How I Changed My Smartphone Obsession — For Good

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
The average person checks her phone 150 times per day. That’s…an interesting relationship to have in your life. It's also an interesting relationship that the humans in your life may not always appreciate. If you find yourself constantly seeking validation for your ego online, or annoying your S.O. because you’re constantly face down in your phone, it might be time for a digital detox.

As the co-founder of Wearable Experiments, I’m no stranger to this problem. Emails constantly nag to be answered. Notifications draw your focus away from what you are working on. But I have come up with a few ways to help me stay connected while also giving me time to get things done in the real world.

Here are five techniques I’ve used to change my relationship with my smartphone.

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Photo: Courtesy Checky.
Download A Phone-Checking App
You may not think you have a phone-checking problem until you see the actual numbers. I downloaded Checky (free on iOS and Android) to keep track of how many times a day I open up my phone. The number may surprise you.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.
Use Airplane Mode
I started using Airplane Mode during hectic business days about three years ago. It’s a habit I both love and hate. With Airplane Mode switched on, I am unreachable, so my attention is focused on doing the task at hand. However, I have missed some spectacular opportunities because of it.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.
Time Yourself
Less drastic: I tried timing myself while doing tasks instead. For example, I like to know how long I spend emailing. I make a conscious effort to email for only one or two hours in the morning and one or two hours in the afternoon. Every hour, I take a break and have a look to see if there is something important that needs an immediate response; otherwise, it has to wait until the evening email session.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.
Rethink Your Notification Preferences
If you want to stay in the present — feeling and knowing what is happening around you — it helps if you aren’t being interrupted by notifications left and right. What I first did to quiet the noise was delete social-media apps such as Facebook and Twitter…only to realize I still needed them. So, instead, I just turned off notifications for all but the most important apps.
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Photo: Courtesy Vinaya.
Get Help From A Wearable
I don’t like being dependent on my smartphone, so I decided to try the Altruis ring. It’s an elegant, $345 piece that delivers subtle vibration notifications. It can truly change the way you interact with your smartphone. Altruis aims to bring you back into the moment and helps to eliminate the distraction of your smartphone screen. I have my alerts on Altruis set only to emails, texts, and calls from my lawyer, co-founder, boyfriend, and mother.