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Smart ways to break those bad smartphone habits

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Smartphones are a staple in our daily lives, but we should be careful on how we spend our time with them.

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You used to call me on my smartphone

It’s no secret that smartphones have revolutionized the way we communicate and gather information. We now live in a 24-hour news and communicative cycle, with the ability to reach and be reached at any given moment.

This has its advantages, and it’s great to be able to be in contact with those you may not be able to see often. However, do you ever stop and take into account how much time you’re actually spending on your phone?

How smart am I being?

I never gave it much thought until a few years ago when my friend said that he doesn’t like to use his phone when spending actual face time with people. This makes sense as, even when I think I’m present in the moment while simultaneously staring at my phone, that just isn’t the case.

From there, I began slowing my phone use when spending time with others.

When I really thought about it, the idea of making future plans with someone while hanging out with someone else is kind of strange.

What really got me thinking about my smartphone usage was when I had to get glasses for screen fatigue. I then made it a point to think about the way in which I use my phone, and how I want that to change.

1. Utilizing Do Not Disturb

This has quickly become one of my favorite features on the iPhone. I used to have a terrible habit of leaving my phone on vibrate at night, convinced something would pop up at 3 a.m. that would require my attention.

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What wound up happening was, the phone would go off in the middle of the night, the message wouldn’t be important, and then I wouldn’t be able to fall back to sleep.

Then, I would be crabbier than normal when waking up the next morning.

So, every night after I set my alarm for the next morning, I put my phone on Do Not Disturb, knowing that whatever nonsense comes through at night can wait until the morning. Just because we have the option to be constantly accessible, it doesn’t mean we have to be.

2. Minimizing Social Media Scrolling

One day as I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook (likely ignoring more pressing tasks) I wondered how much time I’ve spent over the last 10 years doing this exact thing.

I decided to start counting how many times a day I open my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. apps.

Turns out to be a little staggering when you start putting numbers on things.

My recommendation for combatting this issue is to set a limit on the amount of times you can visit each app per day. Try a regimen of morning, noon, and night. I mean, let’s get real, seeing what your college roommate is having for dinner isn’t all that exciting.

3. Keep Phone Out of Sight in Social Situations

A bad habit I’ve had in the past is going out to dinner with a friend or hanging out in a group and constantly being on my phone, chatting with friends who aren’t there. Unless it’s a pressing matter, I’ve learned to just enjoy what’s in front of me and keep my phone in my purse or pocket.

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At the end of the day

Smartphones are great to have, but they shouldn’t be the heart of our lives. Try to enjoy what’s in front of you, rather than forcing something in front of you 24/7.


Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.

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