One of the most effective ways to regain control over our phones is to build speed bumps: small obstacles that force us to slow down.
By creating a pause between our impulses and our actions, speed bumps give us the chance to change course.
The first is an exercise I call WWW, which is short for What For, Why Now, and What Else. (You might want to consider putting “WWW” on your lock screen as a reminder.)
Any time you notice you are about to reach for your phone, take a second to ask yourself:
What For? What are you picking up your phone to do? (For example, to check your email, browse online shopping sites, order dinner, kill time.)
Why Now? Why are you picking up your phone now instead of later? The reason might be practical (I want to take a photo), situational (I’m in the lift), or emotional (I want a distraction).
What Else? What else could you do right now besides check your phone?
If you do your Ws, and then decide you really do want to use your phone right now, that’s totally fine.
The point is simply to give yourself a chance to explore your options for that particular moment so that if and when you turn your attention to your phone, it’s the result of a conscious decision.
What else could you do right now besides check your phone?