Let’s face it. We’re addicted to our phones. Take these data points:
- most people check their smartphones 150 times per day, or every 6 minutes
- young adults send an average 110 text messages per day
- for most people, their phone is the first thing they look at upon waking up
In the past, the hot jobs for most Ivy-league school graduates were on Wall Street. Now, the hot jobs are in Silicon Valley. These brilliant people are spending their days thinking of ways to best hook you and keep you on their platform for as long as possible. Tactics are being employed that are also used at casinos. You’re not going to break this addiction without making some changes.
Here are a few simple ideas I’ve come across to start breaking the addiction:
- Turn off all notifications. A ding signifying a new email, comment, like, or ball game score pumps out some sweet dopamine into our brains. It’s hard to resist. Just turn them all off and check what you need when you choose.
- Turn your screen greyscale. On the iPhone (I’m sure it’s the same with other devices), you can turn the screen from full color to grey. For some who have tried this, it has decreased the incentive to constantly check the phone as it removes the colorful visual stimulation.
- Don’t take your phone out of your purse or pocket during a meal. Even a phone sitting upside-down on a table causes anxiety for all parties and can decrease the level of conversation.
- Finally, charge your phone at night in a room other than your bedroom. This decreases the likelihood of viewing the screen right before bed (something that can delay falling asleep), during the night, and first thing in the morning.
Why is this important? We get our best work done in concentrated blocks of time. Constant dings can distract from doing quality work. And more importantly, it impacts our relationships. I’m ashamed at the number of times I check a social platform, game score, or email when I’m with my wife and daughters. And finally, our screens are not reality. They can be easily manipulated.