How can you fight your own cell phone addiction and overcome smartphone dependency? Are you often preoccupied with your smartphone - and nervous when you haven't held it in your hands for a while? Have you already made several self-imposed attempts to limit your use - and are you still on your smartphone far too often? Are you trying to hide your frequent use from your partner - and is your cell phone even endangering your personal or professional life? Then you're probably addicted to it!
I was tired myself of constantly feeling the need to pull my phone out of my pocket just to... yes why actually? It just ended up costing me time and keeping me from dedicating myself to my personal and professional goals. In this article, I'd like to introduce you to 17 tips that will help you get your cell phone addiction under control!
17 tips against smartphone addiction
The smartphone usage behavior of 16,000 test subjects was studied at the university. The result? The cell phone is activated 53 times a day on average, and every 18 minutes another activity is interrupted that one was actually busy with.₁ The cell phone ensures that one can never fully devote oneself to a specific, usually much more important topic for a longer period of time. In short, smartphones are addictive, unproductive and unhappy.
It may be that your smartphone you currently in control - and not the other way around. Use the following tips to fight your potential cell phone addiction and regain control of your smartphone.
1. first observe and analyze when you reach for your smartphone
It's not your smartphone itself that gets you hooked - otherwise you might as well be addicted to a toaster. No, it is the content that your smartphone providesthat make you feel like you have to check every 18 minutes to see if there's any news.
So first find out in which situations you have the urge to activate your cell phone - and what activities you will undertake when the time comes. Only then can you actively and effectively fight your cell phone addiction.
For example, I was constantly reaching for my cell phone to read my WhatsApp messages, play games, or check the prices of my investments.
2. make the screen gray
The many colorful apps make the smartphone all the more interesting. Sounds good - but it creates an addiction to the rectangular part! A simple but logical countermeasure is therefore, simply change the screen color to gray tones. On the iPhone, for example, you can do this under the path "General/User Aids/Display Adjustments/Color Filter-Grayscale" - but I think that's possible on pretty much any phone.
Well, of course, you quickly feel the Temptation to simply switch back to colorbecause operating the smartphone with a gray screen is no longer as much fun. But that's exactly the point! A compromise suggestion for all who find this tip lousy: how about colored smartphone on the weekend - and gray smartphone during the week 😉.
3. remove the "problem apps
Since you are reading this post, there are surely one or the other app that will get you hooked. Be it an addictive game, a soccer app, or Instagram, Facebook, or WhatsApp. It may all be fun, sure. But the game only eats up your valuable time, the soccer app you can also open at a certain time instead of 50 times a day and the social media - yes, there too you can set a certain time to look in (preferably via the computer and not the cell phone).
You now know which apps make you addicted to your smartphone? Then remove them now if you're serious about fighting your smartphone addiction!
4. make it harder for you to reach for your smartphone
It's far too easy to quickly reach into your pocket. All the more often you pull out your smartphone. If you want to fight your cell phone addiction. make it difficult for yourself to access the device. You are in the living room? Then put it in the office. Or are you on the road? Then put it at the bottom of your backpack or in a hidden extra compartment of your handbag - and you'll be not feel the constant urge to check if something new has happened.
5. mute your smartphone
A new push message flashes - maybe your phone even vibrates. This arouses interest: I wonder what's new? It's exactly this interest that makes you addicted to your smartphone. So mute it and turn off all push notifications if you want to fight your cell phone addiction!
6. set times when you check emails and messages
The fact that news could "flutter in" at any time via email, WhatsApp, and push messages is addictive. If you want to fight your addiction to the smartphone, you have to set limits for yourself. For example, set that you check your messages once in the morning at 10 am and once in the evening at 5 pm for about 10 minutes. Your Contacts will figure it out over time and know when they can expect a response.
7. always have a watch in sight
"I'll just take a quick look at what time it is..." - yeah right - and on that occasion you see all the new push messages. Want to overcome cell phone addiction? Then rule out this self-staged "time trick" by always having a normal watch near you. Whether on the arm, on the wall - from me even a sundial or a cuckoo clock. The main thing is that you're not constantly reaching for your smartphone.
8. keep your hands busy
Many people reach for their cell phone automatically - usually when their hands have nothing better to do. So make sure you find alternative activities for your hands. For example, an anti-stress ballYou can knead and squeeze it until the impulse to quickly grab your smartphone is gone.
