How to Use Your Smart Phone without Becoming Stupid

I didn’t have a porn problem, but I did have a technology problem. For many months, I had found myself numbingly distracted by my new iPhone. I’m a stock market guy, a proud Motley Fool. But, before my Exodus, I was wasting time on the markets that should have been spent more intentionally at work and with those who are dear to me.

It makes sense that I found myself in this screen-addicted situation. Every time we look at our phones, we get a shot of dopamine through our brains. Dopamine is an organic pleasure chemical. It literally makes us feel good. Dopamine rushes happen when we smoke, drink, and gamble, all of which are extremely addicting behaviors. It’s the same with our screens. Ever wonder why you pull out your phone and you don’t even remember why? [It typically goes like this: Pull out phone. Unlock screen. Open app. Scroll. Close app. Open next app. Scroll. Close app. Repeat. Ad aeternum. In saecula saeculorum. Amen.] We live in a culture of screen addicts.

For that reason, the disciplines of Exodus 90 that attracted me the most were also the most difficult for me to do. Upon glancing at the regimen, it was apparent that if I entered into Exodus, I would leave a different man. No internet for non-work purposes. No television. No sports. No movies. No music. Finally, someone was calling me on to more. Here are two tips that helped me to use my smart phone less stupidly during Exodus and throughout my Day 91:

  1. Turn OFF your notifications. Before Exodus, I had my “market watches” set on my Robinhood app for every time a stock on my watch list moved more than 3%. I was also flooded each day with email and social media pushes. After a while, the only notifications that I realized I needed were Google Maps, for punctuality when traveling, and Slack for my work feeds. After a while, I found that I was much more focused and productive when I was not being bombarded by completely unrelated sources all day long. I learned that notifications did very little to wake me up to reality. They were taking me away from it and into a state of feeling inescapably busy.
  2. Group your apps into folders. As simple as this is, it was the single greatest break-through for me. I put all my different stock apps into the folder “Stocks”. And apps I used to buy things (Amazon, Etsy, Starbucks, etc..) into the “Store” folder. I made one for news and music too. What it did was add another layer, another click, for me to get into my apps. And I found that that was just enough time for me to remember my Exodus commitment to my brothers and to the Lord in the present moment.