Self Help

How to Break Up with Your Phone The 30-Da - Catherine Price

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 32 min read

Here is a summary of the copyright page:

  • The book is called How to Break Up With Your Phone by Catherine Price
  • It was published in 2018 by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House
  • The ISBNs are:
    • Trade Paperback: 9780399581120
    • Ebook: 9780399581137
  • The cover was designed by Loulou Clark and Lizzie Allen
  • The book is dedicated to “Clara”
  • The table of contents includes:
    • An Open Letter to My Phone
    • Introduction
    • Part 1: The Wake-Up
      • Chapters on phone addiction, dopamine, social media, multitasking, how phones affect our brains and attention spans, memory, stress/sleep/satisfaction, and taking back our lives
    • Part 2: The Breakup
      • Sections on “Technology Triage,” changing habits, reclaiming your brain, and a new relationship with your phone
    • Epilogue, acknowledgments, resources, notes, glossary, about the author, and index

The summary covers the key bibliographic details and outlines the contents and structure of the book based on the table of contents. Let me know if you would like me to clarify or expand on any part of the summary.

The author discusses how people can’t seem to resist checking their phones constantly, even when there’s likely nothing important or new to see. She cites various statistics showing how much time people spend on their phones and how frequently they check them.

The author discusses how she has become increasingly aware of her own unhealthy phone use and addiction. She realized she was picking up her phone without thinking, spending hours mindlessly scrolling, and that it was negatively impacting her focus, attention span, memory, reading, and relationships. She decided to investigate the effects of smartphones on the brain and psychology.

Initial research shows smartphones and excessive internet use can alter brain structure and function, harming memory, focus, empathy, sleep, and mental health. Smartphones also reduce in-person social interaction, especially among teenagers. The author argues that while smartphones have benefits, people need to be more aware of their addictive nature and set limits. Moderation and occasional “digital detoxes” are important for wellbeing.

In summary, the key ideas are:

  1. Smartphone addiction and overuse is extremely common but problematic.

  2. Excessive smartphone and internet use can have damaging effects on the brain, cognition, and mental health.

  3. Smartphones are reducing social interaction and relationships.

  4. Moderation, awareness of addiction, and periodic breaks from phones are important for health and happiness.

  • Jean Twenge, author of iGen, says smartphones are causing a mental health crisis in young people. The author researched this issue and could not find a good solution, so she decided to create her own plan.

  • The author and her husband did a 24-hour “digital detox” and avoided all screens for a day. It was eye-opening and restorative. They felt less distracted and more connected. They started doing regular “digital Sabbaths.”

  • The author recruited nearly 150 volunteers to test her ideas. She found that many people worry they are addicted to their phones, but they have the power to break the addiction. Breaking up with your phone can improve your life and relationships.

  • The first part of the book, “The Wake-Up,” explains how phones are designed to be addictive and the negative impacts, like on health and relationships. This is meant to motivate the reader.

  • The second part, “The Breakup,” provides a 30-day plan to establish a healthier phone relationship. It guides the reader to make sustainable changes without completely quitting their phone. Stories from others who have done it provide inspiration.

  • The author acknowledges some readers may not want this “gift” from a concerned friend or family member. But she says the plan can benefit anyone and encourages readers to try it, then pass the book to the gift-giver.

  • Breaking up with your phone requires effort but has significant rewards like improved focus, relationships, and life in general. Readers will reconnect with themselves and life off the screen. Overall, the author argues we need to change how we relate to technology and our phones.

• Smartphones are designed by companies to be highly addictive. They are engineered to trigger the release of dopamine in our brains, which makes us feel good and keeps us coming back for more.

• Dopamine teaches our brains to associate certain behaviors with rewards. Once our brains learn that checking the phone provides a reward, we start to crave it and become addicted to that feeling. We constantly check our phones to get another hit of dopamine.

• There are no “stopping cues” to tell us when we’ve had enough of our phones. This leads to unintentional binging and feeling gross, but instead of stopping we seek more dopamine by continuing to check our phones.

• This addictive loop is deliberately created by tech companies through “brain hacking” - using psychological tricks and behavioral design to keep people hooked on their products. They figure out exactly when to reward users to keep them engaged as long as possible.

