Entrepreneur, speaker, life-long learner

Addressing Addiction

Photo of a man looking at his cell phone

A few weeks ago I realized how addicted I’ve (re)become to my phone. I fought this battle a few years ago and improved a lot. But I went back to my old ways, with some slight variations. The main problem was the same though: I spent way too much time on my phone.

My initial plan was to downgrade from a “smart phone” to a “dumb phone.” But as I started to think about the ways I use my iPhone, I realized that wasn’t an ideal scenario. I do some pretty helpful and productive things with it. Things like:

  • listen to audio books
  • listen to podcasts
  • use Google Maps / Waze for traffic reports during my daily work commute
  • listen to music
  • record reminders throughout the day
  • on-the-go Bible access
  • capturing photos and videos
  • a few other helpful things

So downgrading to a “dumb phone” didn’t seem like a good idea. That’s when I realized that my addiction wasn’t necessarily to my phone. It was to specific apps.

I decided it was time for me to remove a few key apps from my phone. It started with Facebook and Twitter. Then went to my work Email account and Slack.

These changes alone have been huge for me. Really huge. And I’m stoked about this change. That’s why I’ve decided that rather than downgrading to a “dump phone,” I’ve upgraded to a “wise phone.”

Do Not Disturb

One other change I made, before I realized how addicted I’d become to certain apps, was to start using the phone’s “Do Not Disturb” mode pretty regularly. If you haven’t used it before, you basically swipe up on your iPhone (no clue how this works on other phones) and tap the moon icon which toggles the mode.

This. Mode. Rocks.

No text messages pop up. No other app notifications (though I’ve already disabled almost all notifications on my phone). But alarms still go off. Timers still go off. And phone calls from people on your VIP list still come through. (You can customize how this mode really works in the Settings of the phone.)

But this got me thinking a little. If the mode is “Do Not Disturb” and that’s the mode I want my phone in most often, does that mean the default mode of the phone is “Disturb Me”?

Thinking about owning a device where the default mode is “Disturb Me” makes me rethink how I use it. I mean—I really don’t want to be disturbed…almost ever.

So I made some changes to my phone and my use of it. I figured I’d summarize them and challenge you to consider reviewing your phone setup and use.

My current phone setup:

  • I updated my dock to only have 2 apps
  • My first page of apps only has 4 apps on it that I want most of my phone use to be centered around
  • I uninstalled Facebook, Twitter, and Slack
  • I removed my work email account
  • I turned off notifications for the majority of my apps
  • I liberally use Do Not Disturb mode throughout the day, every day

You probably aren’t addicted like I was. (Or are you?) But this might help regardless.

Hit me up if you have related thoughts you'd like to share. Or if this helps in some way. I'd love to hear from you.

Published on January 3, 2017