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It’s no secret that smartphones are addictive and the technology is often times built to keep the consumers on it for as long as possible. Recently, while I was away on vacation, I went on a short digital detox that was so eye-opening that I decided to try it at home as well! My new ritual of a nighttime digital detox has greatly improved my quality of life and sleep and I wanted to share the benefits, how you can do it too, and other ways to decrease smartphone addictions.
The One Bedtime Change I Made For Better Sleep
Over the holiday break, Mike and I went to Aruba. I decided to do a digital detox, which is basically cutting out use of electronics such as smartphones or computers, in the hopes to reduce stress and put more focus on face-to-face interactions. For me, I didn’t want to completely cut out the total use of electronics, but I wanted to reduce the habitual use of social media or e-mail. So that week I only had access to text message or phone calls, plus my camera and a few other apps that I felt were necessary for this trip. I used the downtime application on my iPhone that restricted use of the apps I didn’t want access to, and the only way that I could get access is if Mike input a password, which honestly, he didn’t give up so easily! I did this for six days and am SO glad that I did it as it led to so many great changes!
Smartphone addiction is real!
Smartphone addiction is common. Of course smartphones are so essential with our day-to-day life but as a whole we rely on them too much. I really liked this article, that references how the apps on the phones are being designed to keep us addicted, stating that “often, the apps themselves…from games to social networks, [are] precision engineered to create and feed our interaction neediness.” British apps developer Nick Kuh says: “A lot of these companies are employing behavioural psychologists to really nail that: finding ways to draw you back in [to the app].”
Of course I’m not immune to smartphone addition either. In the first days and hours of my digital detox on vacation, I was sort of panicking. At one point I told Mike I absolutely needed to go on Instagram and wish my followers a Merry Christmas. Luckily, he brought me back to reality and said it wasn’t an absolute necessity and that you’d all forgive me!
Obviously for me social media is a big part of my job. I love it. It allows me to share things with you every day that I hope can benefit your life. There is a place for it 100% and I love being able to interact with all of my readers and amazing clients! But I need to remind myself that I built a team that helps LCK run smoothly day-to-day and even though yes there are things I run on my own, I don’t need to be mindlessly glued to social media just for the sake of work. It really is amazing and fascinating how often we pick up our phones just to check, and then repeat that 10 minutes later.
Less time on your phone for more time in your life
After my vacation digital detox was over: guess what happened? Nothing. I mean, I missed you all! But my social media presence didn’t collapse, I didn’t lose followers and nothing changed! Instead of feeling like I lost out on a bunch of stuff happening on social media I ended up feeling like I gained so much. I read a ton of books and I was able to be fully present on vacation with my husband and enjoy each moment without the distractions. I really needed this.
Think of it this way: The time you spend on your phone is time you’re not spending doing other things, like hanging out with a friend, reading a book, organizing your pantry, or creating a tradition with your family! So instead of thinking of it as spending less time on your phone, think of it as spending more time on your life!
Once Mike and I returned from vacation we ended up instituting a nightly digital detox. We use the downtime feature on the iPhone to limit use of certain social media apps so we could continue being present in our lives after work hours.
Here’s what my screen looks like after 6:30pm. I only have access to a few apps, but no internet, gmail or social media. When your screen is locked it says: DOWNTIME: Screen time will be limited until 7:30am
Here are the benefits of the nighttime digital detox:
- Improved quality of sleep: falling asleep quicker, staying asleep longer, and waking up more rested
- Being more present in the moment.
- More time to do things for YOURSELF!
- You wind down from the day much quicker.
There are so many studies out there that point to disrupted quality of sleep due to too much time spent on smartphones too close to bedtime. Instituting this one change really was a game-changer for me. Similarly extending my digital detox to the early morning hours also prevents me from checking my phone first thing in the morning and allows me to be more intentional with the start of my day.
Establishing limits on your smartphone
Now I personally need the extreme of having a password on my phone or else I will be on it. I just know myself. Maybe you have better willpower than I do. In that case, another less drastic solution would be to plug your phone in at a certain time of night, mute the phone, and put it facedown! If you are like me than you may want to take advantage of technology to limit your time on technology (funny how that works!) by using the dedicated screen time app on the iPhone or use of other limiting apps available (scroll down for these).
Have an iPhone? Here’s how to set your screen time up:
Don’t have an iPhone? Check out these apps!
Additional ways to decrease smartphone usage:
- Delete social media apps that you find yourself on all the time and instead only use them on the computer
- Leave your phone home when you take the dog on a walk
- Disable notifications on apps
- While commuting or riding as a passenger in the car, put your phone down and stare out the window. This one is difficult but will become easier over time.
- Establish boundaries for the phone at home like: no phones in the bedroom or no phones on the dinner table
At the end of the day nobody ever says they wished they had spent more time on social media!
My therapist said something to me that really resonated. He talks to many people at the end of their life, and he says they never talk about how successful they were or how much money they made, but rather they talk about their relationships, the love in their life, and family. This makes you question how is it that you spend your day and how much time are you spending on the things that really matter. Nobody ever says “I wish I had spent more time on Facebook or Instagram!”
So continue to ask yourself: How much of your life do you want to spend on your phone? This is your life, take control of it. Manifest it how you want to live, and the message you want to send to your children and family. Less time on your phone means more more time on your life!
Thanks, Lexi, this was the push I needed to limit my screen time. I had no idea these settings were available (sad that I can’t just put the phone down, but such is the way with all addictions)!
Awesome read! Thanks for sharing! I will definititely try these tips. I also experienced a smartphone detox while I went on a cruise this Christmas. I litterally put it on airplane mode during the whole week and it just felt so good. Instead of looking at apps for hours, I needed to do something else: reading, enjoying the view, talk to people (!) , take time for myself, for instance, just breathing better, looking at différent things and noticing every detail. And since Im back, I use my phone less, but the difficult thing is at night time, as I am single and living alone, it’s difficult to be away from the phone , and I really want to change that. After reading your post, you motivated me to make an effort and start to measure and embrace the benefits! 🙂
I do the same thing! It’s the best, isn’t it?
How did I not know this feature existed?! Brilliant!! Cause I know myself and just saying ohhh don’t get on your phone after 8 just ain’t gonna work for me lol I’m a rebel at heart
I put my phone in another room to charge after a certain time and don’t get it until the morning, but, I think I have many friends that are going to love your idea. I’m send to them. Thanks!!!
Love your recepies !!
Got it! Thanks!!
This is an awesome feature and something I would have never known about! Thanks for sharing! Just enabled it 🙂
This was a great read Lexi. You have made me seriously question my phone use. I tried to do App Limits but I would blow through the allotted time. Now I understand the difference between this and Downtime. Thank you for the helpful screenshots of HOW to set up your phone. I will be trying this. And I love what your therapist said— so true!
Which iPhone do you have? I have the 8 and screen time is not there 🙁
Should be there on the 8! Is your phone updated?