• An example is how Instagram withholds “likes” and then delivers them in a sudden burst when their algorithm determines it will be most impactful to keep the user from closing the app. Users become part of an experiment to maximize their time spent on the platform.

• Many tech executives limit their own children’s access to smartphones and social media because they recognize the risks and manipulative nature of these technologies. But they continue to design them in addictive ways to drive high user engagement and company profits.

Here’s a summary:

• Social media and smartphone companies conduct experiments on users to keep them engaged for as long as possible. According to experts, users have become “guinea pigs” in these experiments.

• The techniques used to keep users engaged exploit human psychological weaknesses and triggers. These include:

  • Our craving for novelty and dopamine hits. Smartphones and apps are designed to deliver constant novelty and reinforcement to keep us scrolling.

  • Our inherent curiosity and love of cause and effect, like toddlers. The small rewards and reactions we get from using our phones, like notifications and “likes,” tap into this and keep us engaged.

  • Our susceptibility to unpredictable, intermittent rewards. Not knowing when we might get a notification or message keeps us checking our phones frequently. This is similar to how slot machines are designed to be highly addictive.

  • Our anxiety and fear of missing out. Smartphones deliberately trigger anxiety by constantly giving us new information that might be important. This makes us worry if we put our phones down. Checking them temporarily relieves the anxiety but also strengthens the habit loop.

  • Our desire to feel loved and socially affirmed. Features like ratings, reviews, “likes,” and judgments on apps tap into our need for social approval and validation. Even though these digital affirmations don’t really matter, we find them hard to resist.

• In summary, technology companies exploit vulnerabilities in human psychology to keep people using their products as much as possible. This can have negative consequences, like increased anxiety, distraction, and addiction. The key is recognizing these psychological tricks and trying to limit their influence.

  • We use social media constantly to seek validation from others through likes, comments and shares which shows that we matter and are lovable. However, this can lead to depression and low self-esteem as we obsessively check for responses and compare our lives to curated versions of others.

  • Platforms are designed to keep us endlessly scrolling and watching by automatically playing next videos and episodes. This makes it hard to stop using the platforms.

  • We love to customize our phones to reflect our individuality but have little control over features that don’t encourage more phone use. This shows that platforms manipulate our desire to feel special to keep us engaged.

  • We use our phones to avoid being alone with our thoughts. A study found people would rather shock themselves than sit alone with their thoughts for 15 minutes. Our phones are tools that make sure we never have to be alone with ourselves.

  • Social media platforms are like Trojan horses that trick us into sharing private information and oversharing by appealing to our desire for connection and validation. They are actually in the surveillance business, gathering information to sell to advertisers.

  • Social media is free because users are not the customers. Advertisers are the real customers and they pay social media companies for users’ attention and information. Engagement metrics like likes and shares are how they evaluate and profit from attention.

  • Every moment spent on social media is time and attention being taken away from real-world relationships and experiences. This valuable attention is sold by social media companies to turn a profit.

  • Social media incorporates designs like likes, notifications and autoplaying media that effectively steal attention and keep people endlessly scrolling. The metrics and design tricks are meant to be highly engaging, not to help us connect.

  • In summary, social media platforms are highly engineered to manipulate human desires and weaknesses in order to capture attention and profit from it. But by understanding why they work the way they do, we can take back some control over our technology use.

  • Installing a Facebook demetricator plug-in that removes like counts can help reduce obsession with social media validation. But platforms don’t provide these options because it could reduce user engagement.

  • Studies show the more people use social media, the less happy and satisfied they are. Smartphone use, especially among teens, has been linked to increased unhappiness, loneliness, depression and even suicide rates. Real-world social interaction and relationships suffer.

  • The amount of personal information people share on social media is concerning. Companies like Facebook collect huge amounts of data about users from social media and other sources to better target ads and make money. They have little incentive to curb the spread of misinformation and “fake news.” This can undermine a shared sense of truth in society.

