Hot to Ditch my Phone

My name is Tina, and I have a phone problem.

One of my big goals for 2019 is to change my phone habits. I am an addict.

To help this problem, I am considering buying an Apple Watch, so that I can leave my phone behind, can still receive phone calls and texts from my kids and close family, but can’t get sucked into any apps. I have asked on Instagram story today if anyone had success with that method, and looks like a lot of folks did. (I know, it seems counter intuitive to solve a technology addiction problem with more technology.)

Do you have a healthy relationship with your phone? Do you have any advice?

One of my followers shared this helpful article on the topic: Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain

10 Comments leave a comment below

  1. I bought the Apple Watch for the same reason. However, battery life has proven deceptive – I have the previous version, I heard things got better – it can’t last a day, by far.
    What I do, is turn all communication off on the watch, and switch it back from time to times.

    My problem with my phone is work related. It’s hard to keep pro and private life separate. I already deleted my mail, etc account on the phone. Now I am experimenting with a second phone number, but haven’t yet sorted all the intrications (WhatsApp is now used for pro and private communication, and you can only have one account per phone).

    Well. Not easy. Will look forward to hear about your own journey into this !
    Good luck, and hello from CH!

  2. For years I have been using a dumbphone for calls and texts, and an iPod for apps, photos, videos, etc.
    My phone battery never ends and it really makes you get the phone only for important things. And I still get to use all the apps I need. I just don’t have them permanently available and it always takes a secondary position regarding the phone.
    I really don’t think having something permanently on your wrist is going to help. You’ll need to have something that will fulfill the basic function of keeping you in touch with important people, but not be always present.

  3. I have 2 phones. I my case for work and private, but I guess it will work for calls and apps as well. Most people think it is cumbersome but as a woman I don’t have deep enough pockets anyway, so I have a bag with me at all times. This solves the issue of getting sucked into ‘free time apps’ as my private phone is usually in said bag.

    Secondly I have my settings mostly set as ‘do not disturb’ e.g group apps are on mute and no notifications for apps like Linkedin.

    as a 3rd solution I have grouped apps according to the activity eg meditation, newsfeed, travel etc. So I actively have to open the ‘folder’ and the app (or use the search function) which also minimizes getting distracted like dory the fish (oh look pinterest ;))

    but most importantly i recognized it is a habit issue and those are hard to break. Set monthly goals, kondo your phone, get into the right mindset “I don’t use these apps for longer than…’, I am not missing out on anything,… I am addicted,… I really want to change etc. etc.
    For understanding how to change habits and get in to the right mindset it might be worth to check out Gretchen Rubin’s 4 tendencies if you haven’t already done so.

    Long story short: I think there’s not one solution, but a combination of actions and mindset…

  4. I’ve had an Apple Watch since the beginning. I love it! Unlike the poster up top I’ve never had a problem with battery life. Since the OS updates I usually get 2 days out of the battery

    I recommend setting up an email app called Hop on your iPhone. Even if you don’t actually use Hop on the phone, you can set up notifications on your watch. Hop will only send you a notification when you get an email from someone in your address book. Combine this with turning off Apple Mail notifications. It’s the perfect happy medium for email watch notifications.

    As for iPhone addiction, I broke mine about six months ago by deleting FB from the phone and just cold-turkey stopping Instagram use except to reply to messages. I would like to get back to Instagram, but being off social media except when necessary has brought such peace to my life, and my iPhone screen time is very low these days.

  5. I did this! I bought an Apple Watch (it’s not the one with cell service but the one with Bluetooth/wifi only) for similar reasons. I really think it’s helpful! I used to pick up my phone to do something simple (check the time, check the weather, set a timer, etc) and then get sucked into so many another things. Because the apps on the watch are limited, you can only do so much, so it keeps you on track. I found myself being more active with the fitness tracker, too. I keep it on silent always, and usually on “Do not disturb” so I’m not distracted by the buzzing. One weird helpful thing about is it that I use the timer for EVERYTHING. If I know I’m meeting with someone and I only have an hour, or I’m doing a speaking engagement for a specific time, I’ll set a timer and it will silently alert me when time is up. It makes me much more engaged and present instead of constantly checking the time.

  6. It really helps to delete the most offensive apps, say Instagram or Facebook, or even your email app – you can still use the web versions, but you’ll soon realise how tedious it is and will end up spending a lot less time on them.

    You can also try limiting notifications to the most essentials only, so you’re not distracted by every single like or comment.

  7. I have the apple watch, which is useful for receiving any important calls or texts as you mentioned. I find what really helps though, is switching your phone to greyscale. You’ll unlock your phone to look for an app and just go ugh, this looks terrible in all grey. And you can’t even tell which app is which without the color. And then you’ll realize you didn’t need to open it up in the first place, it was just habit!

  8. My advice would be to not buy an Apple Watch — not only it will not fix your problem, but as a device I find it to be an epic fail (and this comes from an Apple fanboy and a designer who considers Jony Ive a role model).

    I approach this problem by keeping Do Not Disturb activated all day long on my phone and setting it to only allow calls from any number (contacts or not).

    I believe that even in our day and age a phone call is the only way to signify that something is urgent, thus any other form of communication (SMS, IMs, emails) is secondary. In this way you can control the technology and not get controled by the technology.

    Also, if you need to have a conversation with your family I recommend using Messages app on the mac, thus not needing the phone and not switching from one device to another. If you chat on other platforms, you can find dedicated apps to the the same — I use ChatMate for facebook and the official app for WhatsApp.

  9. Read ‘Digital Minimalism’ by Cal Newport!

  10. I can imagine that there are loads of other apps you will need on a phone that’d make the watch really just another piece of additional screen. For me those apps are maps, my bus ticket, dictionary, book reader, and bank apps.

    Here’s what I did to solve my phone problem. And it worked:

    No infinite scrolling apps installed on my phone at all. Instead, I installed all of these apps on a separate tablet (in my case an old 2013 nexus), and the tablet sits beside a couch all the time. I only get to check those apps well into the evening whenever I have time to sit on that particular couch.

    One more thing: “stories” are really unhelpful. Disappearing contents are only designed to amplify fomo. Avoid them at all costs. my thinking is that if it was important enough to the poster, they’d make it stick.

    Also, I suggest reading