I don’t want my phone to control me

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August 23, 2019

I have this fear of missing out on life because of my phone. There’s no doubt we’re addicted to technology, and it’s actually pretty scary.

Relationships fall apart, or fights ensue because people are too busy scrolling through social media to pay attention to each other.

There are a lot of upsides to social media — making friends and being able to promote your work being the biggest ones — but we don’t have the discipline to separate ourselves when we should.

Some of us feel anxious simply deleting apps we don’t even use, turning off our phone, or leaving it in another room.

But I don’t want my phone to control me.

I don’t want to reach for it when there’s an awkward silence. I don’t want to scroll through Instagram when I’m with a friend.

I don’t want to read a text message while my sister talks to me. I don’t want to walk down the grocery store aisles while staring at my phone.

I want to be in control of when I use it and for how long.I need to learn to use it purposefullybecause I don’t want to miss out on life.

That’s why I’m trying to optimize my phone for fewer distractions. Here’s what I’m doing:

1. I turned off my notifications

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

I mean I turned off allof my notifications. I don’t know when someone DM’s me on Instagram or likes my tweet. I don’t know if someone reblogs my post or if my favorite shops uploaded products on Etsy.

And you know what? It’s not the end of the world! If I get a message, I simply check it later.

Also, I guess I lied. I kept my iMessage notifications on, but that’s because I don’t want to miss urgent texts or calls from my parents. But that’s it!

2. I erased all the apps I don't use

I realized I had too many apps I don’t use on my phone. Old games, or a bunch of the ones that come with the phone.

This might be difficult because we have that, “but what if I need it later?” mentality. Erase it, and if you need it later, download it again.

You may have erased it, but it’s not permanently gone.

3. I deleted apps I could use on my laptop when I need them

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

By this, I mean shopping apps. Amazon, Society6, RedBubble, and Etsy were the ones I had.

I don’t even shop much, but when I’m bored, I like to look through the new products and see what I could buy later.

It’s a bad habit. So, I erased them even though it was embarrassingly hard. When I need or want to buy something, I can find the websites on my laptop.

4. I put all my remaining apps in one folder

In his article, Set Up a Minimalistic Phone and Use It With Purpose, Bryan Ye talks about how to make your phone less distracting.

Admittedly, some of the tips he gave were a little too crazy for me, but I applied the ones I thought were interesting.

One piece of advice he gave was to put all of your apps into one folder.

He wrote, “The main value that I get from this is that it stops me from swiping around my phone. I used to swipe around my phone to find an app that would entertain me. I would also sometimes look for an app, and then get sidetracked and go to another one just because I saw its colorful, shiny logo.”

5. I turn my phone off when I work and leave it upstairs

Photo by Vandan Patel on Unsplash

I read about this a shitload of times before actually doing it.

I thought it was a ridiculous tip because if I wanted to use my phone, I could simply turn it back on. But once I tried it, I realized it was actually genius.

I’d never turn my phone back on unless I needed it.

Why does this work? I think it’s because we’re impatient.

None of us like to wait for our phone to turn on because it “takes too long.” So, I use that impatience to my advantage.

I don’t want to wait for my phone to turn on just to check Instagram, so I don’tturn it on. Thus, no distraction.

For extra measure, I’ll leave it upstairs when I work downstairs. Plus, it’s not in sight, so I’m not even tempted to pick it up and turn it on.

If you don’t want your phone to control you either, apply all of these tips. You can read articles or watch videos that’ll give you further advice, too.

However, one important thing to tell you: don’t depend on willpower.

I used to think I didn’t need to do these things because I could stop myself, but I can’t. And the truth is, you probably can’t either.

So, try this out, and don’t depend on discipline.

Phones really are addicting, and while they may not have the effects as drugs, you can’t stop either addiction merely because you say you will.

Do something about it.

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