  • Multitasking is a myth. The human brain cannot perform two demanding cognitive tasks at once. What we call multitasking is really rapid switching between tasks, which reduces productivity, hampers problem-solving and critical thinking, and is mentally draining. Studies show “heavy multitaskers” are actually worse at task-switching and filtering out distractions. But they wrongly believe themselves to be good at it and take on more and more.

  • Overall, the summary suggests that while social media and smartphones offer certain benefits, they are damaging our attention spans, memories, relationships, and well-being. Reducing usage and avoiding distractions and multitasking can help mitigate these effects. But tech companies have little incentive to curb overuse or encourage more balanced technology use.

  • Our ability to focus is limited. We can truly focus on only one cognitively demanding task at a time. Doing dishes while listening to the news isn’t really multitasking because one activity isn’t demanding our full attention.

  • Our brains are constantly changing in response to our behaviors and environment. London cab drivers who spend years memorizing the city’s layout end up with enlarged spatial memory centers in their brains. Similarly, frequent smartphone use is likely rewiring our brains in ways that impair our ability to focus.

  • We spend an average of over 4 hours a day on our phones, engaging in frequent distraction and task-switching. This intense focus on distraction is rewiring our brains to crave constant stimulation and struggle with sustained attention or deep thinking.

  • Distraction is our brain’s default mode; we’re evolutionarily wired to notice changes in our environment. Smartphones hijack this tendency by providing a constant stream of new information, triggering our brain’s “hunger” for information and distraction.

  • Concentration requires actively choosing what to focus on and ignoring distractions, both of which expend mental energy and can lead to “decision fatigue.” The more we’re distracted, the worse we get at ignoring distractions and sustaining focus.

  • Reading on screens is more distracting than print. Having to decide whether to click on links and ignore ads pulls our attention away from content, making it harder to understand and remember what we read. Print reading primarily activates parts of the brain involved in comprehension, while digital reading involves more distraction-related regions.

In summary, our frequent smartphone use and exposure to constant digital distraction is damaging our ability to focus, absorb information, and think deeply. The associated brain changes undermine our capacity for sustained attention, comprehension, and decision making.

  • Our brains have limited working memory capacity and get easily overloaded. Smartphones bombard our working memory with information, causing mental fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and impaired memory formation and connection of new information to preexisting knowledge structures in our brains.

  • Smartphones provide constant access to emotional stimuli that can rapidly and frequently change our moods and emotional states, often in an uncontrollable fashion. This emotional turbulence and inability to maintain a stable mood or emotional state was previously considered symptomatic of psychological issues but is now common as a result of smartphone use.

  • Smartphone use at night, especially right before bed, exposes our brains to blue light that inhibits the release of melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy. This makes it harder to fall asleep, harms sleep quality, and creates a kind of “jet lag” effect. Smartphone use at night is detrimental to sleep in other ways as well.

  • In summary, smartphones overload our working memory, create emotional instability, and disrupt our sleep, all of which are harmful to our well-being. While smartphones provide benefits, we must be judicious in how we use them to limit these negative impacts. Moderation and mindfulness regarding smartphone use are key.

  • Our phones negatively impact many areas of our lives, including our sleep, ability to focus, creativity, and relationships. The effects are damaging both in the short and long term.

  • To counter these negative effects, we need to practice mindfulness - the ability to see our experiences clearly and objectively. Mindfulness helps us identify the triggers and cravings behind our phone addiction and gives us the ability to resist acting on them.

  • Our minds constantly send us invitations to act or feel in certain ways, like checking our phones. But we don’t have to accept every invitation. Mindfulness helps us notice these invitations and choose which ones to accept.

  • Most addictions are driven by a desire to feel good or avoid discomfort. To break our addiction to phones, we need to determine what emotional needs we’re trying to meet by using them. Mindfulness also helps with this.

  • Some tips for resisting phone cravings:

  1. Notice the craving and sit with the discomfort. Don’t try to make it go away. Relax into it. This helps it pass.

  2. Question the invitation from your mind. Ask why it’s inviting you to check your phone and see if there’s another option.

  3. Focus on your senses and environment. Notice smells, sounds, sensations, etc. This can shift your mind from the craving.

  4. Do some light exercise like walking. Physical movement is a great distraction and releases feel-good hormones that combat the craving.

