We’re all guilty of checking our phones far more than we need to, whether we’re incessantly refreshing our Instagram feed during the morning commute or getting the lowdown on the latest viral memes on Twitter.
More than two thirds of people in the UK would confess that they use their phones too often, as noted by a survey conducted by Deloitte last year.
While many of us would admit that limiting phone use is far easier said than done, there is a simple trick that you can try in order to become more conscious of the amount of time spent mindlessly checking your phone.
Earlier this month, lead digital education correspondent for NPR and author of The Art of Screen Time Anya Kamenetz appeared on the TiLT Parenting Podcast to discuss the way in which parents use their phones in front of their children.
She recommended that parents try announcing what they’re doing when they check their phones. Doing this would help them create an open environment with their children while also enabling them to become more aware of their actions.
“What’s helpful for me is something that my friend Danah Boyd, who’s a social media expert suggested, and that is when you pick up your phone around your kids, simply narrate what it is that you’re going to do,” she said.
“So you say, ‘Hey, let’s check the weather, or ‘I’m wondering if dad has come home from work, I’m going to send him a text’ and making that transparent.
“I think it is a really wonderful way to hold yourself accountable too, and to help kids understand what it is that you’re doing.
“At the same time, you’re not going to pick up your phone and look at your kid and say, ‘Oh, I want to see what Rihanna’s up to on Instagram.”
If this method doesn’t float your boat, then there are other techniques that you could utilise to take control of your phone addiction.
Catherine Price, author of How to Break Up With Your Phone, advises establishing phone-free periods during the day, gradually building up from 30-minute breaks to a full 24-hour digital detox.
How to get rid of your phone addiction pic.twitter.com/MEgxzqvCjb— Sascha Pallenberg (@sascha_p) February 21, 2018
Spending too much time on your phone can drastically affect your productivity on a daily basis.
"The University of California found that if we get distracted from a task by a mobile phone notification, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to fully regain our focus. All of which suggests that smartphones, while fundamental to day-to-day life, are detrimental when it comes to being productive," explains Maths Mathisen, CEO and co-founder of Hold, an app that rewards students for putting down their smartphones.
"By not having your phone on, or in front of you, you minimise the amount of distractions around you, allowing you to focus on your work," Mathisen advises.