treating a middle aged zombie phone habit
has anyone taken drastic measures to ween themselves off a phone dependency/addiction?
I’m at that stage, or perhaps long past it: I’ll use my phone when im stood up at the toilet (sat down is a given), sometimes even when Im brushing my teeth. If there is any possibility of having to wait, for example, if my computer is loading up then out comes the phone. When I wake up , its at least 20 mins staring at my phone before I get up. Perhaps an hour at night, at least. If a film isn’t completely engrossing then I’ll be on my phone. I have a problem
worst is that I’ll sit next to my young son, and because I can’t possibly watch the drivel that he likes, I’ll be on my phone and he’ll look round and see me and possibly lodge that in his subconciousness.
it’s really bad. I’ve only recently discovered twitter and Im not active on it but will just scroll down the various political commentators and then, when I’ve done that for five minutes, there’ll be an update I’ll have to read and so on.
Its just the same things on rotation, twitter, facebook. linkedin, pinkbike, STW and guardian website. By the time I’ve done the rounds I can start again as there’ll be updates. The only consolation is that Im not bothered about instagram and I’m not active at all on any social media – just read sh*t
Im prepared to lock my phone away during the day but Im currently having to make work calls through it so it has to be by my side all day during the week.
But drastic action is needed, can’t go on like this 🙂Posted 1 week ago
May I suggest tiktok?Posted 1 week ago
Let me know any solutions you find!Posted 1 week ago
Instagram’s pretty good, you should do that too.
😉Posted 1 week ago
That sounds very like me but I’m not concerned.
Should I be concerned about not being concerned?Posted 1 week ago
Turning the screen black and white in settings, sounds daft but helps.Posted 1 week ago
But drastic action is needed, can’t go on like this 🙂
Give said phone to your young son and it will not be working for very long 😉
In all seriousness. Switch it off. When you get in from work, switch it off and put it in a drawer. If it needs charging, charge it switched off. Buy an alarm clock and do not use your phone as an alarm, therefore no ‘need’ to have it in your bedroom. Don’t use spotify etc in the car via bluetooth – bit extreme but if you put your phone out of reach it just adds another period of the day when you are not focused on it, or ‘using’ it even if that is for music. All little things that can help to break the ‘must be in my had using it’ habit.Posted 1 week ago
I obviously haven’t fixed this or why would I be here? Things that have helped are, setting app timers so they turn off after a given time. Not using my phone in first 30 minutes of the day. Putting the phone out of eyeline, IE behind me so don’t spot it and pick it up while software is loading. Set phone to go grey after 9.30. Problem is we’re designed to be excited at seeing new things, so why not keep scrolling…Posted 1 week ago
#1 don’t allow phones in the bedroomPosted 1 week ago
#2 if you want to focus on something put the phone on silent and in a different room
#3 if you want a distraction try a book or something non phone based
#4 your phone has got some usage metrics and can set limits (Digital Wellbeing in Android settings) – use the limits if you need that level of control
Posted 1 week ago
As above set app time limits. Apple has a graph that tells you how much you’ve been on each one. Also, turn off notifications for them all, they are just a huge “LOOK AT ME!”
Best thing I did was to just delete the Facebook app. It’s all just bilge anyway.Posted 1 week ago
I found myself in the same situation. A few things that helped me are below all based off the digital wellbeing settings on my Samsung (same are available in iPhone settings as well).
App timers – I set what I felt was a very generous limit for social media apps and was amazed how quickly I burned through it. Found a good middle ground now and it makes me think twice about mindless scrolling.
Taking apps off home screen. Out of sight, out of mind.
Do not disturb/Bedtime mode – both of these set to come on from 8pm and off at 6am. Means that i don’t get notifications pop up or WhatsApp notifications from group chats etc. I have close family set to come straight through so I don’t have to worry about missing a call from elderly parents etc.
Not a perfect solution, but helped with my screen time.Posted 1 week ago
I have sort of been attacking this problem, not altogether successfully as you can see by me replying here.
