Have you ever thought that maybe you use your smartphone too much? I love my phone, but it can be distracting when I’m trying to do something important – like pay attention in a meeting, or sleep. Smartphone addiction is real. There's even a word for the fear of being without a phone: nomophobia (short for no mobile phone phobia). Here are a few tips to help you break the habit.
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1. Put your phone on silent
Yep, you heard me, put it on silent. Not quiet. Not vibrate. Silent. A silent phone is like soothing kiss on the forehead. It’s like taking a bubble bath with serene music. It’s like watching puppies fall asleep on beds of wool.
When your phone is on silent, you may think you can hear it vibrating, or the message tone, but it’s just an illusion because you're so used to those sounds going off.
Now that your phone is on silent, you're casting sneaky sideways glances at it to see if the notification LED is flashing, aren't you? Put it face down. Go on. You can do it. Now enjoy the uninterrupted peace and quiet and do something else. No, that doesn't mean pick up your tablet.
2. Put your phone where you can’t see it
Do you know the saying: “out of sight, out of mind”? Well this was invented after the release of the Nokia 3310. If you can’t see your phone, then not only are you less likely to think about it, but you also don't have to worry about it blinking its little notification LED at you.
If you're at work, or on a date, consider keeping your phone in your pocket or a bag. Some offices ask employees to leave their phones in a basket at the door during meetings. You could take the same approach for family mealtimes, and relearn the art of conversation (or stare wordlessly at your food and wonder if you've got any new Facebook likes).
3. Try phone stacking
This idea first appeared on blogs back in 2012. The scenario is this: you're out at a restaurant with friends and, as usual, everyone is staring at their phone screens instead of talking to each other.
Here's the solution: everyone puts their phones face down, in a stack, in the middle of the table. The first person to reach for their phone has to pay for the meal. If no one picks up their phone during the meal, then split the bill as usual.
Try it. It'll either lead to a memorable evening of happy conversation or a seriously tense couple of hours followed by your friends politely declining your dinner invitations in the future.
4. Prioritize your alerts
"But if I put my phone on silent, how am I going to know when something really important has happened?" you might be asking. That's fine – you can set your phone to allow important alerts through, such as phone calls or texts from certain numbers.
Be realistic when you're deciding what an important alert is, though. Getting a notification every time someone retweets your funny cat photo is not really a priority alert. Find out how to manage notifications on Android in our guide.
5. Get an Android Wear watch
OK, this is really just moving the problem from one device to another, but if you pair your phone with a smartwatch (here's our list of the best Android smartwatches), you can at least leave your phone in your pocket and be alerted to messages in a slightly less intrusive manner.
Do you have any other tips to stop you using your phone when you shouldn’t? Have you successfully beaten smartphone addiction. Let us know in the comments.