  5. Connect with others in person. Call a friend or go see someone face to face. Social interaction releases oxytocin which helps overcome cravings and addictions.

The key is practicing mindfulness regularly so you get better at applying these techniques when phone cravings arise. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and the less power your addiction has over you. With time and consistency, you can overcome unhealthy phone habits and take back control of your wellbeing.

  • Changing our relationship with technology, especially smartphones, requires intention and preparation. An all-or-nothing approach usually fails.

  • We need to do a “technology triage” to assess our current relationship, identify what’s working and not working, and determine what we want to change.

  • The guiding question for this process is: “What do you want to pay attention to?” We should come back to this question frequently to stay focused on our goals.

  • Some examples of what people want to pay more attention to include: surroundings, nature, art, feelings, friends, experiences, conversations.

  • Once we determine what we want to change, we can take concrete actions like: downloading tracking apps, deleting social media apps, turning off notifications, tidying our phones, changing phone charging locations, using app blockers, setting no-phone times and zones, stopping “phubbing” (phone snubbing), practicing meditation and mindfulness, and taking a “trial separation” from our phones.

  • The key is to start with our personal phone use before addressing work use. Any changes to personal use will likely affect work habits.

  • Doing the breakup with others provides support and accountability. But there’s no need to judge yourself harshly if you slip up. Just acknowledge it and get back on track.

  • The goal is “consciousness” - using our phones intentionally instead of mindlessly. Some mindless use is fine, but it shouldn’t be the default.

To help stay focused on what’s important, set your phone’s lock screen to a reminder like “What do you want to pay attention to?” This can be a photo of something or someone meaningful to you. Whenever you unlock your phone, this reminder will help center your thoughts.

To increase the likelihood of following through, schedule and add key dates for your “phone breakup” to your calendar now. This could be scheduling each of the 30 days individually or setting a single repeat reminder for the entire 30 days. The trial separation around day 20 is especially important to schedule.

On day 1, download an app to track how often and how long you use your phone. Don’t change your behavior yet, just gather data. Compare your estimates to the actual results in a few days.

On day 2, assess your current relationship with your phone. Note what you love and don’t love. Notice how phone use impacts you positively and negatively. Write your future self a note envisioning the ideal new relationship in a month and your accomplishments.

On day 3, start paying close attention to your phone use and how it makes you feel. Notice triggers, cravings, emotions before/during/after use. Do a “phone meditation” - notice how you feel, check your phone and notice changes, put phone away and notice changes. Most people don’t feel better after using their phone.

On day 4, analyze your tracking data and observations. How did your estimates compare to reality? What surprised you? Review when/why you use your phone and how it makes you feel. Choose a few situations to modify. Maybe turn off certain app notifications or set time limits. Start with small, sustainable changes.

The key is self-awareness. Pay attention to your tech use and how it impacts you. Make choices consciously rather than by habit. Start with small changes, evaluate what works, and build on your success. Consistency and compassion for yourself are key. Small improvements each day can lead to big changes over time.

The prompt asked you to describe how and why you typically use your phone, how it makes you feel, and what you noticed about your levels of dopamine and cortisol. Several people shared responses indicating that they reach for their phone out of boredom or habit, but then end up spending more time on it than intended. Many found it led to feelings of anxiety, distraction, or wasted time. However, being more mindful about phone use and deleting social media apps helped cultivate a sense of flow and more enjoyment of the present moment.

Overall, people noticed that while phones provide short bursts of excitement, they ultimately lead to less productivity, connection, and well-being. Building “speed bumps” to make more intentional choices about technology use, like the “WWW” technique of asking “What For?”, “Why Now?”, and “What Else?” before grabbing your phone, can help break unhealthy habits and restore balance.

Deleting social media apps, in particular, forces you to be more deliberate if you do want to access those platforms. You can always reinstall the apps or check the sites through your browser, but removing the apps from your phone makes it less convenient and helps avoid mindless scrolling. This small change, along with reframing your mindset to say “I do not have social media apps on my phone” rather than “I can’t use social media apps,” gives people a sense of control and freedom in their relationships with technology.

