If you find yourself checking your phone several dozen times a day, don’t worry, it’s not quite your fault.
Lots of apps and programs, especially social media apps, have been designed to capture your attention and make it difficult for you to put your phone down.
Unfortunately, though, there’s a down side to all this connectivity.
A study released last year showed that people with a longer average screen time, and those who used their phones close to bedtime, had poorer sleep quality.
Another recent study, released in the journal The Lancet, revealed that the use of your phone in the wee hours of the morning, could increase the chances of developing psychological issues such as depression, bipolar disorder and neuroticism.
While the phone is undoubtedly important in our daily lives, we can all agree that we shouldn’t have to pay such a steep price for it in terms of compromising our health. It’s time to take some steps to cultivate a healthier relationship with our phones.
Here are a few dos and don’ts:
DO: Turn off app notifications
Every time a notification goes off, it serves as a trigger for us to immediately pick up our phones.
Turning off notifications will ensure that we don’t constantly feel pressured to check what’s going on.
If you must, just leave notifications on for chat functions so you don’t miss important messages.
DO: Go greyscale
Setting your phone to greyscale can help you reduce the number of times you check it.
This piece of advice comes from Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google who co-founded The Center for Humane Technology.
The reason behind this is that certain colours used by the apps, such as red and bright blue, subconsciously excite us and entice us to check our phones.
By going greyscale, you lose such triggers.
DO: Leave your phone behind
Spend some time physically apart from your phone.
Start small by first leaving your phone in your bag when you work out at the gym, and work towards leaving your phone at home when you have a jog around the neighbourhood.
After a while, you may get more comfortable with the idea of spending more time apart.
DON'T: Charge your device in the bedroom
Alternatively, make sure your phone is out of reach or placed at the other end of the room.
This makes sure that you don’t check it first thing in the morning before even getting out of bed.
DON'T: Place your favourite app shortcuts on your home screen
With such quick access to these apps, you’ll be tempted to constantly check in.
Instead, keep only important tools on your home screen and relegate the other apps to the back pages.
This way, you have to type the app name and do a search whenever you want to launch it, which just might be enough to discourage you from using it.
Written by Siti Rohani. This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest.