“Sorry, darling?” How often have you uttered that after being given a shove by your other half? Those two immortal words will doubtless have followed an extended session of Monument Valley or trawl through your Twitter feed.
Unbeknownst to you, while you had your head buried in your smartphone, the love of your life was telling you about the trials and tribulations of their day. They may have been looking for a comforting word or a reminder that they mean the world to you.
All you wanted to do was get past that pesky level 8 boss.
Smartphones have done such a clever job of infiltrating our lives that the idea of being addicted them is often dismissed. They’re part of us, alway in our hands and, if reports are to be believed, garner our attention 85 times per day on average.
If this all sounds uncomfortably familiar, I’m not suggesting you’re addicted, but I am offering a helping hand in preventing your smartphone from ruining your relationship.
Here’s 6 sure-fire ways to stop that happening.
1. Turn Off Notifications
Smartphone notifications are useful. Your favourite team’s latest score or a reminder about an upcoming dental appointment, for example. But do you need to know every time someone mentions you on Twitter?
Try turning notifications off. A quiet smartphone is a less obtrusive smartphone.
2. Get Rid of Facebook
Someone recently reminded me that Facebook is a ‘relic’ when it comes to social media. And they’re right. It may still be the biggest one out there, but it is also one hell of a time suck.
Disable your account and remove the app from your phone. In three months’ time, ask yourself honestly if you missed it. I bet you didn’t.
I bet you didn’t.
3. Remove Apps You no Longer Use
Is your smartphone’s screen littered with apps and games you no longer open? Remove them. They may still be sending you pointless, attention-grabbing notifications.
4. Stop Being Instantly Contactable
Facebook Messenger, iMessage, WhatsApp, Twitter direct messaging, old fashioned SMS – there are so many ways people can contact you on your phone. When they do, there’s a good chance you’ll read and reply straight away.
The more you do this, the more people get used to your immediate response to their every request. Only reply to messages when you’re on your own and not in the company of your loved one. You’re nobody’s slave!
5. Turn off Your Phone at Night
What’s the last thing you look at before you go to bed? I bet it’s your phone. Put an end to that by turning your phone off at night or just before you go to bed. Spend the time instead with your partner – they deserve it more than your smartphone.
6. Buy an Old-Fashioned Alarm Clock
What’s the last thing you look at before you get out of bed in the morning? It’s your phone again, isn’t it? There’s a brilliant, low-cost way of stopping this: buy an old fashioned, cheap alarm clock and use that to wake you up instead (your phone will be turned off, remember).
I’m not suggesting any of the methods above will be easy. Remember – smartphones have become an extension of us and we rely on them almost as much as we do our limbs. Step back, however, and you realise how daft that is.
Smartphones can make our lives easier, but they’re just as adept at making them difficult. End the latter today – you can do it!