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You and Your Cell Phone: 4 Ways to Cut the Cord

On average, Americans are spending 177 minutes per day on their mobile devices. That’s nearly three hours! Factor in all the things we need to get done in a 24-hour period, and that’s a serious chunk of our awake time.

But, it’s not like there’s anything wrong with spending that much time with your eyes glued to a screen the size of a pop-tart, right? Well, not to be all doom and gloom, but all that time you spend checking, texting, posting and scrolling may be negatively affecting everything from your sleep to your creativity.

If you’re thinking you might benefit from a little mobile detox but aren’t sure where to begin, we’ve got a few suggestions.

Give Yourself a Curfew

Take the whole “lights out” concept and apply it to that persistent, little glow of your smartphone. Maybe you power down the minute you walk through your door after work, or maybe it’s right before dinner. Choose a time that’s challenging but realistic and stick to it. If you currently sleep with your phone under your pillow, 5:30 PM is probably a stretch.

Cut the Cord

Instead of focusing on the device itself, focus on the charge. Give yourself one full charge per day (or every other day for the overachievers) and no more. You’ll be forced to ration your juice. By occasionally powering down or switching to airplane mode, you’ll likely reduce excessive email and social media checking.

Use a Monitoring App

Both Moment and BreakFree will track the amount of time you’re spending on your phone. The data may surprise you, especially if you think you’ve got a handle on your mobile phone usage. Use these apps to set benchmarks and track your progress.

Join a Challenge

This January, New Tech City launched the “Bored and Brilliant” project that’s designed to celebrate and rejuvenate the “lost art of spacing out.” If you sign up (it’s free) you’ll receive six days of challenges, all of which provide guidelines for how to use the time you’d normally spend on your phone. If this kind of challenge doesn’t work for you, why not hold a little competition with your friends or coworkers? Whoever spends the least amount of time on their phone for one week gets treated to dinner or drinks. You can even track each person’s usage with one of the handy monitoring apps we already mentioned.

If you’re fairly certain your device usage hasn’t reached problematic levels, you may be right (or you may be in denial). Why not try one of these suggestions for a week? C’mon you can do anything for seven days! Maybe you’ll go a little bonkers. But maybe you’ll find yourself well-rested and buzzing with creative ideas!

Is your mobile phone usage above or below the national average? Would you ever try one of these methods for reducing it?