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7 Ways to Use Your Phone with Joy + Intention

7 Ways to Use Your Phone with Joy and Intention

[Click here to read part one of this post.]

“It’s great to see you again! It’s been so long!”

Did I say this to an out-of-state friend I hadn’t seen since last year? A college roommate I ran into at the farmers’ market?

Nope! I was talking to Instagram, after taking a six week break to focus on finishing my book manuscript! Once I went back online, I let that time away help me recalibrate my relationship with phone and social media in general.

Of course, I’m not perfect, and I still fall into the occasional Instagram hole or scroll for a bit longer than I intend.

But over the last few months, I learned a few nitty-gritty, life-hack-style tricks to rein in phone use and reduce social media temptation… so I thought I’d share them with you!

7 Ways to Use Your Phone with Joy and Intention

7 Ways to Use Your Phone with Joy + Intention

1. Notice what type of phone use is problematic for you and what type is life-improving

Using your phone to find new recipes or learn new yoga poses probably feels worthwhile. Mindlessly scrolling and feeling bad about your body probably feels… less useful.

Awareness is the first step!

2. Delete life-sucking apps for the weekend and tune into how you feel

Once you’ve figured out which apps drain you, try deleting them on Saturday and Sunday.

Notice how you feel when you’re not spending that time on your phone.

Are you panicky because you don’t know what to do with your hands? Do you seem happier with your body/home/life because you’re not looking at other people’s beautifully filtered bodies/homes/lives? Do you have more time to play with your pet or read books?

3. Delete apps you’re not using

As you’re looking through your apps to figure out which ones do (and don’t) add to your life, delete the ones you never use. They’re just making your phone slower and probably stealing a bunch of your data.

NOTE: Before you delete an app, double-check to see if you’re paying for it. If you are, make sure to actually cancel your payment so you’re not getting charged a monthly fee for something you’re not using.

4. Make your phone grayscale

Phone games and social media are much less enticing when everything’s in black, white, and grey. Here’s how to make your i-phone greyscale and here’s how to make your android greyscale.

7 Ways to Use Your Phone with Joy and Intention

5. Make the ‘good’ decision BEFORE you’re tempted

It’s nearly impossible to make smart decisions in the heat of the moment - when there’s a commercial between shows, when the meeting is going long, when you see a pretty view on you hike. We all have a limited amount of self-control and once we’ve used up our allotment for the day, things pretty quickly go off the rails.

So make the “good” decision before you’re in a situation where you know you’ll be tempted to use your phone mindlessly. Put your phone upstairs before you start watching TV in the basement. And definitely keep your phone far away from the table before you sit down to eat.

6. Have a designated charging spot for your phone; make that charging spot out of sight + out of reach

We’re much less likely to mindlessly use the device that’s not in our line of sight.

Move your charger to some place more out-of-the-way: your guest room, a corner of the living room you can’t see from the sofa, or put it in a drawer and charge your phone inside a dresser.

If you’re going into an office, have a one-stop charging space at work, too - on top of a filing cabinet, on a bookshelf that’s 10 feet away, etc. Develop the habit of plugging in your phone on its charger the minute you walk in the door.

7. Turn off notifications

It is so hard to resist the siren song of those pings and icons. Who wants to talk to me? Who’s commenting on my posts? When we don’t see notifications, we’re less likely to stumble into a scrolling spiral.

Here’s how to turn off notifications on an iphone; here’s how to do it on an android.

As humans, there’s a certain amount of self-control and decision making we can exert on any given day. By reducing the need to use up that self-control, by making our phones less enticing, or putting them out of reach, we’re setting ourselves up to succeed in being more intentional about how we use or time and energy.

Like I said in my last post, real change starts with the deeper, more emotional and psychological work. Combine this with these practical changes, together they can make a massive difference to help you feel less stressed and more joy in your relationship with your phone!

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