Q: "Hey girl, I need your help. I can not get off my phone. It’s so addicting and I can’t stop. It’s getting in the way of school, family, and friends and I really want to quit but I feel like it’s impossible. I feel like a lot of us can relate to this with all this covid stuff. Do you have any tips?" - Anonymous
A: Great question… If only I knew the answer. Recently, I have felt myself becoming highly aware of my phone and distracted by it. This sort of feels like a silly post, right? This is an easy question that we all know the answer to: PUT. THE. PHONE. AWAY.
But apparently, it’s not that easy. Here are a few tips:
I could just fully shut off my phone but for some reason, I prefer putting it on airplane mode so I don’t receive any notifications and chucking it across the room. That’s my go to. You have to physically separate yourself. Throw the phone in another room and just don’t even let the mere presence of your phone taunt you.
A big reason I am so distracted by my phone is that I am the sort of person that thinks about 100,000 things at once. I can’t keep my mind from wandering. The second I start doing homework or need to focus, something comes to mind that I just want to check or look at really quickly. What I’ve started doing is keeping a little list of all the things that are gnawing at me (something on Instagram, the weather, writing an email, calling a friend, etc). I’ll write each one down on a sticky note so then I’ll have a list of everything that I wanted to look up after I’m done with my homework.
Designate a time in your schedule for mindlessly scrolling. I’ve been getting on social media, mostly TikTok, right before bed recently, and I know it’s not good for me. It may be nice to do your little social media scrolling right before or after your daily shower instead of right before bed. Sadly, looking at the way other people romanticize their lives is quite addicting, but oddly calming. Remember that this kind of scrolling can cause you to spiral down a rabbit hole. Really stick to the time you set for yourself to scroll and don’t go beyond that. You have to create a trusting relationship with yourself where you stick to your word and have the maturity to be able to cut yourself off… if you can’t stay true to yourself then you can’t stay true to others.
On that note, consider deleting the main social media platform that is draining your time and attention the most. The whole deleting an app thing can’t really be used for ‘mental health’ reasons in my personal experience because the second I reopen the app I’m sucked back into my old patterns. HOWEVER, it is a good tactic if you just need more time. Let’s say you have a busy few weeks with tests and assignments - log-off snap for a bit. Think of it as a means of giving your FOMO and insecurities a little break and also preventing some procrastination. Maybe you’ll be more disciplined than me and actually apply some healthy time limits and habits for yourself after this break.
At the end of the day, technology is a challenging force with which to battle. I’ll be researching something and the 5 dresses I just looked at on Princess Polly will pop up as ads enticing me to click and get distracted again. In this day in age, we are fighting against so much temptation… I really don’t blame you for having trouble focusing and am honestly so glad that you realize this is a problem and want to do something about it. Try taking some small steps to mitigate your screen time in the beginning and see how it goes.
We got this,