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What is your New Year resolution? If it is cutting down your cell phone usage than the resolution seems harder than it sounds.
Some people can easily turn off or ignore their phones. But most among us have the urge to routinely “just check,” no matter what conversations and activities are going on around them.
Doctors explain the reason for it. According to Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and author of “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age.” It creates an instant sense of excitement and being needed.
The irresistible urge to look at a smartphone screen also can arouse from a fear of missing out and compulsive and addictive behaviors. Isn’t it true with most of us.
The symptoms of being a phone maniac is when you’re checking your phone for work but lie that you are not, or wake up in the middle of the night and have the urge to look at your smartphone.
Phone checking is like a contagious disease. One person picks up their device, then everyone else in the room takes it as a cue to check theirs.
At home, this makes it hard for one person to change their behavior without the help of their family. It’s easy to justify scanning Twitter when everyone else around us has already tuned out.
Just take some steps to ensure that you leave your habit and keep your resolution. Set aside specific times for smartphones, such as everyone can check for 15 minutes after dinner.
Create screen-free zones in your home, by designating rooms where nobody is allowed to check their smartphones or tablets.
Start with the bedroom, where fewer glowing screens can improve your sleep and maybe your love life.
Just buy an old-fashioned alarm clock and leave the phone in another room, or just have a ban on phones for one hour before bed.
Talking to your kids is an important to cut off your smartphone usage. Children often feel frustrated and fatigued after failing to get their parents’ attention who are lost in smart phones.
Younger children might throw away or hide a phone, or throw tantrums to get attention. Older kids might tell you directly or withdraw into their own devices.
There is the argument that smartphones allow us to be more flexible about when and where we work, allowing for more time physically spend with families.
But always being just semi-present can have a negative impact on kids.
The next step is to talk face-to-face with people, and reconnecting with the real world.
Take a step back and ask yourself why you reach for your phone. Are you looking for a connection or are in search of a community? Does the constant archiving of your life stem out of a fear of dying? Or is it just boredom?
Make a list of things you want to accomplish and keep that piece of paper on you. When you feel the urge to check creeping in, take out the paper instead of your phone.
Instead of automatically Instagraming or tweeting about a good experience, try something more analog.
Many phones already have built-in tools that can help you create boundaries.
Turn off notifications. Use filters to make any necessary exemptions so that your boss or grandfather can always get through. Use away messages to let people know you won’t be responding to their emails.
Set expectations about when you are working and stick to them.
Parental controls are a great way to self-discipline. Set timers for yourself, turn off access to distracting apps during certain hours.
There’s even an app called Moment for tracking your phone usage like calories. Perhaps a little reality check about how much you pick up your device will help motivate you to put it away.
The last step is that instead of disappearing in a device, force yourself to spend time in the messy, mind-numbingly dull, or unpleasant real-world situations around you. It might give you something good to tweet about.