During outings, I have noticed many people checking their phones very often while spending time with family and friends. I thought how I had not checked my phone for a bit and reached down to grab my phone and check for emails and then I realized that I was with family and I don’t really need to be checking my email or Facebook on a Saturday night.
From a recent study in the journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing (view report), shows that these “checking habits” usually last 30 seconds and happen often within a 10 minute period. Users in that study had checked their phones about 34 times a day out of habit. It is very common and hard to avoid since it seems to be natural in society.
The brain likes the feeling of new things. Getting an email or other notification feeds the brain. When the brain becomes used to getting positive feedback through messaging, reaching for the phone almost becomes a reflex.
You pay the price of losing your train of thought every time you check your phone. You can also annoy other people with your constant phone usage. People also use this habitual checking to avoid people that they would rather not interact with.
You know you are a Habitual Checker when:
- You check your email constantly.
- You annoy other people with your habit.
- The thought of not checking gets to you.
The best way to get rid of this habit is to acknowledge that this is becoming a problem, have phone / internet free times during your day and week, as well as have phone free zones. Try keeping your phone overnight out of your bedroom and keep your phone tucked away in social situations so that you can actually enjoy the company.