My 2015 Phone Resolution

Last month Betsy and I went out to dinner at a nice place in Denver for her birthday. We always splurge a bit on nice birthday dinners rather than exchange gifts.

At the restaurant it was mostly couples and a few smaller groups of people. At one point I looked out over the dining room and saw nothing but faint blue glows from each table. Almost every table had at least one person checking their phone.

I couldn’t make this up: One table was watching a full length movie on their phone during dinner.

Here’s the worse part: I’m not much better.

Like so many people, I’ve become completely attached to my phone. I use it for email, texts, social media, games, news, and a million other small things.

My time priorities are about to change drastically with a new baby and one area I want to improve on big time is my phone use. Rather than make a bunch of tiny resolutions, this year I’m just making this one:

In short, I want to start using it as a tool rather than a distraction.

Here are the few rules that will keep me in line!

Phone Rule #1: Define a No-Phone Time

Every day, Betsy and I are setting aside a set two hour time period where we won’t look at our phones (baby steps!).

Embarrassingly, this will be very hard for me. For us, this time period will be around 6-8pm each day when we are eating, playing with the baby, and doing other activities.

Phone Rule #2: Change Notifications

I actually implemented this a month ago and it has already affected my phone use. I removed all the push notifications from apps and programs. If I want to check email or twitter or something, I have to proactively go into that app and do it.

Rather than being constantly pinged by programs, I now have to choose when I want to check certain things.

Phone Rule #3: No Phones During Meals

This goes for any meal that you’re eating with other people. Betsy and I are decent at this, but I still cheat sometimes. Breakfast will be the hardest for us because we like to read the news on our phones.

Meal time is a great time to chat or connect with people though and there’s really nothing so important that it can’t wait 30 minutes.

Phone Rule #4: No-Phone Buffer Before Bed

Hands down this one will be the hardest for me. Generally, my phone is the last thing I see before bed and the first thing I see when I wake up.

There have been a ton of studies (Time article) that screen time right before sleeping can drastically reduces the quality of your rest. So I’m going to create a short buffer period before bed where I don’t look at my phone.

For me, that will be a 30 minute period before lights out.

Join Me?

If you spend more time on your phone than you would like, take the pledge with me. Smart phones are a great tool and I use mine to death, but too much of a good thing can ruin it.

As with many things, it’s important to admit you have a problem.

I made a little image below that you can share or pin as a reminder!

I’d love to hear what other people think of phone use these days or if you have other resolutions for 2015! Leave a comment!

Happy New Years everybody!

I spend a lot of time on my phone throughout the day and a lot of it is time lost. I'm resolving to cut back on my phone time in 2015 with these four simple steps! Re-pin to do the same!

Phone photo from Johan Larsson.

17 comments on “My 2015 Phone Resolution

  1. Congratulations on this step. I am not so dependent on my phone but I have two friends who are totally obsessed with their phones. It is rare that our dinners together on Sunday night are not interrupted by one or both of the phones either ringing or interrupting our meal. On the flip side, as a senior person since so many people are discontinuing land lines, it is hard to get someone to answer a cell phone in case of an emergency when the phone is being charged or not close at hand. I had a small emergency yesterday and my three neighbors did not answer their phones. Pretty scary!

    1. Good point Gayle. I hope you are okay! I think even during no phone times I will probably answer my phone if it rings (especially more than once). To be honest I don’t get that many actual phone calls… I mainly use my phone for non-phone things. An actual phone call is fairly novel! Haha.

  2. I hardly ever get phone calls on my phone, I do not use it to check emails and stuff like that , I use my Kindle Fire to do that.My phone is a smart phone but we do not have the plan that allows us to use the web since we have computers and laptops and tablet computers at the house, why do we need it on the phone. I never talk on my phone while driving either. I don’t text either. That is done when the car is stopped for a reason or parked at home.
    Not to many people have our phone numbers, just family and friends and medical personnel so we are not bombarded by calls coming in at mealtimes.

  3. Good for you Nick ! I wish more people would realize just how much time they spend looking at a phone. My husband and I also saw a similar sighting at airport where a group of young people were traveling together, yet talking to each other via the phones and tablets. People don’t seem to communicate unless they do it by a device. We have a rule at home that no one is to bring a phone to the dining table. Our one daughter does not have a land line so that’s how we call her. I understand the reason not to have more than one phone, but we both have phones and a land line. I even went away for the day and left my phone at home ! Not the end of the world. I am old enough to remember when these did not exist and the world was able to function and do business and people actually spoke to one another, imagine that.

  4. Good for you! This is really a pet peeve with me! I try to have a conversation with my own son and have to compete with the phone, not good. People are so afraid they are going to miss something that they end up paying no attention to the people they are with. That time missed is far more important than a silly phone call!

