How many times do you check your cell phone in a day? Why are you looking at it? Is it for seeing the time, or are you looking at social media, taking selfies for your “snapchat streaks” (snapchat is honestly an app I can’t stand…mostly from a teacher standpoint but that’s for a totally different blog), or are you playing games trying to get the high score on candy crush?
Do you remember a time before cell phones? (if not, you were probably born after the late 1990’s when the Nokia 3210 was all the rage). What did I even do with all of that time if I wasn’t playing snake or paying 10¢ for a text message?
I was probably doing something creative, active, or useful!
Our cell phones are overrun with apps and notifications that crave our attention and suck the productivity out of us. It’s time to rethink our phone usage.
1. Be intentional about using your phone
Are you using your phone in a way that reflects your values, are your being productive, or sparking creativity? Choose a spot in your home for your cell phone to live and try to leave it there. Invest in an alarm clock instead of having your phone next to your bed.
2.Turn off app notifications
If you’re able, turn off notifications for apps that distract you from the present. Nothing that an app can offer me is more important to me than my time with friends and family, and I wouldn’t want the ping of my phone distracting me from that time (If I choose to look at it, then I will look at it…). Here are some guides on how to do this (android) (apple)
3. Create a list of favourite contacts
My phone is almost always on silent, unless I’m expecting a phone call. I have a list of “favourite contacts” in my phone that will allow my phone to ring when they call or text, even when on silent…I figure everyone else can wait (#sorrynotsorry).
4. Get rid of games
Not only are these usually filled with advertisements convincing you to buy things you don’t need (usually other apps), but they really do consume a lot of your time (and space on your phone). Instead spend time playing a game, such as pictionary or charades, with your friends and family.
5. Do a cell phone audit
Get rid of apps that not longer work for you, or that you no longer use. Delete photos that you don’t need (accidental photos of the inside of your pocket, or those dreaded under chip selfies?). Keep your home screen clear of apps by using a swipe screen or an app drawer, and consider using a watch to check the time rather than your phone.
Try not to use your phone for 24 hours!
Last but not least, can you believe that cell phones used to be made without cameras, now a major selling point for many phones?!
Taking pictures with my cell phone is probably my kryptonite.
When taking a quick glance at my phone, I currently have 403 photos on my camera roll, which doesn’t seem like that much in comparison to the SD cards in my DSLR, but when you think back to film cameras, you used to only have 24 photos on a roll without any sort of preview! I love taking photos (it’s what I went to school for..), but now that we’ve gone digital, I’m constantly pulling out my phone to take pictures of everything (sunsets, dinners, my dogs doing something cute, etc.). I usually don’t have the intention to print these kinds of pictures, but for some reason feel the need to fill up my phone’s memory space with them.
Really it would be better to just live in the moment and not take so many pictures (I probably take at least 5 photos of the same thing…) but photography is really part of my lifestyle, and minimalism is supposed to fit with what gives you joy, right? Instead, to keep my phone clutter-free (and able to take photos whenever I wish) without having to delete things (this was a constant struggle with my iphone), I just backup my photos to google photos (android, apple).
Basically, when I take a photo, it loads it to my google photos and takes it off my phone. It’s accessible in the cloud should I choose to use or look at it later. I find this helpful with blogging and content creation because photos are instantly accessible on all devices through google photos. If you aren’t sure how to do this, it’s super simple, check out the google photos help link.
What have you done to spend less time on your cell?