18 ways you can tell you spend an unhealthy amount of time on your phone

These devices aren't going anywhere anytime soon, except in front of our faces of course. Here's how to tell if you're overdoing it.

Everybody has got one and everybody is incessantly on one.

Need to win an argument? Google the answer immediately. Need to escape from a social interaction that feels uncomfortable or difficult? Retreat into your group chat. Need to feel jealously and contempt for people you hardly know? Mindlessly scroll the bird app. And on, and on. There’s simply so many reasons people are on their phone, but that doesn’t mean those reasons are valid.

Feel like you’re on yours too often? Here’s how to tell if you or someone you know is spending far too much time on their phones.

#1. You look up the actors while watching TV

It’s become second nature for many people to check their phones while watching TV or movies. This habit is driven by the need to know everything we can about the actors, crew, and plot. We want to find out more about the people behind the production, and we want to do it right now. But as we check social media, we miss crucial plot points that may be essential to understanding the story. The urge to multi-task is difficult to resist, but it’s important to try to focus on one thing at a time to get the most out of it.

#2. You forgot the purpose of signs

When you’re walking around an outdoor mall you’re starring at maps on your phone to find the location of a store instead of just looking up and using your eyes to spot the signage of the store in question.

#3. You Instagram a beautiful moment instead of enjoying it

The last time you saw a sunset and didn’t Instagram it right away was before you had Instagram.

#4. You research too much and talk yourself out of trying something new

If you’re planning on going out to eat somewhere you can’t just be spontaneous and go, you have to check out the entirety of the operation through Yelp and other websites, then judge the place before you even try, and most likely ultimately talk yourself out of going.

#5. You’re uncomfortable with being alone with just your own thoughts

You’re so afraid of the thought of being alone with your thoughts even for just one moment that you’ll immediately just jump on some app to scroll when that moment arrives, even if it’s just a few seconds at a stoplight.

#6. Irritability when away from your phone

If you experience anxiety or irritability when away from your phone or if your battery is low, you’re definitely too dependent on the device.

#7. It comes out at the slightest provocation

Anytime something organic is about to develop in your life you miss out on it, because you fumble to get your phone out to post it as if your life is so crazy random all the time.

#8. Way too many selfies


Every event you go to you post a picture of yourself just standing in front of the event (preferably with your arm around somebody’s shoulder) and immediately post it to be sure everyone knows you were in fact standing in front of an event today.

#9. I don’t want to come up with titles any more

When you’re hanging with a group of friends you feel compelled to text a separate group of friends about wishing you were hanging with them instead, but you’re still having a good time with these people. Although, you’re not because you’re on your phone texting people not in attendance.

#10. The phone is gaslighting you

You’ve uttered the phrase, “I think it’s raining right now,” because the weather app told you it was, but then you went outside and it clearly wasn’t. However, you’re honestly confused because the phone told you it’s raining.

#11. You have storage issues

You’ve got concert footage that’s taking up all your storage space that you’ve literally never watched again, because the sound quality is horrendous and it’s mostly the back of people’s heads jumping in front of you. You just felt so compelled to video it in the moment, rather than not experience it through your screen.

#12. Phantom buzzing

Simply put, you feel a phantom buzz multiple times throughout the day, because you feel a yearning to look at your phone.

#13. Peeking in the middle of conversations

In the middle of conversations with another actual living, breathing human you’ll touch the power button on your phone just to check and see if you’ve missed any notifications when you in your heart of hearts know that you didn’t.

#14. Experiencing actual physical symptoms from prolonged phone use

Too much phone use can lead to physical symptoms such as eye strain, neck pain, or headaches.

#15. You have the quick draw

When it comes to checking actual notifications, you’re like a quick draw, because you can get your phone out and swipe it open faster than a “Wild West” gunslinger.

#16. You stay on the toilet for far too long

Your legs have gone to sleep more times than you can count from all the times you’ve spent sitting on the toilet long after you’ve finished doing your business, but you’re right in the middle of some great article like this one.

#17. It’s your best friend even when eating

Your phone is always right next to your plate at any given meal indicating that if the food or conversation is lackluster you’ll be diving into something else real quick.

#18. Checking your phone in the middle of the night or immediately upon waking up in the morning

If you instantly reach for your phone when waking up in the middle of the night or in the morning, it may be a sign that you’re too attached to your device. You’re creating a sense of urgency and stress before you’ve even started your day. It’s important to establish healthy boundaries with your phone use and create a tech-free period before bed and upon waking up in the morning.

Related: Digital detox: here’s what happens when you give up tech for a week