onto the bright screen, looking stressed.
Can’t seem to put down your phone, even when you’re exhausted? You aren’t alone.

10 Ways To Break Your Smartphone Addiction


By Mia Bencivenga


May 19, 2021

Smartphones can be amazing tools — but they also come with some serious downsides.

Having constant access to apps and the internet can make us distracted, less productive, and harder to connect with. 

If you feel like your smartphone usage is negatively impacting your life, but you just can’t seem to put it down, you aren’t alone. But there are ways to curb your smartphone addiction and take back your time! 

Here are a few tips to help you get started: 

1 ] Think about how being on your phone makes you feel
Not sure if your smartphone usage is really a problem? Consider how you feel after spending an hour on your smartphone.

Do you feel tired or anxious? Is your neck stiff? Noticing how your phone negatively impacts your well-being will give you the motivation you need to cut back on your smartphone habit

2 ] Check your screen time
Seeing how much time you spend on your phone can be a real wake-up call. The average adult spends about 3 hours on their phone. View your screen time usage on your phone to set goals and check on your progress.

3 ] Turn off your unnecessary notifications
Do you really need to be notified every time someone likes your picture on Instagram? If your gut reaction is “yes” that’s because apps like Instagram work ridiculously hard at getting you to use them as much as possible. Turning off all unessential notifications will be a huge help in using your phone less.

4 ] Delete as many apps as possible
For many people, the best way to stop using their phone is to stop procrastination at its source: apps. The fewer apps you have on your phone, the less inclined you’ll be to use it.

5 ] Make use of the Do Not Disturb feature
One thing smartphones are great at is erasing boundaries! Making a habit of being constantly available is setting yourself out for burnout. Even doing small things, like putting your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode when eating lunch or winding down for the evening can make a big difference.

6 ] Go without your phone for minutes at a time
Even after deleting a bunch of apps and stopping notifications, you’ll still find your hand aimlessly wandering towards your phone. That’s not surprising when you consider that the average adult checks their phones 58 times a day. Start breaking the habit by putting a timer on your phone for 15 minutes. You’ll be surprised at how many times you’ll unconsciously grab your phone — but by becoming aware of it, and gradually increasing your timer, you’ll be able to go even as long as an hour without checking your phone. 


7 ] Set aside some phone-free time
Whether you want a more peaceful morning or need help unwinding before bed, setting some phone-free time is a great way to start creating healthy habits. A good rule of thumb is no phone time until the workday begins, and to not use your phone for at least an hour before bed so you can properly wind down.

8 ] Keep your phone out of arms reach
Consider creating a “phone station” where your phone sits that’s a short distance away from where you work. That way you’ll still be in earshot when someone calls, but you won’t be as tempted to aimlessly scroll when you feel like procrastinating. 

9 } Stay entertained without your phone
Love your ebooks? Dust off that old kindle! Want to play a game? There’s probably a deck of cards or a long-forgotten board game stashed somewhere! Remember that being bored isn’t a bad thing, and in fact, can be a great pathway to creativity, hobbies, and interests.

10 ] When you have to use your smartphone, be intentional
For so many of us, using our phones is almost like having a pacifier. Bored? Scroll on your phone. Stressed? Scroll on your phone. Is it actually helping you? Nope. But it is distracting you.

Rather than engaging with your smartphone as a habit, go on your phone with a purpose. Even if that purpose is “I want to look at pretty pictures for 15 minutes to de-stress.” Just having an intention, and a time frame can be a helpful way of curbing your smartphone usage — and making it into something you can enjoy again. 

11 ] Don’t be hard on yourself
Your phone and the apps along with it were designed to make you want to use them all the time. It’s not our fault they’re so addictive! If you slide back into using your phone a lot, that’s completely understandable. Just be mindful, and stay at it, and you’ll be surprised with how much time and energy you’ll reclaim. 


Mia Bencivenga is a regular columnist with The Green Voice Weekly Newsletter.