Our cell phones are an integral part of our lives. We use them to communicate at all times of the day. It’s hard to imagine life without a cell phone by our side. It’s our trusted sidekick, and many of us feel lost without it. We’re so connected to the phone we don’t realize we’re missing valuable parts of our day. Simply checking your phone constantly while at the park can cause you to miss out on beautiful sights or fully enjoy your day.
This week’s Be Better Challenge is to set your phone aside for 15-minute increments (aka, a 15-minute timeout). We are not talking about “aside” as in “next to you.” We are talking about aside as in “totally out of sight.” Although you may be uncomfortable at first, the time you spend disconnected from your phone is liberating. Throughout the day, find opportunities to put your phone aside and be present in the moment.
Taking a break from your phone will enable you to focus on socializing in person. According to a survey published by the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, the average person reported spending the most time texting (94.6 minutes a day), followed by e-mailing (48.5 minutes), Facebook-ing (38.6 minutes), browsing the net (34.4 minutes) and listening to music (26.9 minutes). And—get this—researchers found that Pinterest and Instagram are among the most addictive activities. Using your phone can easily become addictive, so putting your phone out of sight for just 15 minutes can help.
Here are some tips to become less dependent on your phone:
- When you’re at dinner with your friends or family, have everyone stack their phones on the side of the table. That way you can hold each other accountable for not using your phones.
- Delete your Facebook app for the week so you are not checking Facebook every five minutes when you are away from home.
- Do not answer calls and texts while exercising if you are using your phone for exercise apps or music.
- Leave your phone at home while running errands.
- Embrace your surroundings: look at everything around you and try to find peace in these moments without your phone.