Spending more time engaging with real friends and loved ones, rather than virtual connections and notifications on social media, also consistently leads to greater happiness and satisfaction. Overall, building healthier phone habits requires awareness of how you actually use and feel about your technology, as well as a willingness to experiment with strategies that help you reconnect with the real world.

Here are two summaries:

Summary of Siobhan’s quote: has made a huge difference.” meaning that the amount of time not using social media has caused a significant positive impact.

Summary of Vanessa’s quote: “I really liked some of these apps, but the weird thing is that I don’t miss them at all.” meaning that although Vanessa enjoyed using some social media apps, after stopping their use she did not feel their absence or wish to continue using them.

The key takeaway is that reducing or eliminating social media use can have benefits like reduced anxiety, less distraction, and more enjoyment of real life interactions and experiences. Both quotes express how the participants found social media absence to be positive, even if they had previously enjoyed using the platforms.

  • According to Localytics, users who opted in to receive push notifications from apps used those apps 3 times more per month than users who did not receive push notifications.
  • Push notifications are designed to pull our attention away from what we’re doing and compel us to check our phones. They reinforce habit loops that diminish our productivity and presence.
  • The author recommends turning off nearly all phone notifications except for phone calls, messaging apps, and calendar alerts. This helps reduce distraction and ensures you only receive notifications you actually want.
  • The author recommends personalizing your phone in a way that reduces distraction. This includes:
  1. Organizing apps into a few categories:
  • Tools: Useful apps that improve your life without stealing attention (maps, photos, etc.). These should be on your home screen.
  • Junk food apps: Fun but potentially distracting apps (social media, news, shopping, email, etc.). Hide these in folders on secondary screens.
  • Slot machine apps: Highly distracting apps that provide little benefit (social media, games, dating apps, etc.). Delete these.
  • Clutter: Unused apps. Delete.
  • Utility apps: Somewhat useful apps. Put in folders on secondary screens.
  • Undeletables: Mandatory apps you can’t delete. Hide in folders on secondary screens.
  1. Putting apps into folders on secondary screens. This makes the icons too small to see immediately, forcing you to open apps more intentionally.

  2. Deleting or hiding highly distracting “slot machine” apps.

The overall goal is to personalize your phone in a way that promotes focus and intentionality. Reducing notifications and distractions helps achieve this goal.

• Sort your apps into folders to organize them and make the habit of launching apps by typing their names into the search bar, rather than scrolling through the apps. This prevents getting distracted by other apps.

• Turn your phone display to grayscale to make the phone less tempting and attractive.

• Customize your menu bar by removing attention-grabbing apps like email and browser and add essential apps you want easy access to.

• Reorganize your phone into a curated, minimal setup:

  • Menu bar: a few essential apps
  • Home screen: tools
  • Second screen: some entertainment apps and email
  • Third screen: utilities and miscellaneous apps
  • Delete distracting apps

• Change where you charge your phone to break the habit of checking it in bed. Charge it in another room so you have to make a deliberate choice to use it. Get a separate alarm clock.

• Set up triggers to help build good habits, e.g. lay out exercise clothes, choose a book to read, take your instrument out of its case. Make your environment conducive to the habit.

• Identify the rewards behind your phone habits and find alternative ways to achieve the same rewards, e.g. if distraction is the reward, take a walk or chat with someone instead of checking your phone.

• Download an app blocker to block access to distracting apps while still allowing you to use useful functions. Set up block lists for different contexts like work time, evenings, weekends. Use the blocker when you want focused time.

  • Establishing no-phone zones, like no phones at the dinner table or in the bedroom, helps reduce distraction and conflict. It removes the need to make a decision in the moment about phone use.

  • Giving your phone a wake-up time, like not checking it for the first hour after you wake up, allows you to do something restorative like reading, exercising or cooking breakfast. You can put your phone in airplane mode or use an app blocker.

  • Avoid “phubbing” which is snubbing someone in favor of your phone. Don’t check your phone during conversations or at social gatherings. Ask others for permission before checking your phone when together. Turn phones off or put them in a basket when guests visit.

  • Deal with other people’s phone use by explaining you’re trying not to phub, ask others for permission before they check their phones or take a photo of people on their phones at dinner and text it to them.

