Exploring some ideas that can help you “create” more time by spending less time on your phone.

We’ve all been there. The cell phone rabbit hole.

With every intention to “just check my email real quick” (or Facebook, or Instagram, or whatever), we hop on our phones. Next thing we know, it’s forty-five minutes later and we’ve been watching puppy videos and searching for gadgets on Amazon. We don’t mean to but, with no strategies in place, we get sucked into the smart zone zombie vortex.

I recently listened to a podcast by Chalene Johnson in which she outlined some tips for spend less time on your phone. So I’m sharing a couple of her tips with you along with a couple of my own.

Some Tips from Chalene

  • Focus on grabbing something other than your phone. Replace the phone-grabbing impulse with the action of grabbing something else. Chalene suggests maybe your planner or a journal. You’d need to make sure it is small enough to be convenient and with you all the time.

If you’re a fan of The Office you’ll know this scene from the episode about Trivia Night. And my guess is you can relate, at least in part, to that feeling of being separated from your phone!

  • Create a lock screen image that triggers you to NOT unlock your phone when you grab it. I love this idea! Rick and I celebrated our 30th anniversary in May and enjoyed a trip to St. John USVI. I had already been using the image below, but after hearing this idea in the podcast I decided to add text to it in Canva. I added the phrase “Will it get you back here?” For me, that’s a reminder to spend more time on what I really want (and the actions that can get me what I really want) and less time on what’s simply convenient. And believe you me, I desperately want to get back to St. John….paradise!!
will it get you back here text over an image of St. John

An additional tip I would add is to change that pic as soon as you find yourself becoming accustomed to it. Change it up, keep it fresh. And, as Chalene says, you can always have that phone lock screen image tell you an action to complete instead. Whether it’s “do 10 sit-ups” or “go outside for 5 minutes” or “sit with your eyes closed and breathe in and out deeply 10 times,” your goal is to rewire that phone impulse.

  • If you are engaged in a project, be loyal to the focus you’re experiencing by NOT responding in real time to whatever email or text message just dinged on your phone. Put it on silent, or just make a commitment to not automatically respond when you recognize the notification. Y’all, it’s rarely gonna be an emergency.

To hear Chalene’s entire podcast and hear her other tips, head over here.

Some Tips from Me

  • Don’t wake up with your phone. I’m laughing right now because this is exactly what I do. Every. Single. Morning. Over the least year I’ve done well training my body to wake up at around 6:30am on weekdays. I justify spending my first 30 minutes on my phone because I’m “not a morning person” and need time to get fully awake. But, now that I’m doing well on not snoozing the alarm, it’s time to tackle this bad habit. My phone needs to be charging across the room so that when my alarm goes off, I just get up. I have to; it’s not beside me!
  • Create a special phone time. If you sometimes feel guilty for the amount of time you spend on your phone, set aside a special time each day to just dive in and enjoy what-the-heck-ever you want on your phone. Candy Crush? Sure. TikTok? No problem. Mindless scrolling? You got it! No need to feel guilty when you’ve set aside a special time (with an alarm so you don’t lose track of time) with your cell phone friend! Honor it, look forward to it, enjoy it.
  • Read a book. Like an actual, physical, paper-page book. I find that when I’ve started a book, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, I’m far less likely to be hitting up my phone for some entertainment because I’m wanting to read the next thing.

Now that I’ve shared a few ideas from Chalene and from myself, I’d love to hear what tips you have to cut down on your phone time. What are you trying to focus on instead? What ideas can you share to help the rest of us have more focus, balance, and productivity by having less phone, more time? Comment below.

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