As with many posts, I started writing this one in May 2017. It’s been sitting in my drafts ever since, waiting to be written. I started out last time by saying, “I will be the first to say that I love my phone. It’s always with my and basically attached to me 24/7.”
Over the past almost four years since I started this post — a lot has changed with my technology habits. By beginning to write this, I was realizing that I was falling into some really terrible habits (I’ll explain more below). My phone was causing me a lot of stress and anxiety just by existing.
5 Signs You’re Too Attached To Your Phone
1. The first thing I do in the morning is look at my phone.
I don’t usually set an alarm clock (unless I have somewhere to be early in the morning), preferring to let myself wake up with the sun. But the first thing I’ve been doing is rolling over and checking my email. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t follow that with a semi-quick flip through all of my social media.
This is a horrific habit and I am ashamed of it. Many days, the first connection I have with anything is with my phone.
I don’t want to live that way.
To help break this habit, I keep my phone across the room from me. My charger is still in my bedroom, and I do think it’s good to know where your phone is in case of a middle of the night emergency. Most people don’t have landlines anymore so it’s not a matter of knowing where the phone is always located.
2. I close an app only to reopen it seconds later.
When I started doing this, I realized I had a problem. How many times have you been mindlessly flipping through apps, only to close one and reopen it second later? I was doing this all the time. I felt like I was wasting time constantly throughout my day because of this habit.
To help combat it, I set limits on how long I can use social media apps throughout my day. I set both Instagram and Facebook to 30 minutes a day. I’m not quite sticking to it completely, but it is helping me have a constant reminder that I need to limit my time on these apps.
I also remind myself that by opening and closing the app, I’m just seeing the same posts over and over — nothing new is getting a chance to appear. Plus, am I really missing anything? It’s all going to be there when I take the time to look later.
3. I get anxious if I leave my phone behind.
Gone are the days where people would sit in waiting rooms without their phones, walk down the street without checking their messages, and browsing social media at stop lights (but that is extremely dangerous and we definitely should not do it).
Wouldn’t it just be horrible if we had to talk to the other people around us?
In 2017, I wrote, “In the past few years, the closest I’ve gotten to leaving my phone behind is to leave it at home while I walk one block to my local coffee shop. I immediately return home, resting assured that my phone and connection is right where I left it.”
Over the years I’ve challenged myself to run little errands without my phone. I frequently go on walks without it or leave it in different rooms while I’m doing things in my house.
4. You don’t know what your real hobbies are.
What do you like to do that doesn’t involve social media? If you carried around a book instead of your phone, how would your life be different? What about knitting or embroidery?
Sometimes I think with our phones, our hands just don’t know how to be idle. We don’t know how to focus our minds on anything else anymore other than passive entertainment.
We weren’t meant to spend so much time passively looking at things. Minds are meant to be engaged and to be learning. Take a note from your younger self, what did you love to do? How can you bring some of those hobbies back to your adult life?
I’ve always loved reading. Carrying a book around instead of (or along with) my phone was one of the best habits I re-learned in the past few years.
5. You look at your phone absentmindedly for a few seconds with no real purpose.
My husband actually pointed this out to me. It was a habit he worked to break for a long time. He realized he was pulling his phone out of his pocket for even a 10 second elevator ride and not even to look at anything. It made him feel a little out of control to feel like he was compulsively pulling his phone out to check it.
I know we all do this to some extent. I look at my phone whenever I turn my car off, even if it’s just for a minute to “see what I might have missed” while I was driving.
It’s a very unnecessary habit and one we do almost unconsciously. To combat it, practicing being aware of when you pull your phone out. Are you doing it intentionally? Or do you have a real purpose for looking at it? Being intentional about it can make a huge difference in the relationship you have with technology.
I hope these signs you’re too attached to your phone plant some seeds in your mind about how to be more intentional with the way you use your phone. They are reminders I desperately needed and still occasionally need to remind myself of.