What did you do as soon as you wake up first thing in the morning? I usually drink a glass of water that I’ve prepared the night before, on my nightstand, and grab my phone to check on them.
Did you do that too? Well, we are not alone, according to Reviews.org’s survey called “America’s Love Affair with their Phones”, 80% of Americans says they check their phones within the first 10 minutes of waking up.
The study also revealed that on average, Americans check their phones 262 times per day, which is once every 5,5 minutes. Furthermore, 48% consider themselves addicted to their phone, and a whopping 40% admitted they even check on them while driving.
Like an old saying “too much of a good thing is a bad thing”, addiction to our cell phones can be destructive to our life, especially when we are adult learners/ student moms and dads.
Juggling many responsibilities such as work, school, and families at the same time, required amazing time management skills, and strong willpower to avoid procrastination and to eliminate distractions, such as being addicted to your phone.
In this blog post, we are going to talk about how to stop your phone addiction and become more productive students.
Before I decided to pursue my dream to continue my study abroad, I used to be a stay-at-home mom. Being alone with my baby all day for several years made me addicted to my cell phone.
I didn’t have many things to do, other than taking care of the house and my baby, and when I had free time, I was always too exhausted to put on a nice dress and go somewhere.
My cell phone was my only source of entertainment. The bridge that connected me to the world out there, and a reminder that there’s a big, exciting world outside of my small bubble.
Even after I decided that I wanted to go back to college as an adult learner and student mom, I relied a lot on my phone to research for information, as I couldn’t just easily open my laptop anywhere and whenever I needed to.
Needless to say, I was addicted to my cell phone, and it distracted me from doing my papers and assignments and studying for my exams.
I justified my bad behavior by telling myself that, as an international student who lived far away from my family and friends, I needed to keep checking on my phone to see if there was any news or emergency from home.
I also kept checking on social media simply just to keep up with some news regarding what’s happened in my country, updates on my loved ones, and what’s been going on in their lives through their social media posts.
Other than that, I used it to translate and google everything. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there. After I got what I needed, I would browse absentmindedly, looking at nothing and everything.
Luckily, I was starting to aware of my problem. I knew I sacrificed a lot to be able to continue my study abroad, as an adult student and student mom, and I wouldn’t let my smartphone addiction ruin everything I’ve been working on so far.
Long story short, after failing several times, I don’t have smartphone addiction anymore. I followed these multiple steps to get rid of my cell phone addiction:
1. Start Small
I knew I couldn’t get rid of my addiction overnight, so I started small and tried my hardest to stick with it. I limit my daily usage to only accessed Google translate and browsed for school research purpose only.
On the weekend, I rewarded myself with two hours of social media, an hour of browsing instead of browsed endlessly, and one movie to watch.
To beat cell phone addiction, calculate how many hours you spend every day on your cell phone and take a deeper look at your addiction. Did you spend most of your time glued to your cell phones scrolling endlessly at social media? Which one?
Limit the time you spend on those particular social media and decide on a specific number as your goal. Let’s say you spend four hours every day on social media and want to reduce them to two hours per day.
Try to stick to your goal, and gradually increase your number, from four hours to two, and eventually, only access them on the weekend, for example. In time, you will feel less and less urge to spend time scrolling aimlessly on your social media and have more time and energy to do something else.
2. Deleting Unnecessary Apps and Social Media
The number of apps on my cell phone was quite alarming. So first I deleted the ones I rarely used. But my main problem was social media since I could spend endless time scrolling down the feed. In the end, I narrowed them down to five and limit my usage.
The same also applied to my games. Although I was not by any definition, a gamer, I still play once in a while. I deleted almost all of them and left the ones I kept almost untouched and try to spend more time exercising or play outside with my daughter instead.
Delete your games and leave only one or two of your favorites and limit the time you spend on them. Reviews your apps. Why did you download them in the first place? Do you still use them every day or use them often? Do you still need them once in a while? Does it still relevant for you? Think carefully and delete all the apps you no longer need.
The same goes for your social media. Which one do you use often? What kind of benefit did they give you? Did they serve some purpose for you before?
Are they still serve that purpose now? Will it be okay if you delete them, or will there be consequences later since they are related to your work or project, for example?
Think about them carefully and make a decision to delete the ones you don’t need anymore, or the ones you can live without to avoid using your phone too much.
3. Return to Your Old Hobby
I love to read. I could spend hours and hours reading and never get bored. I bought books regularly and kept buying them even though I still had piles of them I hadn’t even read yet.
Unfortunately, once I became a mother, I had less and less time to sit down, relax, and enjoyed my books. Reading articles or short stories on my cell phone has become the replacement for my hunger to read.
It took me longer and longer to finish a book. Unfortunately, things remain the same after I moved to Italy to continue my study.
English books were not rare, but they were expensive, and my Italian language level was still not adequate to read books in Italian. Therefore, I read fewer and fewer books and read more by browsing endlessly on my phone.
The solution, I stuffed my suitcase with books whenever I visited home and take advantage of discounts on online stores to buy more books and spend more time reading, to stop my phone addiction and use my phone less.
Revisit your old hobby, if it’s something that you could do outdoor such as certain types of sport, it’s even better. You could even completely leave behind your cell phone at home while you were out playing sport. You will become less and less addicted to your phone in no time.
4. Change Your Routine
If you spend hours every day scrolling at your feeds on social media, surfing the net, watching videos, then it’s time to change that routine. If you are used to staying up late, try to go to bed and wake up earlier than usual.
Established a new routine. If you don’t have much time, try to do something small. For example, after I woke up in the morning, instead of reaching for my phone, I went straight to do my morning routine.
Since I didn’t use that half an hour in the morning to check on my cell phone, I had time to clean up a bit. Now I could go home to a clean and tidy house.
