Is the phone taking attention away from your relationship?

Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone. -Steven Spielberg

Smartphones are very popular devices. Most people use them for hours every day and are constantly checking messages or mails, scrolling, watching videos, and so on. However, phones can also become harmful. They can take people away from their loved ones and poison the time they spend together. Someone cannot be fully present and also be on their phones. So, if you are seeing a problem with phone use, how can you manage it? Let’s take a look.

Manage phone use

The first step is to learn to manage your phone use better. Don’t use it mindlessly, instead, try to develop a mindful practice. Try to do things that bring joy, pleasure, and learning to your life rather than just scrolling through the things that the algorithm offers.

You can set specific times for using your phone. Use programs that block specific sites that are time wasters, especially social media. Remember that all the content you consume is designed to keep you hooked, so you need to take conscious action to reduce the impact this has on you. Make conscious decisions.

Spend more we time with no phone

Create more opportunities to engage with others and have fun. With your partner, make sure you have a lot of activities that do not make it easy to use your phone. Leave it behind, turn it off, or, at least, turn off the notifications.

Plan for dates that involve just the two of you and that make it hard to distract yourself. Do activities that engage you fully in the task and the presence of your partner rather than those that require additional stimulation.

Set a rule to avoid the phone

Ask your partner and commit as well to leaving the phone behind. Don’t bring it with you or turn it off. It is possible your job has excessive requirements for being available, but if this is not the case, dare yourself to eat dinner with no phone in sight.

Ask your partner to do the same, so that you are both on even ground. Allow yourself to enjoy the time and savor it fully. You can always check your messages later.

Make your own guidelines

Sometimes, it’s useful to create your own rules for using the phone. Only use it during your lunch break. Only use it when you are too tired for anything else. Here, the goal is for you to develop your own rules, but not in excess.

Instead of making endless rules, create those that you can follow and that work for you. Also set clear goals for what you want to achieve. If you focus on your partner, set more rules for the time you spend together than for other situations.

Decide what you need the phone for

The goal is not to deprive yourself of the fun and useful things the phone can do. Consider what you use it for, and it’s likely that giving it up entirely will be hard. Instead, try to use the phone more mindfully by deciding what you use it for.

Is it for fun and work? Keep the apps that provide the most value, the best fun, and the most support for your work. Is it just for work? Reduce the social media you use and uninstall things that do not match those work goals.

Turn off notifications

Often, what distracts you from quality time with your partner are the notifications. Give yourself a better fighting chance against the phone by setting it to silent or even airplane mode. Notifications are designed to distract you and disrupt your focus.

When you choose when to engage with the phone, you have more control. Notifications demand your attention now. They peak your curiosity. After all, it could be a very important message. Turn them off and take control back.