It’s the guide that helped Halle Berry to reassess her relationship with her smartphone. Now its author, Catherine Price, is sharing how you can do the same.
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If it’s the first thing you reach for when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you scroll through before you go to sleep at night, you may want to reassess your smartphone use.
Halle Berry, 54, revealed that’s something that she’s been doing recently. In an Aug. 20 Instagram post she admitted that she’s trying to “re-focus” her “energy away” from her smartphone and “set reasonable boundaries.”
And she credited Catherine Price’s “inspiring” book, How To Break Up With Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan To Take Back Your Life, with helping her to do just that. Five years ago, the author suddenly came face to face with the amount of time she was spending on her phone, specifically scrolling through eBay, shopping for doorknobs for her kitchen.
“I had a baby in the spring of 2015 and this coincided with this kitchen [renovation] project,” Catherine tells EXCLUSIVELY. “And I just had a couple nights where I was up really late feeding her and I would have these out of body experiences where I would notice that she was looking at me [with] her little newborn eyes and then I was looking down at my phone…”
“I suddenly realized, wait a second, this is not how I want my daughter to be experiencing the relationship with her mom. And it’s certainly not how I want to be experiencing motherhood,” adds the author who was essentially “phubbing” or “phone snubbing” her own baby.
What sprang from that was a reevaluation of her relationship with her smartphone and how much time she spent on it. Catherine turned it into a book, How To Break Up With Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life.
But, don’t freak out, she’s not suggesting that you give up your phone completely. “We’ve developed these unhealthy relationships with our phones and I think that we actually could stand, in many cases, to ‘break up with them’ so that we can find or create a relationship with technology that’s better for us,” she says.
In her book, Catherine divides her smartphone detox into four weeks, breaking the plan down into 30 daily actions. She’s sharing three simple tips here to get your started:
1. Pay more attention to how and when you use your phone. “The suggestion I give to people is to put a rubber band around your phone or a hair tie,” Catherine says of the tactic that she calls a “speedbump.” “It’s just something that when you reach for your phone, you’re going to have a moment of being, ‘Why the heck is there a rubber band around my phone?’ And that is your moment to recognize that you’ve reached for your phone. Part of the issue is that we do this so unconsciously, we don’t even recognize what we’re doing until it’s too late. I like to say you can’t change a habit if you don’t even know you have a habit to begin with.”
2. Do the WWW exercise. “[That’s] short for, what for, why now, what else?” Catherine says. The author encourages people to pause and ask themselves what they want to do on their phone, why they’re doing it now and what they can do instead to fulfill that need? “[In] so many cases, the ‘why now’ is actually an emotion that we haven’t recognized,” she says. “It might be anxiety. It might be loneliness…excitement, boredom, curiosity.” If that’s the case, is scrolling through Instagram going to soothe you or will going for a walk, for example, be a better option?
3. Clean up your home screen and tidy up your apps. “If an app is problematic, get it off your phone. If you’re always checking Instagram or your email, get it off of your phone. Either check it from a desktop or reinstall it any time you want to use it and get it off again,” she says, before using an excellent analogy to illustrate the tactic. “If you’re trying not to eat potato chips every afternoon, the easiest way to do that is not have potato chips in the house… So, if Instagram is not on your phone and you have a craving to check [it], you might decide it’s not worth it to wait for the 20 seconds it’s going to take to get Instagram back on your phone. It’s just another speedbump.”
You can find the full list of tips in Catherine’s book, How To Break Up With Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life. Or sign up for her three-day challenge on her Screen/Life Balance website.