How to Guard Against Frequent Phone Use in This Season

One of the things that we’ve heard from a lot of you guys about during this season is that because of all the new cycles and all the emotions people are feeling, a lot of people are just being a lot more time on their phone, looking at new sites, looking at social media, checking in on things. What can subtly happen while you’re doing that, maybe for really good reasons, and this happens to me all the time, I’ll be working and just needing to spend a lot of time on my phone, but after a good three or four days of that, like almost my body chemistry has been altered to be totally phone oriented. I have to figure out how do I break this sort of new level of addiction over the phone? I wonder, Jeff, you’ve wrote a whole book about this stuff and you’ve thought about this a lot. What are your thoughts about how to help, especially during this season?

Totally. Yeah, it’s hard. I think, too, you’ll have up and down seasons. The biggest tip I could give, too, is it’s less about being perfect and more about getting back to ideal as fast as possible. Does that make sense?

I think a lot of times we shoot for perfect for something like this. And then just the minute we start, we were on our phone more or whatever, we kind of either feel shame or guilt or just like, eh, whatever, and I’m back on it again. I’ve noticed it’s really not about that. It’s just the quicker that I can stop the loop and just go back to the ideal, the quicker that then actually those sections last longer, and then those compound over a period of time.

I think that’s the first tip. Because I’m even noticing it in the quarantine stuff. I feel like I was in a good spot. The quarantine stuff then kind of totally just jostled me out. I’m on more. We’re doing something. I’m like, ah, it’s just, you start feeling a certain way, like you said. You have to kind of get quickly back to a set level of boundaries and practices and you get to make those up. But I think practice those. At least try week-long experiments. And then at the end of the week, debrief whether or not you thought that was helpful or successful. Right?

We have a bunch that now are pretty much set in stone. I call it my phone has to be leashed at night and in the morning. What I mean by that is it has to be plugged in a cabinet. It’s connected. It’s not in my pocket. It’s not near me. It’s not on a side thing. It doesn’t come in our bedroom. I think having a place for your phone, like just put your phone to bed and wake your phone up at a certain time, is a really helpful practice. I do that, and do that outside of the bedroom. Whether it’s the kitchen or the office. Mine literally goes in a cabinet door so there’s so many layers of friction. I have to go in my cabinet. I mean, go in my office, go in the cabinet, turn the phone on. It’s so much more friction than rolling over and grabbing it.

Oh, so you turn it off as well?

Yes. And turn it off because that’s just enough friction. Where I notice if I don’t turn it off, I go… You know what I mean? If I can check the notifications. But turning it on, it’s like, whatever that is, 20 seconds that takes, is a very larger barrier than you think. So, turning it off and on, at night and in the morning, is probably the biggest, helpful practice you could do to just create enough friction.

Another one is I turn mine off one day a week, on Sabbath. Some people… I totally get, if you’ve got emergencies, whatever, you can’t do that. Because Alyssa has hers on and she’s not as connected as I am, I know if someone needs something, they’ll just call her. What are some other ones?

I do think having one moment in the day that it’s off. Whether it’s at lunch, whether it’s mealtime, or whatever, but just having a sacred time where you can’t be reached for an hour, I think is really helpful. I would say that.

Oh man, I can go on and on. But, I think just writing these down in your note section and then kind of trying for a week and then debriefing it and then solidifying the ones that worked and kind of redoing the ones that didn’t, I think it was a really helpful practice. I don’t know.

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