  • If you’re a parent, boss or teacher, set rules against phone use and follow them yourself. Offer tech breaks if going completely phone-free isn’t possible.

  • If you’re a kid and your parents phub you, call them out on it directly or passive aggressively to make them feel guilty.

  • When with others, don’t respond to texts or calls or leave the room if you do respond. Adjust do not disturb settings to allow calls from emergency contacts if needed.

To reclaim your brain from the effects of constant technology use:

•Turn on Do Not Disturb mode and allow only calls from favorites. You can also set a feature to override Do Not Disturb if the same person calls twice within 3 minutes.

•Practice “Stop, Breathe and Be” - stop what you’re doing, take a slow deep breath and focus on the present moment. Do this before reaching for your phone. Follow up with “WWW” - What For? Why Now? What Else?

•Practice stillness and pause when you have the urge to check your phone. Identify situations where you regularly check your phone out of habit and commit to being still in some of them. It may feel uncomfortable at first but your brain will adjust.

•Exercise your attention span with focus practices like actively listening to music, reading print books, journaling or doing yoga. Start with short periods of time and build up. These activities strengthen your ability to focus and ignore distractions.

•Incorporate mindfulness meditation into your routine. Choose something in the present moment to focus on, like your breathing. When your attention wanders, gently bring it back to your breath. Start with just 5-10 minutes a day. Meditation reduces anxiety, increases cognitive control and enhances your ability to focus.

•Consider how changing small habits and focusing your attention in everyday tasks can positively impact other areas of your life. The way you do small things is how you do everything.

• Taking a break from your phone and other internet-enabled devices for 24 hours is called a “Trial Separation.” The goal is to prepare you for reconnecting with your phone in a healthier way.

• To prepare, identify exactly what you’re taking a break from, tell people what you’re doing, get others to join you, make plans for how you’ll spend your time, print any directions you might need, get a notebook to write down things to do later, set an automated out-of-office message, create a list of phone numbers, set up call forwarding, and consider using a text auto-responder.

• The Trial Separation may be difficult as you detox from your phone. You may feel irritable, impatient, or upset. Sit with the discomfort or do an enjoyable activity. You may also struggle to focus—use this as an opportunity to build your attention span.

• Suggested activities during your separation include:

› Make room for serendipity. Without your phone, you can stumble upon new discoveries.

› Connect with others. Call friends on a landline, meet in person, or write letters.

› Get bored. Do nothing and see what arises in the stillness and silence. Boredom sparks creativity.

› Move your body. Go for a walk or hike, do yoga, garden, cook, etc. Physical activity reduces stress and boosts mood.

› Reflect and recharge. Journal your thoughts, meditate, read, take a bath, get extra sleep.

› Do an enjoyable hobby. Cook, bake, craft, woodwork, play music, fly kites, ride bikes, etc.

• If there’s an emergency, use your phone. And remember that others around you have phones too if you need help.

• The point of the Trial Separation is to build your self-sufficiency and realize how much of your life doesn’t actually require a smartphone. This helps create a healthier dynamic with your phone when you start using it again.

The passage suggests doing several things to recapture the sense of discovery and connectivity that comes from unstructured time away from our phones:

  1. Take walks in unfamiliar neighborhoods. Trying new restaurants or events allows for chance encounters and fleeting social interactions that can boost our mood and sense of connection to others.

  2. Have brief, casual interactions with strangers like chatting with a waiter or joining in group cheers at a sports bar. These “fleeting relationships” can make us feel more connected to society.

  3. Do fun activities with real people in person. While technology connects us remotely, in-person social interaction is important for wellbeing.

  4. Reflect on what you observed, thought, felt, and wondered during your phone-free trial separation. Discuss with others who participated. This can yield insights into your relationship with your phone and how you want to use technology going forward.

  5. Practice regular “phasts” or short phone fasts. Like intermittent fasting for the body, occasional phone-free periods give our minds time to rest and rejuvenate. Start with 30-60 minutes at a time when avoiding your phone seems pleasant. Build from there.

