Cell phones.  Everywhere I go, people are on them.  They are so useful, like mini computers in your pocket.  I'm not saying I hate them and we should all quit using them.  No way!  For my small business alone, my iPhone has been an amazing tool, giving me so much freedom to work from anywhere in the world (check out 19 reasons why every minimalist needs an iPhone).  What's shocking, though, is how I see more and more people addicted to it.  Not only when sitting somewhere on their own, but when they are with friends, family and co-workers around.  Instead of spending time truly focused on the person in front of us, we are looking down at the screens in our hands.  We are trading in face-to-face for virtual.

Over the past year, I have really been convicted of how guilty I have been of this and have tried my best to make positive steps towards using my iPhone to help me, without letting it hurt me.  If you notice that you get on your phone while with someone, you might want to take some steps toward getting that under control.  Here are some things that I have tried that have worked for me:

1.  PUT IT AWAY.  Think about how you feel when you are with someone and they keep looking at their phone, checking notifications or texting other people.  I know it makes me feel like they really aren't listening to what I am saying and maybe don't even really want to spend time with me.  Don't be that person!  When you are spending time with someone, put your phone away somewhere it won't be a distraction.  Leave it in your purse or set it down somewhere else in the room, out of hands reach.  Be present.  Keep eye contact.  Really listen.  Talk to the person who is sitting right in front of you.

2.  WEAR A WATCH.  I've heard people say that they need their cell with them to check the time, but a watch would work too!  When you look down at your watch, your friend, family or co-worker won't think that you more interested in a text (or social media) than them.  Plus, there are so many cute watches out there that can add interest to your outfit!  Win win.  I know that I am a big fan of Fossil watches.  How about you?  Is there a brand of watch that you'd love to own?

3.  USE AN ALARM CLOCK.  Same as a watch, you should buy an alarm clock for your bedroom.  Your cell should never be in your bedroom.  Not only because it cuts into cuddle time (wink wink), but because it cuts into your sleep!  Although you may fall asleep, you are subconsciously listening for your phone and may be woken up to vibrations or light during the night.  I know that used to happen to me before I quit taking my phone to bed.  You'll rest much better if you keep your cell out of your bedroom.  Believe me, I have!  Since 2015, I haven't taken my cell phone to bed with me and it's been a really good decision all around.

4.  TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS.  I believe that one of the main reasons that people are on their phones so much now is because it's an addiction.  Each time you hear a ding, feel a vibration or see something pop up, you get excited that something important has happened.  You simply have to check to see what's new.  Kick that habit by turning off your notifications and maybe even consider keeping your phone on silent.

Family cruises are my favorite because none of our cell phones work!
5.  DELTE APPS.  In addition to notifications, you might want to consider deleting some apps.  If you find that you can't stop checking FaceBook, maybe it's time to delete it off your phone and simply check it from your computer.  Do you have other apps that you can't seem to stop checking?  Be honest with yourself and think about what you may need to clear off your phone.  Don't get me wrong, apps are super useful, but not if you are addicted to them and they are sucking your limited time out of relationships and other important areas of your life.

6.  SCHEDULE SCREEN TIME.  Once you turn off your notifications and delete some apps, you should schedule your screen time.  Do you want to check your social media daily?  Ok, that's totally fine!  Just choose what time or times you want to check it each day.  I usually wake up and go through my morning routine first, then check FaceBook and Instagram once I'm done...it usually gives me about 2 hours to wake up, spend time with Ironman, tidy the house, have some quiet time and start my day before I get on social media.  Then, I go about the rest my day (sometimes checking FaceBook and Instagram again since I do most of my work from them), but once Ironman is home each night, I'm done with social media for the day so that we can spend quality time together.

7.  SET A TIMER.  If you notice, when you schedule your screen time, that you can't stop mindlessly scrolling and you get sucked in, you might want to set a timer.  Choose how much time you want to give yourself.  15 minutes?  30 minutes?  Set a timer and once it goes off, get off.  The amount of time is totally up to you.  Since I do most all of my work online, I'm on social media a good bit before lunch and sometimes in the afternoon if I have more work to do.  But, if your job doesn't require you to be on FaceBook and Instagram, then you'll want to spend much less time on them daily.

Have you tried to cut back on screen time yourself?  If so, what are some tips you could add to my list?

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