It’s Not You, It’s Me: How to Break Up with Your Smartphone

In the last 15 years, smartphones have gone from an unaffordable luxury to a necessary tool considered as basic as a car or wallet. We have moved from a world where we carried around tools like calculators, watches, and maps to a universe where all those functions are performed by one tiny object the size of our palm. While this convenience is an undeniable benefit most of the time, our continued dependence on smartphones is becoming a worldwide issue.

Distracted drivers regularly cause accidents, and people are withdrawing further into the online world, spurning real-world connections. If you feel like you’ve become too enmeshed with your smartphone, we’re here to help. Here are some tips for how to have an amicable break up with your smartphone.

1. Don’t Ignore the Problem

The first step to coming to terms with your cellphone addiction is admitting you have a problem. If you check Facebook more than a few times a day, find yourself getting distracted during important conversations, or reach for your phone without even thinking about it, you have a problem. The next step is figuring what habits you want to change. Maybe you feel too reliant on social media for your self-esteem, or maybe you feel completely lost without consulting a map. If you know what aspects of this problem you want to work on, it’ll be much easier to figure out your first step.

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2. Install an App to See Your Daily Screen Time

There are plenty of useful tools that can help you determine exactly how you’re spending your time online. It seems counterintuitive to install another app to help wean yourself off apps, but bear with us. Apps like Moment or Checky will tell you exactly how much time you’re spending on your phone, as well as how much time you spend in your various apps. Chances are, once you’re confronted with the stark reality of how much time you spend on social media, you’ll be more motivated to step away.

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3. Take Steps to Limit Your Phone Usage

Once you’ve figured out where your screen time is spent, it’s time to limit your usage. Self-imposed rules like “I will only check social media twice a day” work for some people, but if you find yourself in need of more stringent guidelines, use your Moment app to impose strict rules or time limits on your daily usage. Moment will tell you when your self-imposed limit is up for the day, and the app can even send you little notifications if you spend more than 15 minutes at a time on your phone. There are even apps that completely shut down your phone’s Wi-Fi once you’ve reached a certain time limit.

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