I have put a dartboard on the wall of my home office, that now serves as the distraction through the work day. I’ve bought a few books and dip in to those in the evening, and I’ve removed the gambling and more obviously addictive apps from the phone too.Posted 1 week ago
Instagram’s pretty good, you should do that too.
Downloading it now mate, sounds really goodPosted 1 week ago
Almost everyone I know is the same. Not sure it’s possible to fight it effectively. 🙁Posted 1 week ago
Pretty sure it’s do with micro-dosing dopamine. What you need to do is replace the the tiny thrills you get from scrolling by speeding up at red lights and knocking over pints in flat roofed pubs.Posted 1 week ago
I do it when I’m supposed to be working a lot, but that’s because I’m bored shitless with work. So don’t be bored.Posted 1 week ago
Excellent post, OP. You are speaking for me as well. And while I know that some of the answers you have received on here have been tongue-in-cheek, the fact is that I think it IS a problem. I know that, prior to lock-down, I hadn’t read anything substantial for a long time. Then lockdown hit, and for some reason I was able to ignore my phone. (We actually started a family reading competition at the beginning of lockdown which really helped!) In any case, with no phone in hand, I was able to read and write in a way that I haven’t for years. But now that it’s all behind us, and people ise every app on my phone as a way to get a hold of me, it is back in my hand and I can’t seem to shake it. Oh, and the last time I read something substantial? Lockdown. 🙁Posted 1 week ago
I don’t take my phone in to the lounge or the bedroom anymore. Stops me using it unnecessarily. If i need to look something up, i need to get up and find it.Posted 1 week ago
I have 2 phones work and personal. I don’t put any social stuff on the work phone and so it has teams, outlook etc but nothing else. Its used for work stuff (and monitored so can’t spend hours on here).
Personal phone can be put down, turned off etc and I can not look at it all day.
Took the decision last year to exit Twitter and not really missed it. Culled depressing people on Facebook and rationalised Instagram.Posted 1 week ago
This was me a while ago. Still is a bit, but I’m working on it. Few tips:
Turn it off at night. Preferably a couple of hours before bed. Read a book.
Put it in a room you don’t go in first thing in a morning overnight (I use our office / study). That means the last couple of hours and first hour or so of every day are phone free.
When you’re watching something with your son, have a book to hand. I have a book on the go in half the rooms in the house.
Get a smart speaker so you can put on music without needing your phone.
Delete the worst apps (the only social media I have on mine is Instagram but I only really follow photographers, artists and skateboarders).
Set yourself a reading challenge for the year.
If the film is shit, turn it off and do something else.
Don’t use it in your son’s presence for anything non essential. Just don’t.
I’ll probably think of more in a bit.Posted 1 week ago
This thread is 100% me. I’ll add it to my favourites.Posted 1 week ago
Read this, available from Amazon:
Not only will it teach you how to change it’ll educate you as to the damage you are doing to yourself.Posted 1 week ago
After, what must be more than 10 years of utter dependence on the sodding things, I’m finally getting bored with it, so that helps.
Other than that, My Wife and I are taking some time to find decent TV we both like, we might be only swapping a smaller screen for a larger one, but at least we’re having a conversation about what we’re watching and not such in the infinite loop of watching complete drivel Insta reels, it wad the Insta Reels / YT shorts / Tiktoks that proved to be rock bottom for me, the sheer vapid, repetitive banality of them them really was the “what am I doing with my life” moment.
I’d happily leave it out of reach of an evening now, but we’ve got a teenager doing god knows what of an evening and often needs saving in some way, shape or form.Posted 1 week ago
Thanks for your replies, you’ve hardened my resolve to so something about it. It definitely deadens my work productivity. And I’m feeling guilty about my five year-old now.
