smartphone struggle

I wouldn’t say I have an addiction to my iPhone.

But I wouldn’t say I don’t, either.

I know, it's a problem.

So, I’ve been doing some research about how to cut off the accessibility my phone allows me.

First, I turned off cellular data to my social media apps. Honestly, this was partly because I kept using too much data, but it was also because Aaron and I went on a road trip in August, and he drove the whole way while I'll scrolled through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Great quality time, right? Only accessing social media while on wifi hasn't been as difficult as I assumed it would be, and it helps me have more concentrated conversation with people around me.

Then, I read "How to Unhijack Your Mind from Your Phone" and realized how much control I allowed the apps on my phone to have over my life. I reduced my home screen to two rows of apps instead of folders. I've started swiping down to search for an app I'm wanting instead of scrolling through pages and folders. I organized my folders by color to make my screen prettier and less complicated.

I also made some adjustments to my vibration and badge notifications: I look at my phone enough to not need a vibration when some texts me, so my phone only vibrates at bedtime (see below) and if someone calls me. My badge notifications are only from our Student Ministry Slack channel, messaging, Wunderlist, and MileIQ. Everything else I check often enough to not need a notification.

Lastly, I've started waking up from an alarm clock. The article suggests to sleep with your phone elsewhere, but I think up irrational fears at night—what if someone breaks in while I’m asleep, and my phone isn’t in my room, and Aaron’s not home? Sleeping with my phone outside of my bedroom isn’t an option.

So, I took the alarm clock from the guest bedroom and put my phone in my bedside table drawer, and it has been the best sleep decision I’ve ever made:

At 9:45pm, I get the iOS bedtime notification, plug my phone in to the charger in my drawer, and close my drawer. I don’t access my phone after it’s in the drawer, and I don’t know if I get a text message because I don’t have notifications on. Which means if you need to talk to me after 9:45pm, either call me or wait for a response at 6am.

Then I set my real-life alarm clock to wake me up!

My sleep is tracked, I can easily check the time in the middle of the night without being distracted by a text that came through, and I’m not wasting tons of sleep-time mindlessly scrolling—at least, not as often.

Game changers, y’all.

What are some guidelines you follow to make sure your smartphone doesn't take over your life?