How to Limit Looking at Your Phone
Fine. I made a resolution. It’s something I’ve been very consciously doing for a while now, but I decided to take it up a notch so I’m accountable. I mean, if it’s my resolution, it’s serious. I need to do it.
I’ve been asking myself a question every time I reach for my phone. It’s pretty simple; I just say to myself, “Melissa, why are you reaching for your phone?”
Sometimes I have an answer for myself. “I am looking at my phone because I’m checking to see if there are any work emails. I haven’t looked in a while, therefore it is entirely possible there is something I need to answer.” Or, “I’m going to play one game of Solitaire because I’m thinking right now, and playing this game helps me think and problem solve.” Or, “I have the time since I arrived early to my meeting, and I feel like connecting with people, so I’m going to check Facebook.”
If there is a good answer, I look at my phone.
There are a bunch of times when I lie to myself, and then I need to call myself out on it. “I’m checking for work emails,” I’ll say, even though I know I checked 5 minutes earlier. “I want to connect with people so I’m going to check Facebook,” I’ll say, even though I’m not connecting with the human beings who are physically around me because I’m looking at my phone.
And other times, I’m honest with myself, even though I know the answer has no legs: “I’m bored, so I’m checking my phone to stave off that boredom.” Or, “I’m checking my phone because it’s easier than tackling the stuff I have to get done.”
Those times, I don’t look at my screen. I may touch the phone through my pocket, but I don’t turn it on. Sometimes I have to deny myself the screen a lot. Other days I barely remember that I have a phone when I’m moving through the house or out-and-about.
I don’t know why I am limiting it: Do I feel like I am missing out on the world around me because I am looking at my screen? Or do I think other people think that I look at my phone too much? Or have I realized that I don’t always use this tool well?
All I know is that I’m setting some conscious limits. Not a time budget since my needs will change from day-to-day, but instead forcing a mindfulness of why my hand reaches for this tool.