iPhone addiction 2 week detox: how I went

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So the School holidays have been and gone and my hope to have a break from my constant checking of my phone (what for?!) has now passed. I was keen to have a decent break from my phone through the day where I found myself grabbing it at any quiet moment (whether on the floor playing with Mags) or outside with her, or at the park with the big kids. Whenever they were occupied with something, I found myself needing to be occupied with social media and constant scrolling/commenting/scrolling/checking in only to go back to the beginning to do it all over again.

Just in case something happened.

So how did it go?

Well I would love to say that I was amazing and didn’t use it at all and in the process I discovered a love and passion and skill for water colour and crochet, as well as bonding with all three of my children in deep and meaningful ways, but you know, I’m human and my addiction was pretty strong, so let’s call it baby steps in the right direction.

I definitely made some changes and found some new normals that I used as well as listened to LOTS of great ideas from you guys that have also found themselves in the same situation.

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1. Create times for phone use

I have created set times for when I use/look at my phone and I have banned myself to stop looking at it outside of these times. For me, I usually have a quick look through my phone of a morning when I am having a coffee and Maggie is happily playing with her toys on the phone. So say from 7am-7.30 I can have a look through Instagram or my blog page on the Pages app. I check emails, Facebook and try to answer as many things as I can and then when 7.30 comes around, it’s away and not to be looked at again until after the morning is done. That’s a busy time for us anyway, lunches made, breakfast, school prep, beds made and house cleaned before the big girls walk out the door. At 9.05am I want everything sorted so that when Mags goes down for her morning sleep I can get uninterrupted work done without washing up breakfast bowls. There’s no time for the phone so this is easy enough. Because I am then on my lappy until Mags is awake there may be a quick Instagram post, but that’s it. I limited it to answering questions on there and leaving it. Then the day looks like this:

11.00-1.30pm: hanging with Maggie (DO NOT LOOK AT THE PHONE) this was the hardest as she would be playing so I’d just have a quick look, you know, in case something happened. NOTHING HAPPENS. Put the phone away.

1.30-3.00pm: Maggie asleep so back on the laptop to work, schedule posts etc

3.30pm-4.00pm: a little phone time allowed

4.00-6.00pm: no phone until kids bathed and ready for bed

6.00-7.00pm: a little phone time allowed

7.00pm: phone away for the night

2.  Put the phone away at night!

I managed to mostly stick to these times the biggest one for me being post 7pm at night. I pretty much stuck to this (the minute I checked it I was gone though) and just left it be. So liberating! No checking, no scrolling, I read! I sat and watched TV. I talked! I had sex! You guys there’s this whole world out there! I did whack the odd Instagram post out outside of these times as something took my fancy, but I pretty much just took the photo answered a question if there was one and put it away (done in under 2 mins).

3. Delete the apps from your phone

Lots of people found success in deleting the apps that they always checked in on ALL THE TIME for their phones all together. Brave people! I deleted a couple but had to keep Facebook and Instagram for work stuff but who knows…one day it might happen. Lots of people initially missed it, then didn’t. Some didn’t check Instagram for 3 MONTHS and you know what? The world kept going. They missed some photos of coffee and cake and you know, ATE IT IN REAL LIFE INSTEAD.

4. Move the positions for apps on your phone

Another tip a reader had was t0 just move the positions of the apps on your smart phone. It’s amazing how our brains are hardwired to follow the same movements…I discovered a little while ago when Maggie deleted some apps from my phone by mistake and I went in to find them on auto pilot and they were gone! I was like a lab rat going through the motions without even thinking…make your brain stop to think about what you are doing and then you might actually stop and think, do I really want to be checking this? Again? Go have a drink of water instead

5. Keep your hands busy elsewhere

This is something I am keen to look into more…I need a hobby. But you know? CRAFT. So maybe I will start reading again, or perhaps writing? Anything to stop the mindless scrolling, dear lord that scrolling is KILLING US. I know it was the holidays, but I read at night! I watched TV and you know, watched it. Watched a movie and you know, watched it, rather than scrolled and watched. Knit. Knead. Read. Make. Do something. Anything.

What did I discover?

Well, mostly that I still have a looooonnnng way to go with all of this stuff. I am more addicted than I realised, reaching for that phone whenever there was a spare moment to. A couple of times I actually went out without my phone (which would have defeated the purpose of having a phone for calling had I needed to) but I went and had a coffee without my phone. I ate some cake without my phone, and the world kept spinning. Instead of checking my phone while the kids were at the park, I laid down in the sunshine and just sat and listened to the quiet. I called people when I would have been scrolling, connected into the world rather than an online version of it.

I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m committed to make a permanent change. Like anything, moderation and responsibility are key and somewhere along the way, I’ve messed up both a little.

Got any other tips to share with us?
Care to make a change yourself?

