When you think about what's going to matter to you when you're 80 years old, where does your cell phone fall on that list? If you're anything like me, there's a good chance the amount of time you spend on your phone is disproportionate to how important it is in the big picture of your life. Little by little, it is possible to break the attachment we have towards our phones and replace them with the things that matter most to you.
Earlier this summer, we talked about a Low-Information Diet, and last month we shared 11 ways to eliminate digital overwhelm. Today, I'm thrilled to wrap up our Low-Information Diet series with five tools that are helping me—little by little—kick my phone habit to the curb.
Alarm clock. Our phones have become one of the first things we touch in the morning because we often use them for alarms, making it easy to roll over and start mindlessly scrolling through social media or emails. Remove the temptation by buying an actual alarm clock, and charge your phone in a different room at night.
Grayscale. Our cell phones and all the apps on it are designed to be addictive, but there are built-in ways to begin to break the addiction. By unlocking a feature within the accessibility feature in some phone's settings, you can change the color of your phone screen to grayscale. While it won't promise to kick your mindless scrolling to the curb entirely, it is a helpful (and free!) way to make social media and Snapchat less enticing! Here's a step-by-step tutorial on how to make your phone grayscale if you'd like to give it a try.
A drawer. This could be a drawer, a box, or a countertop–it basically needs to serve as a home base for your phone when you're at home. Implementing phone hours is a great way to "out of sight, out of mind".
PowerSheets. I can say, without a doubt or hesitation, that the progress I've made on my yearly goal "Phone down, eyes up" is due largely in part to our PowerSheets Goal Planner. Working through the PowerSheets Prep Work helped my understand the WHY behind my goal, which has been the driving force for my commitment to making progress on it. I was able to outline starting steps, and I've been able to slowly add those to my monthly Tending List as monthly, weekly, and daily goals over these past few months. Our 2018 PowerSheets are sold out, but we can't wait to get the 2019 PowerSheets Goal Planners (and the rest of the collection!) in your hands on October 24th! Join our newsletter family, and you'll be the first to see our new collection in the coming weeks.
Accountability. Give people in your life permission to call you out and say, "You need to put the phone down." Community creates accountability. Accountability creates follow-through. Follow-through leads to results. Giving close friends permission to speak the hard truth to you in moments where you're on your phone takes maturity, and it's a surefire way to give yourself a kick in the pants. Sometimes my husband does this in a subtle way by asking, "what's on your phone?" Other times he'll reach across the couch, grab my phone, and put it on the coffee table. Both of these tactics get the point across! I'm often most blind to my own faults, and it sometimes takes someone I love and trust to give me a push and call me higher.
Saying no to distractions opens up space to say yes to something better. Our phones have the ability to do a lot of good when used purposefully–connecting us to so many wonderful people and organizations. Our best advice? Use social media and your times of connectivity on purpose. Write out a mission statement for how and why you will use them well. Post that mission statement to your computer or desk where you will see it often. If you find yourself mindlessly using social media again, check your motive and get back to cultivating what matters in your life!
I'd love to hear from you: are there other tools you are using to help you control your screen time? Did you enjoy this in-depth series on a particular goal area? What else would you like to see? Please leave a comment below; all comments welcome!