Three ways to calmly step away from your smartphone

Easing your smartphone addiction doesn't require turning it off, but some gradual steps back.

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Do the smartphone stack

Study after study has shown that sticking to your resolutions and keeping yourself in good order is easier when your respected friends are part of the equation. So making the “smartphone stack” part of your meal routine is a rather effective way of easing you into the idea of living without your phone by your side. It’s a simple concept: when you arrive at the table to eat (or meet, or work, or whatever you’re doing with others), stack your smartphone and others’ somewhere on the table. You can leave your ringers and vibration buzzes on, and that in fact makes the point stronger that if you pick up your phone, you’re paying for the meal, or buying coffee, or whatnot.

Turn on a serious security lock

This is a good idea for anyone with a phone that has access to their important personal data. But for those finding themselves reading their phone as they cross the street, this can be a decent self-check routine.

Enable a PIN number on your screen that requires you to type in a few digits before you can get to your screen. Make it five or more digits, and change it every week or so (making a calendar appointment helps). By requiring you to think about what your passcode is, type it in, and hit “OK,’ you’ll be putting at least a momentary block on your distraction machine, making you consider whether it’s worth the hassle to check your Twitter replies. If it gets too annoying, and you’re on an Android phone, you have Unlock with Wi-Fi to rely on when you’re at home or other frequented spots.


What tricks and tips do you use to prevent yourself from distracting yourself too often with your smartphone? I’d be happy to add an item or two to this list if you drop them in the comments.

Photo by Phil Roeder.

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