I’ve found myself reaching for it as soon as there’s a few seconds of inactivity. It definitely affects my attention span which is bad in my line of work
A big change I’m looking forward to is my new job has a separate work phone so I can lock my personal phone away in a few weeks
Seems like I’m not alone, there’s a support group out there – as long as we’re looking at our phones 🙂Posted 1 week ago
A big change for me is when I separated from my wife. When we were together i think we both felt embarrassed about being sat in the lounge and on our phones, so we’d try and rein it in but we weren’t that successful. But she’d go to bed earlier than me and I’d be ‘catching up’ on my phone. Which meant we went to bed at different times which is never a good thing
Now we’ve separated and I live on my own now so its open season with the phone. Rock N roll
Despite it getting bad enough that I feel a drastic change is needed, I’ve never been so bad that I’d sit in a pub and restaurant and get my phone out. It always stays in my pocket when I’m out. The sight of a couple in a restaurant not talking with their phones out is about as sad as it gets. At least I’ve never plumbed those depthsPosted 1 week ago
Swap it for a ‘feature phone’. Buy a Kindle.
TBH, not taking it into the bedroom will be a start. Why do you need it in there? Alarm clocks cost pence. Small gains.Posted 1 week ago
I can’t comment on the work thing as it doesn’t apply that much to me
But tv if it’s something I really want to watch I put the phone in another room
But the big one is the kid stuff. Find things to do and watch with him, phone off or put in another room. There only young once. If your bored pay a stupid game with him.
My daughter made a great video about this. It’s a but student biased and ADHD focused. But it applies to all of us and has some weird solutionsPosted 1 week ago
Easiest suggestion is get a basic phone that doesn’t do any of that stuff. You can still call and text but no appsPosted 1 week ago
I could have written that first post, sounds exactly like me. Including the repetitive nature of all the useless things I end up staring at and sites I go to.
During the day it’s less of an an issue, I do still look at my phone fairly habitually but I can easily occupy my time with something else. I can put my phone in another room and leave it there.
But at night I go through phases of using it more and more. Wherever I put it in the house, I can’t stop the urge to go and fetch it. I’ve even taken to putting it in the car at night, which actually works, but isn’t ideal as I do occasionally get urgent messages in the early hours, crazy as that sounds!
For me it’s usually linked to stress, I use it to take my mind away from whatever I’m worried about. But I’m well aware that interrupting my own sleep patterns really affects me and makes the stress worse.Posted 1 week ago
give in to it boy, it’s like a tide.
get insta, loads of smiley attractive people on there ;o) some of them ride bikes too, whilst being attractive.Posted 1 week ago
Yes this is me aswell. I tried to go cold turkey & binned my smart phone a while ago. Didn’t last long mainly because I need WhatsApp for work and social life.
I waste hours a day 😐Posted 1 week ago
Similar to me too, you need to accept your an addict, a user.
Watch the Social Dilemma (it’s on NetFlix) and you’ll understand how the dealer’s got to you.
Try some rehab, cold turkey will hurt but hopefully you’ll come out of the other end with more meaning to your life.
Good luck. Let us know how you get on.Posted 1 week ago
No (permanent) answers yet, but happy to share my experience.
My name is P7eaven and I’m a ‘reading-and-watching-shit-on-mobile-devices’ junkie.
Am still trying to navigate/quantify how much of my passive-media addiction could be a result of (as yet undiagnosed, yet score almost maximum on self-tests) actual attention deficit disorder vs a result of the necessity for ‘dopamine detox’.
For me the addiction has (at least) a life-reducing effect as far as productivity and mindfulness go. Not to mention the drop-off of outdoor pursuits which I used to love. Not to mention my physical condition. Etc.
Someone mentioned books. I now somehow find it almost impossible to read a book, yet when younger I could read a book in almost one session.
I quit smoking after 38 years of it, so surely I can semi-quit youtube and STW. I went cold-turkey with nicotine yet feel that the internet is a far bigger challenge. Lock-box for mobile devices is surely akin to locking up a box of cigarettes or a bottle of whisky? OP you said it, we most of us need devices to function in work (and socially) so locking it up is worse even than a blunt-too, approach.
