Majority of mobile device users admit to being on their phones a little too much, but there are ways to limit one’s time of use.
People with mobile devices such as cellphones would know that it is the first thing they check in the morning when they wake up. Never mind if it’s raining or sunny outside, one must open his or her phone to check for notifications and ask, “What did I miss?”
“Most people check their phone every 15 minutes or less, even if they have no alerts or notifications,” psychology professor Larry Rosen, who wrote the book “The Distracted Mind,” told CNBC. “We’ve built up this layer of anxiety surrounding our use of technology, that if we don’t check in as often as we think we should, we’re missing out.”
But more than just missing out, people’s anxieties over checking a mobile device every now and then actually has implications on their ability to focus. Specifically for social media, which is designed in a way that a user can literally endlessly scroll for more content, studies have shown that it does impact a person’s mental health negatively.
In 2021, Facebook came out to say that yes, using their app actually leaves people in a worse mood than before they picked up their mobile devices to leisurely scroll through content. So how does one reduce time spent on mobile devices and create better habits for their mental health? Here are three tips.
Define boundaries by sticking to a schedule.
There’s a reason why work is usually set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., because the schedule allows for efficient planning and time management. The same can be done when using mobile devices. Set boundaries by limiting mobile device time to say, an hour in one day. It can be one whole hour of scrolling through one’s favorite apps at the end of the day after work like a reward, or two 30-minute sessions before and after work.
NPR suggests turning off push notifications or simply putting a mobile device on silent mode so that every beep or chime would not serve as a distraction while working, working out, or doing other activities. Setting physical boundaries to accessing one’s phone or apps can also change how a person interacts with connections online. Specifically for social media, a person can gain insight into which relationships are real and transcend into real life and which are simply online.
Gain insights to mobile device usage and then set goals.
To be able to set clear goals for one’s self, such as decreasing mobile device use to just an hour per day, a person has to know his or her current time spent. Some phones already have this information on hand, while other users will opt to install a tracker such as QualityTime or Moment that will give insight on how one has been using his or her device. It can also help in defining goals when it comes to mobile phone use.
To help achieve goals, users can also customize which alerts they would like to receive. Pesky newsletter emails? Unsubscribe or organize them into one folder so as not to get notified every time. Getting the mobile phone organized is also key in limiting time spent on it.
Place mobile devices away from the bed at night.
Doom scrolling at night right before one dozes off is a common occurrence. To avoid this, leave mobile devices and phones in a separate area in the bedroom, preferably one away from the bed. Not only is this a useful technique for those who use their phones as alarm clocks, as it will literally force them to stand up to shut it off, it’s also a great way to give the brain a signal that the bed is simply for sleeping and not binging on mobile devices.