A study commissioned by Nokia shows we check our mobile phones on average every six and a half minutes. In a standard 16 hour day, that’s 150 times, way more than the number of messages and calls the average socialite gets.
A study by Tecmark in the UK estimates this number to be even greater, at 221 times per day.
We can all agree this sort of over-use is anti-social, unhealthy and needs to be trimmed. We need to look up and engage with what’s going on around us, use the emoticons we have on our faces and taste some real candy instead of the sweet stuff getting virtually crushed on our screens.
It’s going to be hard, breaking bad habits always is, but with a few pointers, hopefully we can all spend a little less time looking at our pocket-PCs.
Start wearing a watch.
Mobile consultant Tomi Ahonen, who analysed the Nokia study, estimates people check the time on their phone 18 times a day. And, inevitably, this leads to more time spent on the screen.
Because when you fetch your phone to check the time, there’s often another distraction waiting there, blinking away, demanding attention. So you unlock the screen and tune out of the world around you.
The solution? Wear a watch.
Set up a phone-free zone.
If your phone is always within reach, it’s hard to not to give it some close attention every time it bumps, grinds and groans.
But by being so attentive, you set expectations for your friends and colleagues that they will always get an instant reply.
This self-inflicted pressure can quickly become exhausting, and with 1,000 alerts, messages and notifications jostling for your attention it can be difficult to focus on things that are actually important.
So break those shackles before they break your life and set up a phone free zone, be it your bedroom, lounge, home office or exercise arena. It’ll ease those expectations and suppress the stress that comes with them.
Delete social apps.
There’s a good chance the blue room of Facebook, the yellow glow of Snapchat and the brown frame of Instagram gobble up more time than any other app in your pocket.
And this is probably the hardest habit to break. So unless you’re iron-willed or have become so anti-social that your apps don’t even get a run anymore, it could be worth taking the admittedly extreme step of deleting these apps.
If you’re wondering whether you need to do any of these things, try counting your screen checks for a day. Let us know how you go.
Image: Don Harder, via Flickr