I recently wrote about giving up my smartphone and how this has really helped me cut down on the amount of time I spend (and waste!) online.
Lots of people have told me it is something they too have thought about doing, but they just aren’t quite “ready” for such a big leap! So, here are a few things you can try instead to start cutting down on your smartphone and internet use…
1 – Decide on Some ‘Internet-Free’ Times
When I first started cutting down, it was really important to me that I didn’t feel like I “couldn’t” or “wasn’t allowed” to go on the internet, because that’s the digital equivalent of going on a diet, and we know how I feel about those!
So, instead, I set internet-free times during the day, for example at meal times, during ‘working hours’ and at bedtime…
2 – No Phone at Bedtime
Spending lots of time on our phones is problematic enough, but when this is done in bed, right before sleeping, or even worse, during the night, it becomes incredibly disruptive to our sleep – something that is vitally important for our health.
Thankfully I never actually got into the habit of using my phone in bed. I always left it on a dresser on the opposite side of the bedroom before getting into bed (having to physically get up to turn off the alarm in the morning was actually really helpful in waking me up!).
I also turned off my data and wifi at nighttime so my phone wasn’t connected to the internet and no notifications would be pinging during the night! The fact is there is nothing THAT important that it should be waking you during the night. Unless there is an emergency of course, in which case the person who needs you will not be sending you an email or Facebook message! They will phone you!!
3 – Review Your ‘Friends’ List
Ok, time to be really honest with yourself. Of all the “friends” you have on Facebook or other social media platforms, how many of them would you actually stop and talk to if you passed them in the street?
I looked at my Facebook friends list and there were quite a few people there that I hadn’t spoken to in years and, as harsh as it may sound, I had to admit that I didn’t really genuinely care about what they were doing, and especially not about what they were liking or commenting on. Honestly, I think I was just being nosy.
Try to review your friends lists on social media and unfriend or simply unfollow the ones that you couldn’t honestly call your “friends”.
4 – Review Your ‘Likes’/Pages You Follow
There is a booming nutrition and health industry and I fell into the trap of liking and following EVERY SINGLE health related page I came across. It was too much!
I was also following every news site, gossip site, wedding site from when I got married years ago, airlines, random hotels, brands, etc, etc, etc! It meant that no matter how much scrolling I did, I would never reach the ‘end’ of my news feed.
So I took a piece of paper and tried to write a list of the Pages that I truly got value from. The ones whose posts I looked forward to seeing, that taught me something, the ones whose videos I would actually watch and whose links I would actually click on. I could genuinely only think of a handful of pages and it showed me that I didn’t really get anything from the vast majority of pages and posts that filled my news feed and kept me scrolling.
So unfollow or unlike those pages that you don’t actually engage with or get value from (…fingers crossed I haven’t just lost all my followers!!)
5 – Remove Notifications (or better yet remove the Apps!)
This is a good first step towards quitting your smartphone. Because it’s all well and good setting internet-free time, but if your phone is there beside you, pinging constantly, sometimes willpower is just not enough to keep you off it!
So at the very least, change the settings on your apps so that you don’t get notifications. Because, let’s face it, how many times has one single notification been the thing that sucked you into what turned out to be an hour of mindless scrolling!?
Better yet, try removing social media apps from your phone, making them harder to access.
So, there you go, a few tips for getting you started on cutting down on your internet time. I hope you’ve found them helpful!