  6. Notice and manage the mental “invitations” you get to check your phone. Pause, evaluate why you feel the urge to use your phone, and choose an alternative like doing nothing at all. Apply this approach to other urges and impulses in life.

  7. Unsubscribe from email lists and be more selective about notifications. Limit time spent on social media and practice more mindful use of technology. Maintain real-world social interaction and a sense of balance in life.

In summary, the key themes are cultivating serendipity and connection in everyday life, resting your mind through phasts, developing awareness and intentionality around technology use, and maintaining healthy balance.

  1. Establish phone-free zones and times, like not using your phone for an hour before bed. This helps create healthy boundaries.

  2. Turn off notifications to avoid distractions and the urge to check your phone. Only check certain apps at certain times.

  3. Unsubscribe from email newsletters and unfollow people on social media to declutter your digital life. Set up filters and folders to organize what’s left.

  4. Linking your accounts and signing in with social media can compromise your privacy. Consider separating linked accounts.

  5. Ask yourself what the best possible outcome is from checking your phone before you do. This can help curb impulse checking.

  6. Use the sight of other people on their phones as a cue to not check yours. Take a deep breath instead.

  7. Consider a regular “digital Sabbath” where you take a longer break from your phone, like a full day once a month. Some tips for making this easier include using separate devices for certain functions, turning on “do not disturb,” downloading maps ahead of time, and getting a landline.

The overarching principles are: establish boundaries, curb impulse checks and distractions, declutter and simplify, and experiment to find what works for you. The key is developing a healthy and balanced relationship with your phone.

The key to maintaining a healthy new relationship with your phone is to develop good habits and routines. This includes:

  1. Establishing healthy phone use routines, such as not having your phone in the bedroom, limiting use at meals, and only using it for specific purposes like navigation or calling. The specifics of these routines will vary for each person.

  2. Using good manners with your phone like not using it when spending time with others, watching something, driving, or in classes. Let others know how you expect them to use their phones around you as well.

  3. Giving yourself breaks from strict phone rules and not being too hard on yourself if you slip up. Schedule in time each day just to use your phone freely without guilt. Build up your focus over time.

  4. PHAST - Putting your phone away for periods of time, as decided by each individual. For example, not using your phone when traveling or camping.

  5. Having a life outside of your phone by engaging in enjoyable phone-free activities regularly like hobbies, socializing, exercising, etc.

  6. Practicing pausing by taking moments each day to be still without your phone like while commuting or waiting. Use this time to breathe and be mindful.

  7. Exercising your attention through activities like meditation, trying to do one thing at a time, reading books, etc. These help strengthen your focus and ability to be away from your phone.

checking in with yourself regularly by asking questions about your progress, goals, challenges, and wins. Make any needed changes to stay on track.

Recognizing your accomplishments from the breakup and being proud of the progress you’ve made in gaining control of your relationship with your phone. Maintaining a balanced and healthy dynamic with your phone is an ongoing effort that requires diligence and self-compassion. But the benefits to your wellbeing, relationships, and productivity can be huge.

Here’s a summary of what I’ve done over the past month:

• I used to think my phone was essential to staying connected, but now I realize it was disconnecting me from the present moment and real interactions. I’ve learned that life feels richer when I’m fully present.

• I’m happy to know that reducing screen time and distractions has made me calmer and more focused. I’m sleeping better and feeling less anxious.

• I’m proud of myself for making efforts to reconnect with friends in person, rather than just catching up via text or social media. Those in-person interactions feel so much more fulfilling.

• Overall, this experience has taught me that I have more control over technology than I realized. My phone is a tool, and I can choose when and how to use it, rather than feeling like a slave to its demands. I plan to continue being more mindful about my phone use going forward.

Comparing this to the note I wrote when I first started this breakup, I can see how far I’ve come. I went from feeling anxious and unsure about disconnecting to finding real benefits and life lessons in the experience. I have a newfound sense of confidence in my ability to curb distractions and be fully present. This has been an enlightening journey, and I’m grateful for what I’ve learned. While constant connectivity seemed so normal before, I now know there’s another way to live—one that feels centered, calm and connected to what really matters.

  • The writer and her husband use Ooma, an internet-based phone service, and are happy with it.

