4 Ways to Break Your Digital Addiction

My iPhone has been having battery issues, but it’s had an interesting side effect on me. While I typically would be really annoyed, I’ve actually found myself changing the way I interact with my phone. I think twice before opening an app, sending a Snapchat, or aimlessly scrolling through Facebook. Now that I’m thinking about my battery usage, I’m kind of horrified by how often I reach for my phone… for totally unnecessary things. It’s impulsive and I do not like it!
Maxie is here today sharing her tips for breaking our digital addictions…
4 Ways to Break Your Digital Addiction
Guest post by Maxie McCoy
Have you ever looked around a buzzing restaurant to see a giant table of friends not even talking to each other? Rather, their heads are downwards and their right thumb is moving up and down, up and down, rhythmically over their tiny, bright screen.
Or worse. Have you ever looked up at your own group of friends to realize “we’re so being those people right now.” It’s insane how easily it happens. It’s crazy how tempting it is to resort to your phone when the silence gets thick, the conversation lulls, or there’s a notification you just couldn’t ignore.
Sometimes I feel like technology is killing me. Killing us. While acknowledging my melodrama here, from the posture of our bodies hundreds of hours a month to our inability to pull away from the glowing light and constant feeds, I’m never more aware of the addiction to the digital than when I’m brought back together with friends and family during the holidays. (Holy smokes that’s in a few weeks. What.)
Regardless of the time of year, there’s no time like the present to begin kicking this addiction. As someone who builds a large part of her business online, I’m the last person that’s going to say technology is bad. Or that it is ruining us. Or that we should stop. But I do think there’s room for the pendulum of extreme to swing back towards center. 
No phones with family and friends
Why have your phone on the table when you’re with your loved ones? You know that screen is going to light up. You know you’re going to look down. And in that instant you will have missed an entire moment or series of moments that you can’t get back. Things can wait for an hour or two. You don’t have to read that facebook comment and you don’t need to know that response in an email. If it’s urgent. They’ll call you. Give yourself less temptation by keeping your phone in your bag.
Keep your phone charging in the other room. On sleep mode.
You know that morning routine of roll over, check the time, fall into a black hole of every newsfeed and inbox before you’ve even gotten out of bed? The best way to end it is to pony up on an old school alarm clock and keep that phone in the other room. Or, trust that you’ll hear it 50 feet away. It allows you to wake up without the onslaught of information. And it gives your morning a break from that instant digital fix. Slow mornings like these for the win.
Practice the art of discussion
There was a time before google where things got discussed, debated, and enjoyed. When was the last time you actually enjoyed the process of getting to the answer of “wait who played the sister of Derek in Save the Last Dance”* or “what does wifi stand for”** without immediately going to google it. When you don’t have your phone readily accessible you’ll find yourself actually enjoying this practice of dialogue naturally. It’s only when everyone gets stumped that someone will finally pull out the goog. 
Have a digital detox day
A day, a weekend, an afternoon. Power down to power up. It’s such a relief to read a book. Go out without your phone. Not have to look at your computer for another freaking second. Schedule this time every week or every month. Otherwise, trust me it won’t happen. It’s not easy to go off the grid. However, it will become a time you treasure – sights and smells you remember instead of gram, jokes you laugh about instead of tweet, warm hugs you give instead of a pixeled thumbs up.
Break your digital addiction to become a little more present. It’ll be a beautiful gift you give both to yourself and to everyone around you. No cold turkey here, just small steps that make such a difference.
* Kerry Washington. Mind. Blown. Right?
*WIFI stands for nothing. Seriously, nothing.

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Audrey Lin

I destroyed my iPhone charger cord, but I rely on my iPhone to wake me up in the morning, so I ordered another iPhone charger cord online ASAP, but until it arrived, I kept my phone in my room on airplane mode as to conserve batteries. It was great. At times I felt that I had nothing to do, I'd, well, do nothing, but I'd rest mindfully, practicing deep breathing, and sometimes even closing my eyes. Not having my phone distract me not only helped me do more by engaging with the world around me, but also helped me do Nothing better. I now have a new charger cord and am using my iPhone again, but I try to keep the apps I have on there to a minimum. If I don't have games on my iPhone, then I won't have any games to play! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's


This is a great post. I'm guilty of being glued to my iPhone and totally think a detox day is in order. I try to keep it in my bag when I'm out with friends (and, yes, I see those groups of people at lunch or dinner not even talking and just checking their phones, and think 'what the heck?!'). My biggest sin is checking Instagram, Facebook, and emails as soon as the alarm on my phone goes off — when I haven't even gotten out of bed yet.


A detox day sounds absolutely fantastic. I cannot convey how good it feels on the rare occasion that I choose to leave the house without my phone, and drive to my destination sans interruption. I usually choose those time to also either drive without music on, or to stick with a single, non-Sirius radio station just for the sake of nostalgia, hah.

I was in high school when cell phones had /just/ come onto the scene. Students fortunate enough to have their own phone usually all had the same brick of a Nokia in one of a few colors. I can remember about fifteen of us going to a concert, and when someone's phone rang with one of a few limited ringtones, about half of the group started searching their pockets for their cell phones.

Thanks for the great read, Maxie. We're always in need of reminders to keep ourselves tethered to the ground and to spend some time out of our media!

Rachel S.

When I go away for a weekend to NH, my usual destination has no cell service for my carrier, so my beloved iPhone becomes a brick. I do have the ability to borrow a phone with another carrier that does work while I'm there, but as a rule, I do so once a day just to check my email (only responding to or looking at ones from mom/dad/boss) and that is it. The peace that comes about from disconnection is wonderful.

Cristina SF

I do not have a phone addiction. Actually, my bf/friends & family complain because I barely look at my phone and I miss messages and phone calls often. Even though I should probably pay more attention to my cell, I believe that digital addiction is a really serious issue. I find it really sad when I see people looking at their phones while they are out with their friends. I hope people get tired of phones some day and relationships go back to normal!


I think I might fall into the tech addict category … which is one reason why I love being at work! There I'm not allowed to touch my phone, and I'm often so busy that the thought never crosses my mind anyway. I just need to work out how to extend that into my home life …

A Millennial Student