I will be the first to admit, I use my phone too much. As of right now, I use my phone almost 6 hours each day. That’s bad. My eyes feel strained, my head hurts and my overall health is just more tired. I need a course correction. It’s time to stop scrolling. 

It can be easy to disconnect from the outside world while scrolling. Most times, I find myself not even looking at the content I’m consuming, rather just staring blankly down at my phone. It’s boring, but I cannot get off the phone. And when I manage to, it’s too easy to snap back into the zone. After reading dozens of articles, I have planned to follow three easy steps to stop wasting so much of my time on a screen. It’s not helpful to delete all social media, at least for me. I get campus and organization updates from different platforms. The real challenge is knowing my limits and following my rules. 

My first rule is to answer my texts the minute I see them. I really struggle to remember to answer my texts. 

Usually, I’ll see the notification, then I’ll open my phone to check another app. I try to remember to answer the text, but I always forget. 

This is a real problem, as at the end of the day, I have at least 15 texts from people about something I needed to do, a plan I needed to make, or just a general question I needed to answer or ask. 

It can get overwhelming, and I always feel guilty after I stay unresponsive to people. The best solution to this is to just respond automatically and avoid getting distracted. 

After I get on my phone to scroll when I should be looking at a text or message, I get trapped into the zone. 

As I mentioned before, it can be hard to look up from my screen because I zone out so much. It’s only when I remember something that I finally get off my phone. The zone, or more technically called disassociation, is dangerous for a lot of reasons. 

Psychologist describe it as feeling detached from oneself. It can lead to damaged vision, headaches and fatigue. 

Mentally, though, individuals who disassociate frequently are found to have increased anxiety and depression. Making friends can be harder, and the more you disassociate, the more it becomes a habit. Putting down the phone and going outside, straightening my space, and focusing on my work can really help me get out of this habit. 

Finally, the best habit to start when detoxing from a device is to put it away an hour before bed and hour after you wake up. Getting ready to go to sleep, reading a few pages of a book and stretching are an easy way to decompress from the day. All these activities can be done without a phone. 

After waking up, instead of checking any updates, I am going to start to get ready for my day without listening to music or a podcast. Silence helps to prepare the mind for the next stage of the day. Setting the phone on charge away from the bed and waking up at the first alarm starts and ends the day in a positive space. It truly can help. 

We are so lucky to live in a time of instant communication, but sometimes, our phones can be the downfall of our good habits. 

By creating phone priorities, putting the phone down when I need to, and starting and stopping the day without a screen, I can easily take back the time wasted on my device.

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