Comments

  1. It’s a just a habit that I too have fallen into, my tip is to leave my phone behind unless I really need it. When at home I try not to touch it when the kids are in sight, I don’t want them copying me! x

  2. Great tips! I have also made a decision a few weeks ago to cut my time on social media especially as it was entrenching into “my time”. Hard at first, like really really hard. And i didn’t do a clean stop because I’m human but slowly I’m reaching for my phone a little less and am noticing that it’s actually ok to not be “available” 100% of the time. Quite liberating actually. oxo

  3. Your post has inspired me to do the same. Only the other night I realised just how much I rely on my phone to fill in time across the day. To the point at night that my husband and I were sitting on our phones on the couch not talking after our little one went to sleep. That should be ‘us’ time. I agree with you though, it won’t be easy but willing to try.

  4. Reading this on my iPhone.. Irony much? I do think I along with many are reliant on the iPhone for company. I’m less connected physically since we moved & so it’s my “go to” for catch ups as a blogger and for me, Mum & Grandma. I hear you on not being as attentive to the phone when others are around & I do this but lately I’ve noticed I am still highly “attached” even when watching the news or a TV show! I find now that I can go for a walk without the phone (use it to take pics) so I’m more mindfully engaged with the walk! I like that you are planning life without the iPhone as well as using it as necessary & for fun! Good on you Beth!

  5. Go you! I admire you for doing it!

    I know I am addicted to my screens whether it be my tv, laptop or phone and frankly at the moment I don’t care. I know I can leave my phone at home if I want and not check it for hrs but I kind of like checking in. The thing for me is that my phone and social media is actually my social outlet and how I keep up with what is going on during the day.

    In the meantime I am cheering you and anyone else doing a detox on from the sidelines!

  6. This is great!
    I too have an issue, and I have made an effort to step back a little, but it’s so easy to slip!
    I recently started renting a small office and moved my office out of the home to there, and it helped me to get some home time back, but unfortunately, I ended up sitting on my phone at night instead of the working I used to do!
    So, I’m going to try harder!
    I’m going for a walk! xx

  7. Lisa Mckenzie says

    I’m not that bad but do use my iPad more than my phone but I can check FB and Ig once or twice a day and that’s it!

  8. So many great tips here, thanks for sharing! It’s 7pm now and I’m putting my phone down..

  9. I need to do this! It wastes so much time!

  10. How did we live before our phones?! I still need mine for periodic texting to my hubs and friends while he works at night, but def need to break the habit of incessant mindless checks.
    I have found that sometimes plugging it in and charging it in a random, out of the way outlet helps me. Like back in the master bedroom instead of in a main living area. Still accessible if I need it for an emergency but not so easy when playing with baby downstairs or running around outside with big kids.

  11. I’ve tried many times but just fall back into old habits. It really is an addiction isn’t it? BUT…. you’ve inspired me to try again. It takes a bit of discipline that’s all. So glad you shared you’re thoughts on this. I’ve often wondered how other more experienced bloggers feel about it. Phone addiction is everywhere and it can’t be good for our kids to a) see us modelling this behaviour (noses in screens) and b) compete with phones for their parents attention! Makes me sad.

  12. My time is in the morning after my in-bed cup of tea brought in just before my man walks out the door. Just Ralphie, me and the iPad till it’s shower time. The #onething I need to do is cull the number of people I follow on IG. Lots of pretty pictures, but sometimes little purpose, particularly the coffee and cake shots?!? That’s my job today … Cull my IG list … Oh, and clear out those emails I’ve kept to read ‘one day’.

  13. I’ve had a real problem with being distracted by facebook to the point of it almost being an ‘addiction’ for me. I would look at it on my phone when I was with the kids, or when I was on a deadline I would just scroll through it on my computer mindlessly. BUT…I’m proud to say I think I’m on top of it now after doing a few things. Here’s what I did:
    I deleted the facebook app from my phone. Hot tip: you can delete facebook but keep messenger, so if people are trying to contact you, you will still get the messages, but without the mindless scrolling.

    I had my husband change my FB password when I was on a big deadline a while ago. I logged out and he didn’t tell me the new password until my work was finished – no distractions! I will definitely do this again when I just want a few weeks with absolutely no distractions. When I logged back in I had 57 notifications – guess how many were actually important or interesting? ZERO!

    On normal days I use a browser plug in called ‘Stay Focussed’ to limit my time on social media during my work day – you set the time limit for how much you are comfortable using social media and when you’ve reached your quota, you’re locked out.

    Since going cold turkey on facebook for a few weeks I am now much less interested in it. I check it once in the morning, and once in the evening – but only for a couple of minutes at a time. I still know what all my close friends are up to, because they are close friends and we keep in touch, but all the other stuff was just getting in the way of me living my life and being present with my family. It’s been a step in the right direction for me.

  14. Good on you. That’s still actually a lot of time though, but I guess you have thought about/feel that.

  15. Wow. Great experiment. I should try this. I freakin hate my phone but I love it’s guts too ?.

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