifications is a gift to humanity. If I got a ding every time I got an email or FB like I think my head would explode. Other than that, I'm pretty good about not being obsessed with my phone. We put a lot of money into those little things and they are pretty important, so I use mine for what it's worth.

  6. Audrey Lin

    I hardly ever touched my phone until I moved to the States this year for my freshman year of college. Maybe it's because I have unlimited texting and 1G. Maybe it's because I'm living on my own now, so I need to contact other people more often. One evening my friends were messaging me on Facebook way too much while I was trying to complete an assignment due in a few hours. I turned off the notifications because the buzzing and ringing started getting really annoying. I have been too lazy to turn the notifications back on, but I think I'll leave it off 🙂 It really does make a difference! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

  7. Cat at OddlyLovely.com

    I want to chime in that leaving your phone on your car is RISKY, especially if it's out where someone can see it! My mom left her phone in her car when going on a hike and her window got smashed and her iPhone was stolen. If you're going to leave it in your car, leave it in your locked glovebox.


  8. Aileen Adalid

    Fortunately for me, I don't have this problem. But the opposite is a bit of a problem too because sometimes, I tend to not care about it too much that I misplace it… whooops. 😛

    But great tips nonetheless!

    – Aileen | http://iamaileen.com

  9. Manisha

    Great tips. I am just hours away from switching from my tiny flip phone to my hubby's used iphone. I am a bit worried about having email near me all the time. But I look forward to the GPS stuff. Thanks!

  10. Stephen Krauska

    I (not so) secretly hate everyone whipping out their phones at concerts. Anyone remember actually watching the band? Dancing? Yet I never miss a notification. The duality of humanity. I'll be leaving mine in the car way more often.

  11. Lorna

    I had a baby, that seems to have helped!

  12. Lisa

    Turning off notifications for certain apps definitely help!

  13. Anonymous

    I'm a little late chiming in but I think a big part of this is reducing our expectations of other people being available. How many times have I been given a hard time for not responding to a text or fb message for a couple of hours? I don't like feeling like I'm disappointing people so I tend to look at my phone more often than I'd like!

  14. Vanessa

    I have fervently resisted getting a smart phone because I'm terrified of becoming one of Those People who can't go seven seconds without checking it. Having an old-school phone that does little more than make and receive calls and texts has helped me to resist the urge to be constantly connected.

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