It is officially National Lawyer Well-Being Week, so now is a great time to focus on breaking that bad habit of always being glued to your cell phone. Statistics tell us that the typical cell phone user touches his or her phone 2,617 times a day, and half of all phone pickups happen within 3 minutes of a previous one. We also know that the overuse of cell phones can affect our sleep patterns, decrease our levels of productivity and focus, and negatively impact our relationships.
As legal professionals, we are not likely to get away from needing a cell phone, but we can strive for balance and keep cell phone usage in proper alignment with our lives. In honor of National Lawyer Well-Being Week, I challenge each of you to make a concerted effort to put those phones down.
Here is a list of tools you can use to help reduce cell phone usage:
Turn off your push notifications – Turning off your notifications can help illuminate the instant distraction.
Use an app to help reduce screen time – Apps like Moment and ScreenTime can help you set limits on your phone and implement short exercises to manage your usage.
Don’t charge your phone near your bed – Many of the negative effect of cell phone overuse can be avoided if you keep your cell phone out of your bedroom. Also, watching that YouTube video at midnight isn’t as appealing if you have to get out of bed to get your phone.
Put a hairband around your phone – The hairband trick brings greater mindfulness to each use of your phone. You can still easily make phone calls if necessary, but the hairband makes other uses of the phone more difficult because you have to make an effort to move the hairband to use the device. This naturally makes you more aware of what you are doing in the moment.
While I encourage everyone to focus on putting the phone down this week, I hope this is something we will find rewarding at the week’s end and push us to reduce our reliance on our cell phones. One way to continue to work on breaking the habit is by tracking your cell phone usage for 30 days. It is interesting to see how much time one spends on the phone during the day and what that time is spent doing. After the 30 day period is over, use the information to put a plan in place to adjust your habits. For more information on charting your cell phone usage and how to break a cell phone addiction, I recommend using, The Phone Addiction Workbook by Hilda Burke. You can also find self-assessment tools at the virtual-addiction.com