Phones are how we live these days. And, let’s be honest, they are great, helpful tools for daily life. However, it is so easy to get addicted to your phone.
One thing I did not expect to struggle with as a mom is time on my phone. It’s a weird transition to go from working outside the home full-time to being a mom inside the home full-time. You have so many things to do, but at the same time so much more down-time: nursing, resting, playing with your child, etc. So managing my time on my phone was a struggle and I got rather addicted to being on my phone all the time.
Now, like I said, I do think that phones are great tools (I’m actually sitting here writing this post on my phone), but too much of a good thing is bad. But I was using my phone way too much. I looked at how much time I spent on my phone during the week and I was floored. I’m embarrassed to share it, but I had spent around 4 hours everyday on my phone. Which comes to a whopping 28 hours in one week.
Wow, I needed to change that! That was one whole day of my week just spent on my phone. The phone had taken first spot.
Why It is Important
And that’s really why I wanted to share this information. I had made my phone, and what I could do on it, the most important thing in my life. It was what I relied on to get through the day and what I searched for when I was wanting. That is not how a Christian should live!
God has given us everything we need for life and godliness in HIM (2 Peter 1:3). We do not need a phone (or anything else for that matter) in order to get through life. We are to find our worth and our hope in Christ and His work on the cross (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). He is really the only one that can satisfy us and all of God’s promises come to fruition in Him (2 Corinthians 1:20). How we use our time is important and I was not using my time wisely. God has called us to do everything for His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). That includes time spent on our phones.
I determined to break this habit and use my phone less. I wanted to be more present with my daughter, I wanted to pray more, I didn’t want to be glued to my phone or feel like I couldn’t live without it.
Maybe you feel like you’re on your phone to much right now, I want to help you out. Here are my 5 tips to help manage your phone time.
1. Assess Your Habits
Go to your settings and see which apps you are spending the most time on. I was surprised to see how much time I spent on some apps, but others were no surprise. Take mental note of the ones that you spend most of the time on. No doubt social media ranks pretty high, keep reading for that. But assess where you need to cut back and make a plan to do so.
Social Media Detox
I’m sure you can guess what took up so much of my time on my phone, scrolling through the endless black hole of social media. It’s so easy to get sucked in. You just don’t want to miss out on anything so you keep scrolling and scrolling.
So the first step I suggest is to detox from social media. I recommend suspending your social media accounts for one month. You don’t need to totally delete them, but removing them temporarily makes it harder for you to log back in. I felt like I had to really cut back on social media, so I actually took down both my Facebook and Instagram pages and removed those apps from my phone.
That one month of what I’m calling detox was difficult. I thought I couldn’t live without social media! I remember plenty of times where I would start to login to social media just on my web browser because I was so desperate.
But after the month was over, I got back on my pages and realized how silly that thought was. I hadn’t missed anything, sure maybe a long-time friend had a baby or got married, but all my close relationships were not affected at all by not seeing someone’s picture on Instagram.
Now that I’ve detoxed, I still like to remind myself that I can live without being on my phone. So, I have started staying off social media every Sunday. I just need that one day of the week to reset and focus. And, it’s usually a busy day anyway so there are plenty of ways to fill my time without staring at my phone screen.
2. Turn On the Sound
This may sound (no pun intended) counterintuitive, but I’ve found that when I keep my phone on silent, I always want to check if I have notifications. Then, when I check my phone, I end up opening other apps and scrolling, googling something, or pulling up Youtube.
So, now I keep the sound on as much as possible. That way I know when I get a notification and if I need to look at my phone or not. I also set specific notification sounds for different people or apps. For example, my husband’s texts have a specific notification sound so that I know it’s him texting me. More on notifications…
3. Limit Notifications
Do NOT let every app send you notifications. Obviously, please leave the notifications on for important applications like phone calls, texts, emails, etc. But I get very few notifications outside of phone calls and texts and I find that it helps me stay off my phone longer.
I realized, too, that I always check certain apps everyday anyway, like Gmail or Facebook Messenger. So, there was no need to have the notifications sent to me when I was going to look at it everyday on my own. Most things in those apps are not time-sensitive for me.
So go through your apps and see which ones you can turn off the notifications for, then do so. After I did this, I also found that I had some apps which I didn’t use much at all, so I deleted them.
4. Use Clocks and/or A Watch
One reason I pick up my phone often is to look at the time. Then, again, I would find myself opening other apps to just check what’s going on. One way to avoid this is to keep clocks on the walls in your home. Try to have one in every room and make sure they’re visible from lots of angles. Also, try wearing a watch on your wrist. That would also help you know what time it is instead of picking up your phone.
I have an Echo dot, and I have also started asking Alexa what time it is instead of always picking up my phone to check. Maybe that’s lazy, but it’s another way to not have to pick up my phone!
5. Replace Phone Time with Prayer/Scripture
When you take out an activity that you are so used to, it helps to replace it with something else. And for me, this meant that when I took out using my phone most of the day, I needed to replace it with something else. So, I’ve focused on memorizing Scripture and praying during times where I would usually just be on my phone.
For example, I was always on my phone while I nursed my daughter. So now instead of being on my phone, I take that time to pray for my daughter.
When I do have a free minute, I’ve also started to recite Scripture I’ve memorized instead of immediately picking up my phone. I feel like this tip helps me a lot. It reminds me of what is really important instead of just looking through things on my phone.
Like I said before, phones are great tools. And even social media is a great tool and great for long-distance relationships. But they both can become a problem when you make them most important in your life. I hope these tips help you to focus on our King instead of our screens.
So how do you use your phone? And do you use it too much? I’d love to hear your experience!