As a result, my good mood improved because now I don’t have to go home tired but unable to rest because I still have to clean the house.
You can replace your morning phone checking into something else too, maybe now you have time to jog before starting your activities for the day? Or perhaps something smaller like adding some push-up to your daily stretching routine?
Try for a bit. If you don’t see any improvement in your quality of life, try something different until you find the one that makes you happier.
5. Keep Yourself Busy
Another way to beat your cell phone addiction is to keep yourself busy. Therefore, you’ll have no time to waste glued to your phone. Stop procrastinating. If you have some papers or assignments, finish them immediately.
Don’t wait until you’re nearing deadlines and revise your study materials, thus, you’ll be better prepared for your exams. You’ll kill two birds with one stone; you gradually cure your cell phone addictions and become a better student.
As adult learners/student moms and dads who have to juggle plenty of responsibilities, keeping yourself busy by studying and finishing your assignments is an excellent thing to do to get off your phone.
Therefore, should anything happen at home or work (your child got sick, a demanding new project et cetera), it won’t interfere with your study since you got them all prepared.
6. Go Back to Basic
A powerful strategy to get rid of smartphone addiction is to go back to basics. Perhaps this is not going to be a popular option, but I’ve done it before, and it worked.
So basically, what I did was downgraded my cell phone into an older version. It was cheap and didn’t have many features inside. Thus, by only being able to do basic stuff, my cell phones were not that appealing anymore. I used it only when I needed it and that was it.
Surely, to do that in a longer period of time will be difficult. Sooner or later, you’ll be going to need the “fancy” features available in newer cell phones.
But if you are serious about curing your cell phone addiction, you can try this method. Once you are cured and able to control your cell phone usage, you can always ditch your older phone and get yourself a new model.
7. Build New Skills Online
How many hours per day do you spend glued to your cell phone screen? Have you ever imagined what kind of new skills you’ll acquire if you allocate the same amount of time to learn new things? Well, you can always try to find out.
If you still find it difficult to be separated from your cell phones, incorporate it by learning something on the internet from your cell phone instead of your laptop.
For example, if you don’t feel like doing something, you could listen to podcasts. There are tons of them available out there for you to choose from. Therefore, you’ll spend a significant amount of time with your cell phone doing something useful.
8. Travel and Explore More
One of the reasons why I managed to cure my cell phone addiction was because I traveled and explored more. I realized that as an international student, I would be wasting this amazing opportunity of studying abroad if I didn’t get myself out there and explore.
Now, I know that traveling around and exploring your host country, even the neighboring countries is something most people would naturally do when they have the chance to study abroad. But for someone like me, who is introverted and a student mom who also needs to take care of my family, being able to travel around and explore was a luxury.
But then I thought, why would I relocate halfway across the globe and dragged my family with me (husband and daughter) if I just ended up curling in my bed glued to my cell phone screen, something that I could do exactly at home?.
So, I made an effort to see what Italy had to offer, and I enjoyed every second of it!!!. I went out and visited places, embraced the culture, the amazing food, the beautiful sceneries, the architecture, the vibrant cities, the breathtaking ancient ruins, the passionate people…all of them.
I still use my cell phone, but I limited my screen time and used the limited time to browse on places I could visit next, to look at the history and more information on places I’ve just visited, use the camera to take the nice picture as a memento of my travel and so on…
In short, Exploring will make you busy and forget the excess use of your cell phone.
Use this printable workbook to record your Back to School Research. Don’t make all that Campus Visits, Virtual Tours, Webinars, and Q&A with the school’s admission personnel go to waste !! Write down the information you have collected in this workbook.
Study them later carefully to help you weigh in the pros and cons of each university and decide the best place for you to continue your study.
9. Reward Yourself
Once you see significant progress in your effort to cure your cell phone addiction, reward yourself. Be proud of what you’ve achieved so far. It was not easy, but with your strong willpower, you will manage to control yourself and improve the quality of your life.
It doesn’t have to be something big or expensive. Just a little something to keep you motivated to free yourself from your cell phone addiction.
I rewarded myself with a nice trip home. It was a luxury for me because the tickets were expensive, but it was worth it. Next, I spent some time using my cell phones to do video calls with my family, I knew the screen time was worth every second of it.
Over To You…
According to research done by dscout, a web-based research platform, we touch our phones about 2,617 times a day. Yes, that much!!! And that was for average people.
If you are a cell phone addict, the number will be a lot higher. The consequences of having cell phone addiction might vary, from something insignificant, up to impacting your life negatively.
If you think you have a cell phone addiction, try to cure them by starting to reduce your screen time, deleting unnecessary apps, games, and social media, returning to your old hobby or starting a new one, changing your routine, and keeping yourself busy.
You could also go back to basic by using an older cell phone with limitless features to help you reduce your screen time, utilize your cell phone for something useful like building new skills online and try to get out to travel and explore more.
In the end, don’t forget to reward yourself for your effort, to keep you motivated. But if you think your addiction is severe and affected your life in a bad way, you could seek help from a professional.
So, tell me, what apps do you use more? What is your favorite social media? how much screen time do you have every day? Did you consider yourself a cell phone addict? If yes, what are the things you do to reduce your screen time?
Let me know by leaving a comment down below, I’d love to hear from you…pin this for later and share them on social media. I sincerely hope this post is worth your screen time…
Many thanks before and till next time!!!
- 7 Ways to Stop Procrastinating as Adult Students/ Student Moms and Dads
- How to Create a Productive Study Space for Adult Learners/ Student Moms
- How I Survived Studying Abroad (with My 4 YO Coming With Me)
- How to Enjoy Study Abroad Experience as An Adult Student
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