Quit These 5 Phone Habits To Destress and Focus
An average American spends about 5.4 hours per day on their phone, the majority of which is spent browsing social media sites. To put this in perspective, it’s equivalent to more or less 3 movies, give or take your entire work day minus the meal and bathroom breaks that you take, and the time it will take you to make a slow-cooker pot roast.
When we look at it that way, it doesn’t seem a lot. No big deal. But if you multiply that number and compute how many actual hours you spend with your head buried in that tiny little screen over a certain period of time, the answer will probably blow your mind.
As useful as smartphones are, did you ever feel that you’re becoming too dependent on it? At some point you feel incapable without it? On the flip side, whenever you do have your phone, and you’ve spent so much time being on it, you end up losing your focus and feeling stressed out? The truth is, you’re not alone. If you’ve accepted the fact that your phone usage is actually stressing you out and you want to make a change, good for you! Here are some phone habits you can start quitting today:
1. Using your phone while driving
Using your phone endangers you, the people in the car with you, the people on the streets minding their own business and other drivers on the road! Whoever is calling or texting - your partner, your parents, the guy you have a crush on, or even your boss, they’re not more important than your life, or the lives and safety of people you’re putting in harm’s way if you so much as take your eyes away from the road for one second.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) relates that in 2018 alone, a total of 2,841 lives were killed due to “distracted driving”. Texting, according to them, is the most alarming distraction of all.
There is no negotiation and there is no ifs nor buts, do not use your phone while driving. It will not just save you stress and make you focused, it will save your life and that of others.
2. Mindless browsing
Most of the time, it’s a cycle. You sit on your couch with the intention of reading a nice book while drinking a warm cup of tea, then you hear your phone’s notification. You think to yourself, “oh, this friend hasn’t posted a story in a while, let me go check it out”. You check the story and before you know it, something interesting catches your eye and down the rabbit hole of “suggested videos” you go. You sat there for 2 hrs mindlessly browsing while your book remained unread and your tea had gone cold.
This cycle affects your state of mind in more ways than you care to admit. For one, you robbed yourself of the knowledge and experience that your book could have given you. Second, you end up feeling stressed out because “why in the world are the lives of these people look so much better than mine?!”.
The next time you feel like grabbing your phone to look at more shopping sales to buy clothes you’re never going to wear or go on stalker mode to look at profiles of people you actually hate in real life, don’t. Breathe in and out and catch yourself before you go spiraling down. Phone apps and settings can only inform you how much time you spend on your phone, the action and the decision to put the phone down is on you.
3. Checking your phone AS SOON as you wake up
Raise your hand if you’re guilty of this. Majority of people are, and some would even ask “well, what’s wrong with that?!”. What’s wrong with that is you’re opening yourself up to anxiety and stress at the start of your day! Having just woken up, you do not have the mental space needed to deal with these things yet. Seeing these things before you even get the chance to look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how awesome you look will set your day to a bad start.
If you must set an alarm, try using a real clock instead of your phone. If you’re brave enough and ready to get your phone distancing discipline to another level, don’t bring your phone into the bedroom.
4. Having TOO many apps you don’t use
Look at your phone and count how many apps you use. Then look at them again and count how many you actually use regularly? Do you really need that many photo editing/shopping/delivery apps?
The more apps you have, the more reason you have to unlock your phone every 10 seconds and the more reason you won’t be able to focus on the apps that are really helping you become more efficient and productive.
5. Taking photos of everything and posting everything online
Having a phone makes most things easy, especially taking photos and updating your social media status. It’s okay if you’re fond of taking selfies, food photos and all that stuff. It only becomes a problem if you take hundreds of mirror selfies and post them all in an album called “Me” or you refuse to let people eat unless you have taken a photo of the food from all possible angles. Do yourself (and others) a favor and don’t do that. There is definitely so much more interesting about you and a selfie won’t probably give that justice.
It’s also fine if you post what book you’re reading or you post about this exciting place you’ve visited. In some way, those posts may have enriched the life of the person who read it. The problem happens if you start airing your dirty laundry on social media, all for everyone to see and speculate about. Your problems, personal or otherwise, should be shared with people whom you personally know and care for you, not to your thousands of Facebook friends.
In conclusion, smartphones (unlike Skynet) are not the enemy. They’re created to make our lives easier, more efficient, more fun and entertaining. It’s true that these phone companies and app developers do everything they can in their power to entice you into using your phones more often, but the decision to do such is, and has always been with you. Smartphones can only make you lose focus as long as you allow it to.
If your mindset is all about taking control of your life and not allowing yourself to be stressed with what you see on that tiny screen, then so should it be.
Hero Image by Rob Hampson on Unsplash.