Tactics For Beating the Phone-Checking Impulse

Ever feel like you can't control your impulse to check your phone or Facebook? The author of a book all about conquering bad habits offers advice for controlling these types of urges.

Ever feel unable to control a pressing urge to check your phone or Facebook profile? For many, it becomes something of a reflex; like how chills make you shiver, being bored will ignite an impulse for information. Yet it's not always just boredom that attracts people to their phones. If you have a smartphone, it's pretty much guaranteed it's distracted you in a moment when your attention should have been elsewhere, this according to Max Ogles, the author of the book Boost: Create Good Habits Using Psychology and Technology. He argues that, even though smartphones are undoubtedly useful, they come packaged with detrimental psychological and physical effects:

"A real scale has been devised to measure how much of a negative impact mobile phones can have on our behavior. The acronym “PUMP” stands for 'Problematic Usage of Mobile Phones.' The PUMP research points to real similarities between substance abuse addictions and technology overuse — to the point that 'though problematic mobile phone use has not, to date, been recognized as a diagnosable condition, experts in the field are debating its inclusion as one.'"

So what's the solution? First, Ogles recommends that smartphone addicts weaken the triggers that too often compel them. Eliminate gaudy ring tones and turn off all notifications that don't relate either to texts or phone calls. You want to give your phone fewer opportunities to remind you it's there. Second, try and maintain a place in your home where your mobile resides when it's not being, well, mobile:

"One of the best ways to reduce your phone’s negative impact is to assign it a place. When you’re at home, set it on a table or shelf out of reach. At work, leave it in your bag or purse out of reach. When you don’t give your phone a place, that’s when things get out of control.

On the sofa? You check your phone. On the toilet? You check your phone? In bed? You check your phone. If you find a place for your phone, and always leave it there, you can minimize the damage."

I recommend taking a peek over at Ogles' article — it's very interesting stuff and he links to some useful research about impulse control and phone addiction. My only caveat is that, if you're on your phone right now and should be doing something else, consider pulling the plug.

Read more at The Next Web.

Photo credit: gpointstudio / Shutterstock

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