I know we have all been there, scrolling through Instagram or Facebook for what seems minutes but turns out to be hours on end. At the sound of any notification, you immediately pick up your phone and start scrolling even if it wasn’t your phone that made the sound. Maybe you feel like you are attached to the wall because of how many times your phone dies throughout the day. I know those feelings because I have (and sometimes still am) there. As much as cellphones are amazing tools, they can quickly become an avenue of temptation and sin.
I wanted to see how much I use my phone each week. iPhones make it easy to check to see this. Just go to settings, screen time, and look for pickups. Pickups tell me how many times I open up my iPhone to use each day. Last week, I averaged about 82 pickups a day, which is right around the national average. To break it down, even more, I picked up my phone every ten minutes that I am awake on average. How distracting! There have to be some easy things I can do to prevent me from looking at my phone as much.
I wanted to share with you all the three things I have been doing this past week to help me curb my phone addiction.
Turn off notifications
Turning off notifications I have found is the easiest way to keep me from looking at my phone all the time. Before, when I would have notifications on, or even if my phone was on vibrate, I would immediately go for my phone each turn I heard a ding or felt it vibrate. Now, since I do not have any notifications, I don’t have the urge to pick up my phone as much. There are still apps that I keep notifications on for. Phone calls, texts, and emails can all be urgent messages that I need to respond to quickly, so I keep my notifications on for those. Every other app though I have turned off notifications for.
Take a phone sabbath
This tip is easier said than done. But I have found it to be one of the most beneficial things to my overall productivity and my relationship with God. In the first hour that I am awake, I spend that time in scripture reading through God’s word for me, planning my day, and getting started on my to-do list. Before I would keep my phone by me. I would justify keeping my phone so close by convincing myself that “something could happen that needs my attention” or I would say to myself, “I don’t want to miss anything important.” What I have learned in this past week of taking an hour-long phone sabbath each morning is that nothing particularly important happens in my life from the hours of 8-9 AM. Maybe the morning is not the best time for you to take your phone sabbath, but I guarantee that there is an hour in your life that your phone does not need your attention. Use that time to be more productive, or maybe even, become closer to Christ.
When your phone gets charged, recharge yourself as well.
Out of all three things mentioned, this last tip is the one that has helped me the most. How often do we charge our phones? Once a day, maybe twice or even three times? We plug in our phones because without a charge our phones are useless. But how often do we plug into our life-source, God? I committed that each time my phone needs to recharge, I need to recharge as well. When I plug my phone in no matter what time or what place I say a prayer of thanksgiving and petition to Christ. It will seem silly at first, but once the habit is built it becomes a powerful way to live out 1 Thessalonians 5:16, “Pray without ceasing.”
Hopefully, we can all join together and try to become a little more disconnected so that we can connect more with God. I can’t say it enough I think phones are powerful tools, but I also think they can become our main source of temptation and sin. It is so easy to become slaves to our phones, but Christ wants to set us free from the chains of anything worldly. In this practice of intentionally disconnecting, Christ’s freedom becomes sweeter in return.