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?

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