How to Beat an Addiction to Cell Phones

Do you find yourself constantly texting, surfing the internet, sending emails, using applications and playing games? Depending on how much time and effort you put into those situations, you may have a problem with excessive cell phone use. Overuse of your cell phone can lead to reduced quality of personal relationships and lack of productivity in daily life. The typical cell phone user touches his or her phone 2,617 times every day. 2,617 times! Most people, on average, spend 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phones each day. Half of all phone pickups happen within 3 minutes of a previous one.

Monitor your cell phone use:

According to one study, college students may spend 8-10 hours per day on their cell phones. Tracking your cell phone use such as adding up how many times per hour you check your phone can increase your awareness about your problem. If you are aware of the extent of your problem you can begin to identify goals and possible solutions. Try downloading an application that tracks your cell phone use like iFocusMode, App Off Timer, or QualityTime. You can use this information to set a specific goal of how many times per hour or day you allow yourself to check your phone.

Create a plan for your phone use:

Limit your cell phone use to certain times of the day. You can set an alarm on your phone to alert you when you have reached your maximum time. For example, you can allow yourself to use your phone only from 6pm-7pm. You can also set up specific times not to use your phone, such as while you are at work or school.

The impact of this usage is staggering:

Offer yourself rewards for less time spent on your phone:

This concept is called positive self-reinforcement and it is used in therapy in order to teach an individual positive behaviours through the use of a reward system. For example, if you meet your cell phone use goal for the day you can treat yourself to your favourite food, a new item, or an activity.

Start slow:

Instead of going cold turkey and completely eliminating your cell phone use, begin by progressively reducing the amount of time you spend checking your phone. Keep a tally of how many times you check your phone per hour. Use your phone only for necessary communications or emergencies.

Put your phone away:

Put your phone somewhere where you will not see it. Turn your phone on silent mode when you are at work, study or anywhere else, so it won’t distract you.

Don’t Lose Sleep Over It:

If you find yourself up late at night playing on your phone, whether it is video games, Facebook, or text messaging, you are losing precious sleep over your addiction. The moment you stop putting energy into caring for your basic needs and pour your time and energy into your phone, you are allowing the phone to dictate your health and well-being.

Don’t charge your phone near your bed:

Want to know the best way to keep your kids off their phones too much? Don’t allow them to charge their phones in their bedroom.Many of the negative effects of overuse (poor sleep, hindered communication and intimacy) can be eliminated by keeping your cell phone out of your bedroom.

Change your phone settings:

Among the most often suggested ideas for reducing cell phone usage, you find tips and tricks by simply changing the settings on your phone.

The most common suggested ideas:

  • Turn off notifications
  • Set screen to black-and-white
  • Remove distraction-based apps from your home screen
  • Set a longer passcode
  • Use airplane mode
  • Turn on do not disturb


Focus on the here-and-now:

Mindfulness, the art of being aware, can help you become centered and possibly reduce the impulse to engage in cell phone use. Try to be in the present moment by focusing on what is currently going on, including your own thoughts and reactions. 

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iFocusMode users managed 40% improved productivity within 2 weeks of app use.

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