Since the first smartphone appeared nearly fifteen years ago (i.e. the iPhone by Apple), people have spent a lot more time using their phones. Modern phones can help us be more efficient. Unfortunately, they are also time-consuming. Do you want to know how to spend less time on the phone? It’s a straightforward question to answer, so I will be answering it here in this post.
Why you should spend less time on your phone?
Spending more time on your phone means reduced time doing things that are more meaningful in life. One of them can be practicing mindfulness; for example, understanding when we get distracted by cell phone usage.
Some studies show that we spend more time on our phones than we think. Based on some research, some people spend an average of three hours or more just on cell phones. Again, more time is spent away from doing other things.
That could be fewer interactions in person, which is essential to communicating these days. Even with the benefits of virtual meetings and the internet, in-person human interaction is still key to communication.
Spending less time on your phone can mean more time for physical activity. The idea of moving around rather than scrolling on your phone is better for your physical and mental health.
Additionally, it can mean fewer distractions if you’re constantly getting notifications on your phone. A lot of distractions arise from what comes up on our cell phones. If you’re easily distracted by notifications from your cell phones, it’s time to make some changes.
For the remainder of this post, I will discuss nine tips that you can practice to spend less time on your cell phone.
Turn off ALL notifications
This one is so simple to do, yet many people don’t realize how much time is taken up because of them. Not all the apps on your phone need your attention. So whichever ones are not essential, it’s best to turn them off.
If there’s a news app installed on your phone, you don’t need to check the news headlines all the time. It’s best to have it run quietly or turn it off most of the time. The same goes for running social media apps as well.
My use of notifications
In my experience, I find that turning off most (if not all) notifications on my phone keeps me less distracted. Also, I’m more focused on things that need to get done.
Especially when I’m doing work that requires my full attention, I’ll have my notifications turned off to maximize my productivity. The only things I have around is if I’m expecting a phone call, or I get calls or text messages from people I know.
Delete any apps you do not need
It may not be easy at first, but it can benefit you down the road. Oftentimes, people have too many apps on their phones that it can significantly waste their time.
Some good ones are social media apps. Too many people spend a lot of time scrolling through Facebook or Instagram on their cell phones.
Social media can be very distracting as well. The various platforms are designed to keep people logged on longer when viewing content. The longer you’re on them, the more time is taken away from doing other things.
Use The “Screen Time” feature (available for iPhone & Android devices)
As an iPhone user myself, I make the most out of using the “Screen Time” feature. Screen time is designed to help you stay focused when you need to or to help minimize distractions.
Below are some screenshots of what my screen time appears on my iPhone. When I need to conduct deep work, I will have my app limits and Focus mode turned on.
What I like the most about screen time is you can schedule time away from your screen. Whether that’s downtime or the turn on/off modes, it can come in handy as a convenient time saver.
Other features available
Besides screen time, some other things you can do with your iPhone include:
- Setting limits for app use
- Setting communications
- Setting privacy and content restrictions (i.e. Not allowing Shareplay or Facetime calls)
For a step-by-step guide, check out Apple’s page on getting set up for your iPhone device.
If you don’t have an iPhone (or if you own an Android or Google device), here’s another good guide for Android users for screen time features.
Extra: Use an awesome tool to keep track of your time
Speaking of this topic, I use something to keep track of time on my laptop and phone.
Read my review of Rescuetime before you decide whether to use it. You can use this to see how much time you spent on a website or app.
Use “Do Not Disturb” mode on your phone
Another thing for iPhone users is making the most out of “Do Not Disturb”. Whenever you have this one on, it’ll prevent incoming calls or text messages when you’re busy.
As an iPhone user myself, I can customize my settings and figure out which time periods I want to use that mode. Or if I’m busy, I’ll just turn on the “Do Not Disturb” mode to reduce distractions.
This one has helped me reduce the number of interruptions I would get without having it on. I really like it, and it can help with managing your time better.