  5. Good Luck! I have 3 grown kids. I took my dog to the dog park, leaving my phone home. I returned to find it with 7 missed calls! Voice mails basically all said ” just checking in, are you ok you di not answer”. When I told them i left my phone home i got yelled at… “What if something happened” ! I was not far from home walking distance, and there were people around, but this did not help. Fineally I said its nice not to carry it all over the place… This did not go over well and I got the… “But your getting older”. Which set me off! I’m only 50! I’m glad you care, but…

  6. Great if it works for you.
    But, of course, these solutions are not one size fits all. My guess is that they won’t even fit you for the whole year. Wait until you are at dinner with Betsy and the babysitter calls, or out with a friend and Betsy calls, or your child is a little older and wants/needs you for anything.
    Or perhaps you are away and just have to show those adorable baby pics to dinner companions.
    Still I wholeheartedly encourage you (and me) to identify the ways in which technology is an intrusion rather than than a tool, and make the changes that work for you.
    Oh, and maybe that couple watching the movie simply wanted dinner and a movie together and they can’t cook like you can. This could be an innovative way to get dinner and a movie together.

    Sometimes I do hangputs with my grown and very faraway kids in public places to have them participate in a family event. I am sure that it looks like a distraction from the outside. But we value the inclusiveness.

  7. Good Luck with this Nick. With your new family beginnings, it makes so much sense. My husband and I recently did away with our “smart phones”, still have them, but dropped the plan needed to support it in order to save a few dollars. I now call it my “dumb phone” :-) However, I feel much better about how and when I am on the phone. I think everyone has seen similar instances as you described in the restaurant. We have all forgotten about looking up and enjoying the moment and you and Betsy will very soon be having all kinds of moments to treasure. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  8. I have no internet or cable at home — only a smartphone, and an old one at that. After the withdrawals ceased, it’s turned out wonderfully. I wouldn’t say you shouldn’t take your cell phone everywhere — that’s what it’s for! But cutting the temptations (like you did with the push notifications), screening calls to only important ones when you’re with others, etc, is the smart thing to do.
    All this non-stop Facebook crap, and senseless texting, selfies…just ridiculous wastes of time by people who have no priorities or responsibilities. Such a shame.
    And as far as the new baby goes — I’m sure you’ll find that no-phone time comes with the territory, whether you want it to or not!

  9. I’m going to be the minority here, but as a new family with a newborn, this might be harder then you think.

    It’s your first baby!! You are going to be taking a picture ever time that little dumpling exhales! We had a big old fancy camera but most of our pictures were just taken on our phones because that’s what we had and we could do it with one hand while still feeding/holding/changing/burping/whatever-ing.

    You’ll also want to text and facebook the universe these pictures. Here world! Look what I made! Eventually it will dwindle to just texting grandma and grandpa and aunts and uncles and a few close (and very patient) friends, but yeah. It happens.

    You will probably google a lot of weird crap. “Um, honey, is that normal? Is s/he supposed to do/look/smell like that?” Dunno! To google! (Don’t worry, no one knows what they are doing at first. Anyone who says they do are lying)

    Late night feedings. I am going to really hope that you get a good sleeper like mine were. (I’ll try to bundle up some good sleeping juju and send it your way)
    Both my girls (I have a 1 and 4 yr old) decided to start sleeping through the nigh at about 6 weeks. But until then were up every 2-3 hours for about 90 minutes. I nursed them in my bed, because it was most comfortable, but I wanted my husband to be able to sleep so he could take the early morning shift with the baby. That left me with the option to sit and stare into the dark and partially doze back off, or mess around with a game or whatever on my phone, or set my iPad up with headphones and a tv series. Usually I was too tired to follow dialog so I just messed around with stupid stuff on my phone.

    Dumb? Yup, but it kept me occupied and kept me from passing out and drooling on the baby. (Generally frowned upon)

    Now that the babes are older we do phone free dinner times and do phone free family nights, but as a stay at home mom, it’s hard sometimes because somedays it’s my only link to the adult world.

    Just a different opinion to ponder. Good luck with tiny dumpling Macheesmo!

  10. This is a great idea.
    I find it hilarious that you say a two-hour break from your cell is a baby step. That sounds impossible for me to achieve!
    Regardless, I’m taking these on, too — but probably making that break a little shorter.

  11. Yikes, I should really do this as well. I think my phone is actually attached to my hand. It’s bad. I will want to keep it close for the camera though. I also have a new baby and I want to be able to capture a special moment at a moment’s notice!

  12. I’m 30, but clearly ready to start shouting “get off my lawn!!” any time now, because people who are constantly messing around with their smart phones are one of my biggest pet peeves. I have a smart phone, and I do spend a fair amount of time on it, but I don’t see the addiction that others seem to have. But then, I’ve kind of gotten less and less enamored of electronics since I resolved last year to spend more time with my kiddos. The less you use them, the less you feel the need to use them, I’ve noticed.

    This is a fantastic resolution, and I hope you can stick with it! Good luck! :-)

  13. YES!!! I will be joining you. I have such a horrible smart phone problem. I’ve been wrestling with how to best deal with it because I often have to use it for my online college studies while the toddler is sleeping. I think part of my plan will be to use my laptop more for that, because for some reason I have a lot more discipline in what I’m doing on my laptop vs my phone. It’s way too easy for me to just keep flipping between games, Facebook, email, Pinterest, etc etc until before I know it all my study time is gone. Bah. I will start revising my habits tomorrow morning!

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