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Columnist Corner

Let’s talk—An addiction in your house that you do
not know about PART 2

Last week, staggering statistics revealed that most of us
are unaware of being addicted to our cell phones plus
not recognizing the negative impact of that usage. Altered
brain chemistry, insomnia, vision problems, negative
sleep problems are just a few of the health issues
or impairments that occur.
As previously mentioned, the typical cell phone user “touches” (text, tap, swipe,
etc.) their phone between 2,617 times a day! Most people average 3 1/4 hours a
day, that’s 1,186.25 hours per year. One reader stated their average was closer to
7 hours per day. Over a year, that’s roughly 49 days of being connected to your
phone instead people in your immediate space. Do you wonder how they might
To know your screen time, go to settings on your phone, tap battery. Were you surprised
at how you spend your time on your phone and the total number of hours?
One reason people do not attempt to spend less time on phones is that it seems like
self-deprivation. However, if we cut back on phone time, we’re balancing our time
and living a healthier more connected life with others.
How to gain back self-control:
Delete social media apps. Social media apps are time consuming yet very profitable
for the vendor site. If you do not delete, try setting a timer to perhaps 15
minutes per day is recommended.
Set aside one day/week, no phone. Have intentional steps to curb cell phone
habits. Turn off your phone: choose an evening from 5 PM until the next morning;
try this several days. Next step, choose one whole day each week (Sunday?) and
set your phone aside, completely turn it off and put in a drawer. Worth a try to gain
more self-control.
Use apps to bolster self-control. There are apps built to help us limit our time
on our devices: “Space”- Set goals and track your daily habits; “Forest”- brings
gamification to productivity and results in real trees being planted based on your
personal phone use habits; “Moment” offers short, daily exercises; “Flip”-Locks
away distracting apps for complete focus; “Screentime”- Set daily usage limits on
your phone or specific apps. The app Detox monitors the time you spend on your
phone and then allows you to create rules based on your usage. You can set a time
limit, like a useful one to stop Instagram scrolling for hours at a time.
Do not take phone to bedroom. A negative habit that affects sleep patterns.
Change your phone settings. Reduce cell phone usage, you find tips and tricks by
simply changing the settings on your phone. The most common suggested ideas:
• Turn off notifications
• Set screen to black-and-white
• Remove distraction-based apps from your home screen
• Set a longer passcode
• Use airplane mode
• Turn on do not disturb
Turning off notifications is something everyone should do. Just because someone
in the world wants to text you, email you, or tag you in a post on Facebook doesn’t
mean they deserve your attention. Set your phone to grayscale, and you will immediately
start using it less.
Put a hairband around your phone. The hairband brings mindfulness for specific
use: do I really need to do this right now? Placed in the middle of the phone
it allows you to answer calls yet harder to text, etc. This gives you a little time to
prioritize what is most important.
This collection of tools may improve your work, health, parenting, and life. Basic
good manners and Internet phone manners suggest to never have a phone at the
table at home or in a restaurant. Never use your phone when driving, in church, in
public bathrooms or while standing in lines in a store.
Some of you might be losing 49 days per year to phone addiction. What could
you do with those extra hours and days? Work towards a job promotion, a family
vacation, a new hobby, a honed golf handicap, a better relationship with spouse
and children, etc.? Learning how to curb use of our smartphones may be one of the
most important life skills any of us can implement.

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