  • Tools like Hootsuite and Doodle can help schedule social media posts and meetings without endless emailing. Calendly allows you to share your availability and have others book time with you.

  • To gain control of email, use extensions like Boomerang to schedule messages and Inbox Pause to limit alerts. Another option is Inbox When Ready which hides your inbox unless you explicitly want to see it. Set limits on how much time you spend checking email.

  • The Light Phone is a minimalist phone that only makes calls. It allows you to disconnect from your smartphone without getting a separate phone number.

  • Share your ideas, experiences and recommendations by submitting a form on

  • Statistics show most people check their phones constantly, as much as 47 times a day and spend 4 hours a day on them. Nearly 80% of people never leave home without their phone and half check it during the night or in bed. Phone use is linked to increased stress, anxiety, depression, and physical issues like repetitive strain injuries.

  • Smartphones are designed to be highly engaging and addictive. They activate the same neural pathways as other addictions. The constant notifications and social media updates give us dopamine hits. This can impact attention spans and focus.

  • Tech companies and app makers benefit financially from keeping people engaged and distracted. They collect huge amounts of data which is then used for advertising. The average person spends 1/3 of their life on social media, totalling nearly 40,000 years of human life per day.

  • You can install extensions to hide metrics on sites like Facebook in order to reduce their addictiveness. Researchers found Facebook use was associated with decreased well-being in 2017.

The study found that increased Facebook use correlated with decreases in psychological well-being and life satisfaction over time. The findings confirmed previous research showing links between Facebook use and feelings of depression, loneliness, and sleep problems.

A review of the research found that the more people use Facebook, the worse they feel. Facebook use is linked to feelings of envy, inadequacy, and loneliness due to curated posts about the lives of others.

According to a survey, teens who spend more time on smartphones and social media are more likely to report mental health issues. Smartphone use is associated with increased rates of anxiety, depression, and loneliness in teens.

In his memoir, a former Facebook product manager revealed that Facebook collects huge amounts of personal data about users to manipulate their emotions and behavior. He called Facebook’s data collection practices “the biggest accumulation of personal data since DNA.”

Research shows that constant notifications and distractions from our devices overload our working memory, making it difficult to focus. Even brief interruptions significantly disrupt our concentration and cognitive abilities. Multitasking by switching between smartphone apps also impairs our attention and memory.

Excessive smartphone use is linked to increased risk of insomnia, stress, fatigue, and impaired cognitive performance due to the screens’ blue light and psychological stimulation. Losing sleep can negatively impact mood, mental and physical health, and daytime productivity.

Mindfulness practices like meditation can help build awareness and control of our automatic mental habits and tech cravings. Studies show mindfulness training effectively reduces behavioral addictions and unhealthy phone use. Seeing our tech cravings as passing mind events rather than as compulsions can help us resist them.

Strategies for improving your relationship with your phone include turning off notifications, designating no-phone zones and times, unsubscribing from email lists, deleting social media apps, and practicing “phone fasting.” Setting healthy boundaries with your devices and being more mindful about how and why you use them can help reduce anxiety, increase life satisfaction, and improve well-being.

Here is a summary of the specified entries:

The focus of the book is on shifting one’s relationship with and usage of smartphones. Several strategies are suggested:

  • Take a “digital sabbath” by avoiding phones for a day
  • Remove social media apps and disable notifications
  • Set clear rules around phone use for yourself and your family
  • Practice mindfulness and be fully present during meals and meetings
  • Respond to messages on your own schedule rather than constantly checking
  • Make time for exercising, reading, and other hobbies away from phones

The goal of these strategies is to develop a healthier balance and break addiction to the constant stimulation of smartphones. Several problems are discussed, like depression, lack of focus, and “fear of missing out.” The book provides practical tips for improving wellbeing by changing habits and reclaiming time spent mindlessly scrolling.

The key message is that we can reshape our relationship with technology by being more intentional and balancing phone use with living in the present moment. Making these changes requires effort but can lead to significant benefits for both individuals and society.

Does this help summarize the main ideas and topics covered in the entries? Let me know if you would like me to clarify or expand on any part of the summary.

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About Matheus Puppe