10 foolproof ways to keep your phone addiction at bay

A new piece from the Evening Standard suggests that we can gain 29 working days back every year just by making a few small changes with how we use our smartphones.

After Eddie Redmayne spoke up this week about the burden of the connected age, he has admitted defeat by swapping his nuclear-powered smartphone for mobile that would endearingly referred to as a brick.

In keeping with the theme of living in the moment, Susannah Butter has suggested a myriad of ways of keeping your phone addiction at bay and claiming back all that wasted time.

1. Make email appointments

If you think about your job description when you first applied, nowhere in that bullet pointed document did it say anything about spending 3 hours a day scrolling through your emails like they were the world’s longest Buzzfeed article. Set two or three times a day where you check and reply to emails for a set amount of time: maybe 11am then 3pm then at the end of the day?

2. Start bets with your friends

Similar to the game where friends will place their phones in the middle of the dinner table and whoever reaches for their device first picks up the bill, try and shake that phone dependence with your pals. Keep your phone in your pocket when socialising or get everyone to place their’s on the table face down.

3. Create a closure culture

An experimental initiative some tech companies have been using is banning any new email threads on Thursday and Fridays, those days are finishing projects started earlier in the week. Try and tie up all your loose ends before a set time and enjoy the benefits of closure and the relief of knowing you’re free to live unencumbered by a vibrating brick in your pocket.

4. Learn to screen and delete your messages

In the same way your inbox will automatically place spam in it’s own folder, learn to spot which emails are worth reading. By cutting down on how many emails you actually open you will have all this extra time to think about your next strategy to putting some distance between you and your phone.

5. Out of sight, out of mind

Throw it behind the sofa, leave it in the car, tie it to the back of a pigeon – we don’t care how you get rid of it, just do it. If you want to take a less dramatic approach you could invest in a leather case to hide the blinking notifications from your eye-line. This will help you disconnect from your messages and start to ween you off your dependence.

6. Reply when you’re ready

Sending an email can often feel like throwing a bottled message into the sea, you just wait hoping for a response. But this is because everyone’s work schedule is different. You don’t expect others to run on your time so don’t feel like you have to work on theirs. Reply to emails when you feel is best appropriate, not as soon as it arrives on your phone.

7. Resist FOMO

Otherwise known as Fear Of Missing Out and it’s a growing pandemic. If do you miss out, it’s nothing to get stressed about and as long as you’re checking your phone semi-regularly (not every minute) the chances of you missing out on plans are minuscule to none.

8. Actually call people

We refer to our devices as their most under-utilised function: phones. By spending 15 minutes speaking to someone you would otherwise be texting back-and-forth throughout the course of the day, you can get everything you needed to say out in one go and busy yourself with other tasks with the rest of the time.

9. Document your screen time

There are plenty of apps that serve this purpose but download them with fair warning, it may depress you how many hours of your day are spent nose-down staring at your phone. If the sheer amount of wasted time is truly unacceptable, you can set a limit of how much time you’re allowed to spend.

10. Downgrade your device

When all else fails, in the vein of Eddie Redmayne, downgrade your device. Settle for an ancient Nokia and get your Snake skills back from 1998. As long as you can make calls and send texts then you can leave emailing at your desk. Leave the office with a slightly heavier pocket but a much lighter frame of mind.

Now what?