We use our phones for just about everything: to keep in touch with friends and family, maintain our calendars, take photos, answer emails, listen to music, research content, and much more.
But we also use our phones to check social media, mindlessly text our friends, and play games for hours on end.
If we really look at the numbers, the top two uses of the phone are text messaging and social media. In most cases, these are unwanted distractions from our work and lives.
But we’ve been programmed and wired to crave the instant gratification we get from our phones. We get an instant endorphin rush when we get a notification on our phones. But sometimes, mobile notifications can turn to stress and anxiety.
It’s time to break the phone habit in order to minimize distractions and improve your health, work, and relationships.
- Turn your phone off two hours before bed.
The blue light from your phone can interrupt sleep patterns. Our bodies release melatonin as a response to the setting sun and darkening sky. Melatonin is the “sleep” hormone that signals our brain to start preparing for the sleep cycle. The blue light emitted from our phones and computers can stop this natural production of melatonin.
Have you ever looked at your computer into the late hours of the night, completely and utterly exhausted, but when you go to bed, your brain won’t shut off? That’s because the light may have prevented the melatonin release that is necessary to ease your body into sleep.
Turning your phone off before bed, though, helps regulate your sleep hormones, improve sleep patterns, and minimize stress levels.
- Don’t sleep with your phone.
You should try to sleep without your phone near your bed. Your phone should not be your bedmate. Charge it in the kitchen or living room for a more peaceful and restful sleep. If you use your phone as an alarm, you might want to buy a separate alarm clock to keep in your bedroom. We recommend a sunlight alarm clock, which helps you fall asleep to the sunset and wake to the sunrise. Learn more in our article, 10 Ways To Wake Up With A Smile.
- Turn off unnecessary notifications.
Do you get constant messages lighting up your phone? Most people respond to a new notification within two minutes of receiving it. If you receive a new notification every ten minutes, you’re spending the majority of your day responding to notifications that may or may not be related to the task at hand.
But you can turn off notifications from most of your apps so only the most important messages come through.
For example, you may not need all of your Facebook notifications to appear on your phone. Or you may not want your work email to pop up while you’re at home. You can quickly and easily turn off notification alerts or banners to avoid distraction overload.
- Use “do not disturb” during the day.
Almost every application alerts you to a new message instantly. This creates a high level of distractions, where we can easily get sucked into a barrage of new messages every few minutes.
Maybe you need access to your daughter’s text messages 24/7 because you’re worried about her off at college. Maybe you want your husband’s phone calls to go through in case something serious happened.
Think in specific terms. Now, go into your iOS or Android Settings. You can choose certain times of days where notifications will come through without sound or vibration. You can also set certain individual’s messages to come through while others are silent. This is a great tool to allow only truly important notifications.
- Do a 24-hour cleanse every week.
Choose a day of the week where you won’t use your phone at all.
This sounds hard, but you can plan it so you don’t miss out on the necessities.
You can do your phone cleanse on a weekend. This is a great opportunity to put away the phone and focus your time on family, friends, and self.