With 3 kids under 5, I rarely talk on the phone, usually because it’s so loud around me. But, texting and Facebook updates are still my lifeline for staying connected to friends and planning my day. Recently, I noticed I was starting to feel TOO connected, so I made some changes. Here are my 5 real tips for putting the phone down while driving, or any other time.
1. Put it on silent. My phone is always on vibrate, which means I miss 90 percent of my phone calls. But I don’t care. I prefer the phone being on vibrate, so that when I want to see texts, calls or emails, I can. But, my phone isn’t beeping every few minutes and making me feel like I need to check it.
2. Mute the conversation. This is especially helpful for the group texts that you still want to get, but don’t want to be alerted for every new message. If you’re using an iPhone, go to the conversation, click on Details in the top right corner, and then push the Do Not Disturb toggle to the right. You’ll still get the new texts in this conversation, but your phone won’t vibrate or have the message on the welcome screen each time you get a new message. I love this function!
3. Put it away. Like, really away. When I’m driving, I started leaving my cell phone and my bag in the very back of our Suburban. After loading the kids in the car, I’d just open the back hatch and put my bag and cell phone in there before getting into the driver’s seat. I’ve never missed anything important, and I’m more focused, not only on driving but on what my kids are saying to me.
4. Use an app. There are lots of apps out there that can help cut back on texting while driving, but I love SafeTyEEN‘s vision because it’s automatic. As soon as the app senses the Bluetooth in your car, it disables the phone. It’s designed as a safety tool for teen driving, but it can also provide accountability for adult drivers, too. The app is still in the development stages, but they have a Kickstarter campaign if you’re interested in sponsoring development.
5. Log off social media on your phone. About a month ago, I logged off Facebook and Instagram on my phone. I love it! Instead of having the urge to check it at a stoplight or while we’re at the park, I’m actually engaging in the moment. Then, when I’m at home, I’ll check on my laptop. It’s much faster and feels less cumbersome. It’s so freeing to be off social media and only check it a few times a week. I love it!
Bonus tip: Don’t bring it. Sometimes, on Sundays, I don’t bring my phone to church and I realize I am so much more centered, focused and present. (One time, I went a full 36 hours with no cell phone, laptop or TV, and it was glorious.) Also, at my morning boot camp, I used to like to have my phone with me to keep track of the time, or take a picture of the sunrise. But, I started leaving it in my car, and it’s made me feel so much more calm, and in the moment. Try leaving the phone at home or in the car when you can, and you might just love it!
Any other tips to add? Share them in the comments section below. And if you want to be part of SafeTyEEN’s Kickstarter campaign, visit their page and sign up!