9. review and rate your chat history at
How many hours must have gone by to write unnecessary messages to friends, in which even nothing earth shattering happens is? Often, a quick phone call would have been enough to save you an hour. You don't believe that? Then go through your WhatsApp chat history to see what I mean.
You value your time, just like I do? Then just archive all inactive chat histories - this will make your chat histories clearer and reduce your "screen time" as you will have to search less. By the way, your chat histories are not lost.
10. ensure sufficient distance to the workplace!
You want Work more effectively in the home office and not be constantly distracted by your smartphone? Then put the smartphone at the other end of your office and not right next to your mouse. If you don't expect work-related calls, you can even put it somewhere else entirely.
11. use your cell phone only for the important things
A cell phone was originally there to be able to talk to others on the phone in important cases. Today's smartphone can do so many (mostly unnecessary) things that make us addicted to it. It is, so to speak, a telephone, entertainment medium, newspaper and camera all in one.
Be aware of when you really need it - and remove all incentives to pull it out of your pocket at other times.
12. remove your smartphone from the bedroom
It is not yet completely clear from a scientific point of view how much radio waves from the smartphone disturb our sleep at night... A bright screen in the dark but definitely causes sleep problems. I am also sure from my own experience that it causes headaches and eye pain. Therefore, make your bedroom a "cell phone free zone". In the morning, you just use a stinkin' alarm clock, instead of the alarm.
If you want to fight your addiction and in the future sleep better you should definitely implement these tips!
13. give your smartphone a complicated password
You can also make access to your phone and its contents more difficult by giving yourself complicated passwords for each application. It is even easier if a friend changes the password to the home screen for you. With good intentions, of course - that is, to help you fight your cell phone addiction.
14. use apps that help you fight addiction
I already told you that you should delete the problem apps that spark your addiction. However, there are some "problem solver apps" that you can install instead. They measure your usage behavior and sound the alarm as soon as you overdo it. In the best case, your smartphone will even be locked for a certain time. That sounds harsh, but it really is extremely effective.
The following apps against cell phone addiction are recommended:
- Quality-Time (shows awakening statistics about your actual usage behavior)
- Forest (a virtual tree that grows when you leave the smartphone on your left).
- OFFTIME (here you can for example name and block the problem apps with one click)
15. turn off your smartphone
At its core, a cell phone is for making calls. If you don't need to make calls - day or night - you can just turn it off altogether. This works extremely against your cell phone addiction, because you can't just quickly check if something new has happened - and thus break out of your habit. Try this Digital Detox even for several days or weeks - you will notice how much this simple measure reduces everyday stress.
16. don't buy the latest smartphone all the time
Is the new iPhone coming out again soon? If your old phone still works, you don't have to worry about it. You don't always have to have the latest expensive stuff, right? New versions just keep adding new features that make you even more dependent on your smartphone. Just take care of, appreciate and repair what's there. it's a good principle of consciousness, minimalist life.
17. talk to others about your fight against cell phone addiction
You want to fight your cell phone addiction? Then tell your family, partner or friends! Just say that your goal is to get off the smartphone. On the one hand, this makes your plan more binding - and on the other hand, it also ensures that those around you support you. If there are other "cell phone addicts" in your immediate vicinity, it's also worth organizing "digital detox challenges" against each other. For example, "Whoever can go longer without a smartphone gets a meal from the other person. Just be creative!
You are in control of your smartphone - and not the other way around!
You've gotten enough tips now, right? Just realize that your smartphone controls you - and how much it enriches your life when you reverse the roles. Isn't it just embarrassing that it's more important to you than your friends or your personal development? Anyway, you now have a handful of options to combat your cell phone addiction. Go for it!
I hope you can use the tips to use your smartphone only at absolutely necessary times in the future. Do you have any questions or suggestions? Then feel free to write me a comment.
PS: In my blog, I now also write much more about personal development, as this is directly related to the topic of sustainability. In one article, for example, I introduce you to the Habits of successful people I would have liked to have known earlier.
₁ A. Markowetz: How cell phones lead to "digital burnout" (as of Sept. 24, 2015), available at https://www.uni-bonn.de/neues/195-2015 [Jan. 17, 2021].