Set a timer on your phone (or on another device)
One thing that people underutilize is timers when it comes to phone usage. I think setting a timer while using a phone is a great self-check for yourself.
What’s better is that there are default timer apps on most smartphones these days. For iPhones, there’s a default clock/timer app where you can set an alarm clock and so forth.
Alternatively, you could use a regular timer to set limits while using your phone. Some people recommend it for setting alarm clocks to wake up. But either way, regular timers work similarly to timer apps on a phone.
Leave your phone at home sometimes
Some people may freak out at the idea of intentionally leaving their phones home. But in some cases, that’s not a bad thing at all.
If you’re just going out for a brief walk, what’s the purpose of bringing your phone? If you’re going out for a short time to enjoy the outdoors, bringing your phone with is not necessary.
Sometimes, I’ll leave my phone at home if I go out for walks every now and then. Also, if I go to family functions, I won’t bring it with me so I can make the most of my interactions with family members.
Whenever I do that, I feel no different or not worried. As a matter of fact, I feel much calmer without having my phone around.
Leave your phone in another room
There are times when it’s best to put your phone in a separate room. It can be helpful when you need to work and stay focused. That may be better than having your phone on your desk while working.
For instance, if you work from home, put your phone in a drawer or room far away from your workspace. Unless you need it for essential communications, you can get far much more done if you put your phone in a separate area from where you work.
Also, I put my phone far away from my bedstand the night before. I do it so I force myself to get up and move around after waking up to an alarm clock. It helps me get my day off to the right start as well.
Decide when you want to use your phone
For the most part, people will grab their phones multiple times throughout the day. Many times they do not realize that they’re using it more than they usually would.
Many people pick up their phones briefly, then put them down, only to pick them up again within an hour. That’s how their days go about, which means a lot of time wasted as well.
If possible, it is good to set certain times of the day to use your phone mindfully. For example, maybe use it for no more than an hour in the afternoon. After that, use it again for a little bit in the evening.
It doesn’t have to be on a set schedule. But picking which times work best for you can be a good way to plan time for using your phone.
Begin your day not using your phone
I know this one is a challenge for me, but not using your phone for the first few hours can be rough. However, it can be beneficial to spend your time doing more mindful activities.
Such activities may include reading or practicing meditation. It may be one thing to read or meditate from a cell phone, but doing it in another method can help as well.
Each day, I begin my day by meditating. However, I have recently stopped using my phone in order to feel more at peace with myself.
So I might use a tablet or an audio device for doing meditation. But those are some things to keep in mind when it comes to “phone-free” activities.
How much time should you spend on your phone?
This question is one that can be tricky sometimes. Time spent on a phone can either be well spent or wasted.
But on average, it’s best to spend no more than two hours a day on your cell phone. That does not sound like a lot, but it can add up. Especially if most people spend more than three hours daily on their phones, it presents a problem worth addressing.
Within the last fifteen years, it’s become a bigger issue in society. More and more people are spending time online (via computers or mobile phones), so it becomes harder to avoid them.
The tips discussed early are not difficult to follow up on. It’s that when it comes to using our cell phones, a lot of people don’t keep them in mind.
If we did follow these tips effectively, I think we would spend more time doing things that matter the most. In the example cited earlier, more time and effort is being put into sincere human contact.
Also, it would not be a societal issue where people are addicted to using electronics. Whether it’s more of a serious problem (such as mental health) remains to be determined. Cell phones are fine, but if we used them at a minimum, the world would be much better off.
Your Turn: Are you up for the challenge of putting your phone away?
I would like to know your thoughts on this topic. Are you someone who’s glued to their phone often?
How much time do you spend on your cell phone each day? Which of the tips do you think might help reduce your phone usage?
Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading your responses, and I’ll gladly answer any questions you have.
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Eric is the owner and chief editor of notimekillers.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. You can also connect with Eric via LinkedIn.