We love our phones. They do a lot of amazing things for us. Yet, there’s a difference between using our phones as tools and developing mindless habits of phone use. Unfortunately, the temptations of technology tend to take us away from what’s going on in our life, sticking us into the world of infinitely scrolling screens.
It seems like there’s always something happening on a screen, and so it’s very easy for our attentions to get drawn to them. Real life is happening all around us! If we’re stuck with our heads down in our phones all day, there’s not much life that we’re living.
If you find yourself lost in your devices, you could simply will yourself to not look at your phone when you’re bored. But that doesn’t always work.
You might need a Mindful Phone Screen.
Mindfulness is simply about being present. This blog post will give you concrete tips on how to be present when using your phone, so you take control of your technology, not the other way around.
Tip 1: Create Space 🌎
Having more space physically, mentally, and visually, can create a life where you find focus easier and discover calm in your days. When there’s more space, it’s easier to move through your life intentionally, being thoughtful about your actions in that moment.
For example, in a clean room without clutter, you see things in the room and what they are used for. In a cluttered room, you’ll find yourself more easily distracted, picking up things at random, because there’s so much in such little space.
If you create space for yourself on your phone like you do in the real world, you’ll be more thoughtful in using your phone.
Make the first screen you see when you unlock your phone a screen without many apps cluttering your view. Seeing a nearly blank screen when you unlock your phone allows you to pause and help your brain slow down. You’ll find yourself asking: “What did I open up my phone for? Where am I going with this?”
Tip 2: Use Folders 🗂
Speaking of de-cluttering, one good way to organize yourself is by organizing your apps into folders. These folders create groups of apps that are generally used together or in similar circumstances. For example, my finance related apps are all in one folder, as are my apps that I use daily for work.
I like folders because I know which one to open up when I need to do something specific on my phone. Simultaneously, putting time wasting apps in another folder and making sure that is less accessible is also a useful exercise. When you want to take a break and scroll a bit on social media, or play a game, you can very intentionally choose to open that app.
Tip 3: Track your Tech📏
Keeping track of your technology use is a surefire way to stay mindful about how you use your devices.
You might be surprised with what you’re using your phone for and for how long you’re using it.
Both iOS and Android have digital wellness tools available to use to keep track of your app use. Look at your usage trends over time, and even set timers so that your time spent on certain time wasting apps are restricted.
If you want more information for your platform, check them out here:
For iPhones 🍎
Set screen time, allowances, and limits on iPhone
In Settings on iPhone, set allowances and limits on screen time, app use, and content ratings.
For Android 🤖
Digital Wellbeing through technology | Google
Google believes technology should play a helpful role in people's lives, and we're committed to helping everyone find a…
Tip 4: Combat Muscle Memory 💪
After a while, you’ll realize that you reach back to the same folder again and again to distract yourself. You’ll even subconsciously memorize where that folder is located. The next thing you know, you’re mindlessly opening your phone and your favorite distraction is on your screen because you have muscle memory associated with opening that up.
Every so often, consider moving your folders and apps around so that you have to think before you open them. This is especially true for apps that you feel like you’re spending too much time on. If your brain has to take the effort to search for that time wasting app, you might find yourself waking up and resisting the urge to click on it.
Tip 5: Get a provocative wallpaper 🖼
I’ve recently enjoyed having a wallpaper that has a message to bring me back to the present moment, one that reminds me that my phone is just a phone, and that I should use it for specific purposes, not simply because I’m bored.
These methods aren’t silver bullets. They’re merely tips to give you some ideas.
To really find a difference in your phone use in life, you’ll need to want to make that difference in yourself.
Technology has so many things that are awesome and useful. When used mindfully, with intention, technology is incredibly powerful and expands your ability to get things done.
Yet, it’s become a crutch for us, filling in moments of life that could be spent in quiet contemplation or rich conversation.
Remember, technology should work for you, not the other way around.