What's worked for me (and the article talks about this too) is viewing my phone as a tool with a limited set of functionality. For me, that functionality is: calls, texts, Google maps, Spotify, Audible, podcasts, Uber, and a camera.
That's it, no email (technically have the ability to send an email if i need to, but no notifications and no checking) and no random internet browsing and twitter etc consumption. There are some blocking apps that might help with this, but the biggest thing is the attitude. Twitter in line at the grocery store is no longer what my phone is for. Not that reading tabloid headlines is any better, but the main point is stretching out your focus muscles, getting rid of the urge to immediately grab your phone anytime there's a lull or hint of boredom in your life.
Overall, it's nice. Almost like being back in the 90's pre smart phone but also with a super powerful computer that can play any song you want/give you directions to anywhere you need to go.
Eventually - long after he stopped smoking - he threw the pack out, as part of his usual housekeeping.
I thought of this when I decided to quit social medias over the past two years. I bring it up now because it's something I think about in regard to how centrally important mindset is when trying to break a habit, or work on something of deeper value.
I wonder now too about the asymmetry in the ease of adoption vs. difficulty of opting out with smart phones and social media. Anecdotally, it just seems that you can nearly unconsciously start using a smartphone or say, sign up for instagram. But after a relatively quick onboarding, the effort required to opt out of these things feels akin to doing actual, hard work.
I kept a pint of ice cream in the freezer and a bag of chips in the cupboard. The reasoning for me was: I'll never impulse buy snacks while at the store, because I already have it at home.
And if I haven't eaten out of my pint of ice cream, then I haven't eaten any ice cream.
It's like knowing you have these traps to avoid, but if you just keep one very close, that's the only one you need to consider, and then all the other ones disappear. It's definitely a focus thing for me, don't know if it was the same for your dad.
Love that roundup of this technique. Coincidentally enough my dad also used this same aid to quit smoking. I saw some slight sense but never enough to unpack it myself.
A term related to this idea is dark pattern.
This is a good overview of the idea.
If you can not use it when it is there, you've really won.
It's always around. I can have a drink whenever I want (and I mean, I have drinks socially, I usually end up playing bartender at parties, that sort of thing). But it is, and always has been, something that happens on my terms.
Those first few weeks are the most difficult part of the process.
I think this is another key takeaway. We're so scared of being bored that we instantly reach for our phone as a means to fill this seemingly unwanted void. As if boredom has this negative connotation attached to it.
But our lives should contain some unpleasantness, I think. Some difficulty.
(but well, I love the web, so I'm not completely out of the world :) )
Like other types of addiction, some of us may be weak to those generated by the smartphone era (associated with a certain socio-cultural mindset based on fame, social validation/gratification).
Like the parent poster, I'm an old fart. But my daughter, in her early twenties, have much the same pattern, and most definitely no addiction to either phone or social media. For what it's worth, she's had pc and phone for about as long as she can remember. With internet and no control, but a lot of guidance.
Of course I completely except that this means sometimes I miss out on something or that I can’t be the one to re-negotiate plans last minute, but overall it’s a good trade off. My close friends also know to just add a “need answer today” or “..now”. And also that I will still respond to messages that are truly of a critical time sensitive nature “car broke down! Can you pick me up?”
I do really wish most connunications apps cane with more status options (unavailable, busy, do not disturb, response may be delayed, etc) or customizable auto responses.
I always cave & go back; maybe I'm on the road and I need to look up information so I turn Chrome back on. Maybe texting with the flip phone is just getting too painful. But I feel like it makes me more aware of what I'm doing.
it's not easy changing your mindset, that's why hacks are here.
- I only removed social media
- and turned off every notification, leaving badges for company email.
This made already a huge difference. Some of the points are also not relevant for me (never had games or so...)