GOING SIMPLE :: WEEK 6 :: Phones

You know what sucks? When you have to admit that you’ve failed at something. Like, not just oops, I’ve made a temporary mistake. But like, Hi! I totally suck, and yet I can’t stop myself.

I’m taking a major hit to my pride this week and admitting to you that I have a major problem.

I’m addicted to my phone.

The entire #GoingSimpleChallenge exists because of my own personal past mistakes. So why not work on our phone use too? This year’s bonus week is going to push us all to scroll a little less, and amp up our hands on, real life experiences a whole lot more.

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Why have boundaries with phones?

We’ve talked boundaries a lot during this year’s challenge. A life without boundaries is a life out of control. Boundaries help keep our stuff in line.

The size of our closet controls our wardrobe. Compartments in our makeup bag control our cosmetics stash. Our pantry storage and our budget control how much food we buy.

What controls our phone use? The craziest thing with phones is they were made to fit within our hand, all the time, with no restriction, limit or… well… boundaries.

And we never stopped to question it. We scroll, text, chat, upload, download and use. We use our phones until the batteries are dead. This is addiction.

Ten Tips to Conquer Phone Boundaries

This last year I’ve been working hard this last year to amp up the real life and decrease my phone use. I’ve noted some helpful habits, as well as some major triggers. So here are ten simple tips I use to decrease phone use.

1. Notifications. Silent is our new best friend.

Do you want every app to beep and buzz when there’s a new alert? Or are there essential apps you should focus on, and the rest can be silenced?

My preference? All notifications off, except for phone calls and text messages. Emails deliver quietly (meaning they show up in my notifications center silently). Otherwise, unless I manually open an app, I’m not alerted of activity.

2. Screen Time App. Establish personal boundaries.

The Screen Time app on my iPhone has been a lifesaver. I never knew how much I was actually on my phone until I started to monitor use.

Think of the Screen Time app as a babysitter for you + phone!

  • Monitor Your Use – What apps are sucking up your time?
  • Set Limits – Give the heavy hitters a daily time limit!
  • Establish Down Time – Your family deserves you more than your phone does.

3. Wallpaper. Create a visual reminder.

I refresh my wallpaper every few weeks. Family faces, nature, or inspiring words. Always a theme of ‘things I should be choosing over my phone.’ The visual reminder as I reach to check apps helps deter me from an unnecessary scroll fest.

4. Store It. Name a home for your phone.

Through the Screen Time app, seeing my unconscious amount of phone pick ups, I realized I needed to put an additional physical barrier between myself and my phone.

Remember when our phones were literally connected to our walls… this is a modern take on the corded phone. Keep it docked somewhere during the day that doesn’t involve your hand or back pocket. If I keep my phone on me, I’m too tempted to check it regularly. If I store it in the drawer, it’s out of sight, and out of mind!

5. Pick a Hobby. Keep your hands full.

In motherhood, I find myself needing to mindlessly occupy time while I do all the *mom* things. This is a major trigger to reach and scroll.

Choosing to fill my hands with a book or hobby has been a healthy substitute for phone use. And positive benefit, I’m left with much less anxiety (hello to the new wave of Instagram Inadequacy and Motherhood), and instead I’m more relaxed and fulfilled.

My current read, Foundations! So beautiful and so inspiring! For a list of my fave books, head here!

6. Eye Contact. My family deserves better.

If I’m on my phone and my child walks in the room, do I want them to see the top of my head as I’m looking down at a screen? Or do I want them to see me, present and ready to listen?

I’m still a work in progress on this one, but my goal is to always set my phone upside down and make direct eye contact with them.

7. Disconnect. From every device.

Our phone isn’t just in our palm and our back pocket. It’s in our car speakers, on our wrist and in our ear buds too. What is so crazy, is how our phones have permeated every aspect of our lives.

When it’s time to disconnect for the day, don’t just tuck the phone away. Ditch the other tech too. At 7:00 PM, my phone hits “down time mode.” That means my watch is donezo too.

8. Set Family Boundaries. And stick to them.

Talk to your family! Do you have goals for regular, tech free connection? Establish set times in your home where phones are not allowed.

We have a strict “no screens allowed at meal times” rule. All meals are phone, tv and tablet free. Benefits? Our kids can rely on meals for reconnection, and it helps establish healthy eating habits too!

Don’t just stop there, establish personal goals too! I try to only pick up my phone with intention + setting a timer! (ie “checking my inbox for 10 minutes” or “five minute leisure scroll”). I pair this with a tip from my friend Stephanie and try to stay off my phone until 9 am. The latter is much harder, but any effort is better than no effort at all!

9. Sleep. Let your device rest, so you can too.

Leave the phone out of the bedroom! Take those chargers and get them off your bedside table. Plug your phone in somewhere else. The last thing you need in your head at night is someone else’s thoughts. Same goes for the first thing in the morning.

10. Take The Challenge. Go Simple with your phone.

GO SIMPLE. Clear out your phone. Ditch the visual noise so your phone can be a more peaceful place.

  • Delete unused apps
  • Back up photos and videos (I use Google Photos), then clear them out
  • Delete old messages and emails
  • Update notification settings
  • Establish phone boundaries (storage spot, no phone times, intentional usage goals)

LISTEN. Get inspired with this podcast by Ed Mylett. It’s a quick 14 minute episode, and so worth your time.

SIGN UP. This week we are taking a five day social media detox! Stephanie at @500secondstojoypodcast has worked her magic again and put together an AMAZING five days of emails to inspire you this Wednesday through Sunday as we detox from our phones.

Sign up for the emails HERE!

SHARE. Encourage others to establish boundaries with their phones too! Share the Instagram story slide template below to share your progress. Make sure to tag @houseofeilers + @500secondstojoypodcast when you do!

We are so excited for you to create and accomplish amazing things with this week’s challenge! Our lives are intended for so much more than what lies within our screens. Keep doing big things friend, you are so capable.



BONUS :: Free wallpaper for your phone!


Ten Completely Free and Simple Ways to Self Care

Screen Time Resources

10 Tips to Limit Screen Time

Tips to Rotate and Organize Toys for Independent Play

Going Simple WEEK 4 :: Toys

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