Tech giants are pouring MILLIONS into making their devices, apps, and platforms as addictive as possible.
Welcome to the attention economy. Think you’re the consumer? Think again. You’re the product they’re really selling.
So what this means? They’ve largely hacked your biology and they know what makes you click, swipe, and ultimately purchase. There is billions of dollars in revenue at risk from these players and they want to make sure you’re hooked and coming back for more.
The question then remains - what can you do to limit screentime?
#1 The best way to stay off your phone is by physically removing it from sight.
Physically separate yourself from your device. You can override apps. You can always turn back on your device (if powered off). The stimulus of a phone being physically present triggers an action (use). A squirt of dopamine is released in your brain and that’s how you’re hooked and always coming back for more.
So the question then becomes, how do you break this feedback loop? Keep your phone away. In another room, a closet, a drawer, or… (shameless self-promotion here) get a pombox or some other device to physically lock up your device. This alone will reduce screentime by 50%+.
#2 Keep a rubber band around your smartphone.
Almost too simple, but it works. It’s just irritating enough to prevent you from using your device in a wanton fashion. Most apps that thrive on the endless scroll feature (think FB, IG, Twitter) suddenly become too cumbersome to bear.
Try it. It’s a pain but who said cutting an addiction was easy.
3. Have A 3/2/1 Cell Phone Rule.
Allow yourself 3 days each week (Sat, Tues, Fri) of certain apps that are most problematic (social sites, dating apps, etc.) where most of your time is spent. Do not have the apps installed on the other 4 days.
During those 3 days, indulge for 2 hours of use. The rest of the time you completely delete the apps.
And because we’re human and our willpower is usually terrible - allow for 1 cheat day.
Success in culling your smartphone addiction is because you made a commitment to take (or not take) an action every single day, even when it’s hard, sucks, and looks like nothing will come of it.
My best wishes to digitally minimal life.