I find that Pinterest has a calming and focusing effect as it focuses on my brain-parts that enjoy making things/looking at pictures of things.
That is a very different exoerience for me to going on Twitter/forums/social media/youtube comments etc reading what people say about celebrities, memes, each other’s views on vaccines and such shite?
Same goes with watching (quality) restoration video channels such as ‘Mr Mechanic’. That helps me sleep and makes me think about productivity and organising myself.
But all the other stuff? Just say no?
You know, the discussing things/being argumentative on forums/comment threads. ie ‘there’s someone wrong on the internet’. Getting those brain-parts all fired up is definitely a bad addiction for me. As is (say) my reading reviews/about EDC/scrolling marketplace/obsessing over (say) SAKs* for weeks on end 🤤
*I should turn my insomniac EDC obsessions into productivity. At least then insomnia could be financially beneficial.
I watched this today and it was enlightening:
A decade ago I’d lived (almost) off-grid for a long time with defacto cold-water showers, manual labour and nothing to read except the odd book I’d pick up from a charity shop. It was a resoundingly-positive/transformative/rejuvenating experience. But since re-entering ‘civilisation’ I’ve seen rapid decline into even more insidious late-night/toilet-break/insomniac internet-addiction. Even when hanging out with Mrs P we sometimes both miss what we’re watching on iPlayer because we’re both browsing Quora/STW etc, wtaf? That would have been deal-breaking rudeness back in the 90s, right dad?
*bookmarked with extra-irony.Posted 1 week ago
I recognise a lot of that behaviour in myself, in particular the scrolling while sat with my kids watching tv. On reflection I do it a lot less if we’re watching something we all enjoy. Lots of kids tv is more engaging than paw patrol! I know it’s not the easiest circle to square but if you can find something you both enjoy the phone might stay away.Posted 1 week ago
there’s a support group out there – as long as we’re looking at our phones 🙂
Now there’s an idea for someonee. Put handwritten notices at key public places in the local area. phoneaholics anonymous
Setup a small (limited numbers, say 15-20?) local support-group/village hall/community night? Smartphones in lock-box at the door. Themed evenings, ie 70s nights, treasure hunt, burger and chips in a basket etc, wide/floor games. 80s nights – ie classic 80s movies on VHS (or DVD if unavailable) screenings on old TV, room lit by neon light. Giant bean bags. Cluedo night etc
-Art and craft activities/repair cafe
-Reading/quiet corner, books provided/brought
-‘Confession sessions’ re social media addiction
-visiting instructors/activities ie first-aid,
-Social media references
(*‘swear box’ needed, make a joke, time-out corner)
Anyone can leave at any time but you need to buy a button badge to join, and also pay subs for attendance.Posted 1 week ago
Hardly revelatory insights but might be useful if you haven’t done these already:
I get this after stints away with work where I’ve got SFA to do whilst on call except scroll.
I find I don’t need to lock my phone away 24/7 to break the cycle, just a few hours at a time does it.
Charge it downstairs overnight, go for a ride without it, go shopping without it.
Anything that breaks the 30s downtime, get the phone out, routine.Posted 1 week ago
This is definitely me & I need to cut down on it – it’s ridiculous.
I tend to put my phone on the bedside table as I use it for my alarm.
I tend to have lots of alarm options set-up & then just choose the one that I need.
I would happily stop bringing my phone into the bedroom if there was another alarm clock option that allowed me to set multiple alarm options & then turn them on & off as I need.
Does anyone know of any alarm clocks like that? I’ve seen the Lenovo Smart Clock & the Google Smart Hub 2 which will allow this, but both of them seem like overkill.Posted 1 week ago
if there was another alarm clock option that allowed me to set multiple alarm options & then turn them on & off as I need.
Does anyone know of any alarm clocks like that?
I have a G-Shock watch with something like 4 or 5 alarms on iirc.Posted 1 week ago
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.