Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Smartphones have a stranglehold on almost all parts of our daily life. Since their rise back in 2000, smartphones have taken over the world in only a few years. This isn’t totally a bad thing. Easy access to the internet has definitely made things more convenient and keeping in touch with loved ones has never been easier. But who knew all these apps would be this addicting! It’s so simple to get sucked into scrolling….and scrolling…. and scrolling. Psychiatrist Anna Lembke found that the average person unlocks their phone more than 50 times a day and clicks on their screen 2,617 times. And most of us don’t even recall what we were clicking for.

Addiction is often defined as a compulsory habit that the individual can’t help but to engage in despite being aware of the negative consequences. It’s a new concept , but smartphone addiction, unofficially known as nomophobia, is a real thing! Some people are more online than others, but I’ll venture to guess that most of us can’t leave home without our phones. They’re glued to our hands and pockets. Unlike traditional addictions though, smartphones aren’t something we can quit cold turkey. It’s nearly impossible to live off the grid. We use our phones for almost everything! The average smartphone user is plugged in an average of 3 hours a day, not including work related usage. That’s 21 hours a week! There’s nothing wrong with needing to unwind with some Instagram but that’s a lot of time dedicated to scrolling.

So what can we do? It’s not practical to cut out our phones completely, but we can find mindful tricks to help us unplug more.

Plug in only at certain times

We waste the most time when scrolling becomes mindless. Passively using our devices makes it easy to disengage and lose track of time.Schedule your scrolling and you’ll be aware of how much time is passing and you’ll have an endpoint. Put locks on your apps to remind you when it’s time to log off. Turn off unimportant notifications too!

[Here’s how to use app limits on your iPhone and Android]

Think about it

Why are you unlocking your phone? Are you talking to someone? Checking your emails? Or trying to distract yourself? Being mindful of the reason will make you more aware of your scrolling habits and help you find alternative activities. If you’re bored, read a book, go for a walk, find something to do. If you’re lonely, call a friend ( as opposed to checking Instagram). If you need a distraction, think about some of your favorite self care tips.

Organize your space

Get your space ready. Less time scrolling means more time for everything else! Put some hobbies around you to keep your hands busy and off your screen. Move those books you’ve been meaning to finish from the shelf to the coffee table. Keep your phone away from you when you’re not using it. Make it hard to get to and you won’t be so eager to check it. Organize your phone too! Move your social apps off the home screen and uninstall the ones you haven’t used in awhile.

Habits aren’t easy to break, especially ones that are so normalized. But we can be aware of how and when we use our phones. Get unplugged and discover what your day can look like when you live undistracted.