How To Break Up With Your Phone

By Olivia Emily

8 months ago

Nine ways to say sayonara to screen time

Most recently, it is being called ‘monk mode’ – but avid social media users have been trying to break up with their phones for years now. Looking to reduce your screen time but just can’t find the willpower? These are our top tips to use your phone less.

9 Ways To Use Your Phone Less

1. Set Screen Time Limits

Firstly, check your weekly screen time round ups in your settings, find out where you’re spending most of your time, and set realistic goals. If you spend an average of two hours on Instagram everyday, going cold turkey just isn’t going to stick; try reducing your screen time to an hour and a half for a week, and if that goes well, an hour – and so on. If you’re prone to tapping ‘ignore’, try an app like Freedom which has a ‘Lock’ mode which makes it so limits cannot be bypassed.

2. Accountability Partner

Not the only one in your friend group struggling to say ‘no’ to the scroll? Join up with a loved one and be each other’s accountability partner, sharing progress updates and motivating each other to step away from your screens. You could even spend time together doing an activity and enforce a phone ban.

3. Unfollow Spree

Social media is becoming increasingly addictive and hard to escape with its infinite scroll features (showing content you might like if you run out of content you already follow), but unfollowing accounts that don’t add value to your life is a good place to start. If there’s nothing pulling you back to Instagram, X and TikTok, your social media use is bound to fall.

4. Focus Apps

If you’re someone who builds up screen time mindlessly scrolling while you’re watching TV (or cheekily scrolling during work hours), try a focus app which prevents you from using normal apps. We recommend Forest, which rewards you with a beautiful garden of trees if you focus successfully (you can even plant different species) or damns your garden with an ugly dead tree if you end a focussed session early.

How to use your phone less

5. Sleep Hygiene

Late night scroller, or flick through Instagram stories like it’s the morning paper? Sleep hygiene is the practice of cleaning up your sleeping habits with a set bedtime, wake up time, a night time routine, and removing distractions like your mobile phone. Ban your phone from your bed, and you’ll totally eliminate all of your horizontal scrolls.

A good way to start? Move your phone charger away from your bedside and to the other side of the room. If your morning alarm is on your phone, this will also help to pull you out of bed in the morning.

6. Phone-Free Zones

Similarly, create phone-free zones in your home. Your bed is a great place to start, and this could expand to the entire bedroom if you’re feeling brave. The dinner table is another common (and slightly more practical) option.

7. Turn Off Non Urgent Notifications

Do you glance at your phone every time it flashes? Remove the distraction by turning off non-urgent notifications like Instagram likes, programme promotions from your favourite streaming apps, and (dare we say it) Duolingo. If you can’t quite face it, try putting your phone in ‘Do Not Disturb’ or ‘Focus’ mode occasionally to remove distractions.

8. Dump Distracting Apps

Speaking of distractions, moving your social media and most-used apps to an inconvenient place on your phone screen will reduce the amount you use them. Apps don’t have to be stored in a slew of pages anymore, and if you use widgets, you can usually ban certain apps from being recommended to you. Fancy going whole hog? Delete the apps you’re trying to quit – the thumb twitch as you reach for them will fade soon enough.

9. Replace Screen Time

What to do with all of your newfound time? Replace your daily screen time with a new hobby, like reading, drawing, or even going to the gym.

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