A few weeks ago, I was sitting in my living room in the morning with my kids watching TV as I was scrolling through Instagram. I had this one thought. What am I doing?

There was an incredible article that came out a few days ago by Kevin Roose called, “Do Not Disturb: How I ditched my phone and unbroke my brain“. Every Pastor, parent, teacher, and student needs to read this article. In the article Kevin Roose states how he diagnosed his phone problem, “I found myself incapable of reading books, watching full-length movies or having long uninterrupted conversations.” He eventually moves on to try to deal with a phone addiction and has this incredible conversation with someone who specializes in helping people recover from cellphone addiction. Catherine Price, a science journalist, states how to correctly deal with an addiction or a phone addiction, “Instead, her program focuses on addressing the root causes of phone addiction, including the emotional triggers that cause you to reach for your phone in the first place.” Isn’t it so true about the way we medicate our problems or the worries in our lives? You might not medicate with an affair, it might just be a bag of chips or scrolling endless through instagram or twitter.

We are addicted to our phones, but the question is what is the root cause of the addiction. What are we looking for? What is the trigger?

When I teach sessions on tech I always start with a phone addiction quiz. We are so quick to think that someone else is the problem, but when I do the quiz, I realize that it’s not them, it’s me. We are the ones who are equally in awe of the apps and the instant gratification that comes from our phones. I am the one who scores 8 or higher on the quiz below. I am the one who needs to cut down on my cellphone consumption.

Enough about me, what about you? My question is how addicted to your phone are you?

Take this quiz: 

1. Do you find yourself spending more time on your cell or smartphone than you realize? Yes / No

2. Do you find yourself mindlessly passing time on a regular basis by staring at your cell or smartphone? Yes / No

3. Do you seem to lose track of time when on your cell or smartphone? Yes / No

4. Do you find yourself spending more time texting, tweeting or emailing as opposed to talking to people in person? Yes / No

5. Has the amount of time you spend on your cell or smartphone been increasing? Yes / No

6. Do you wish you could be a little less involved with your cell or smartphone? Yes / No 

7. Do you sleep with your cell or smartphone (turned on) under your pillow or next to your bed regularly? Yes / No

8. Do you find yourself viewing and answering texts, tweets and emails at all hours of the day and night—even when it means interrupting other things you are doing? Yes / No

9. Do you text, email, tweet or surf while driving or doing other similar activities that require your focused attention and concentration? Yes / No

10. Do you feel your use of your cell or smartphone decreases your productivity at times? Yes / No

11. Do you feel reluctant to be without your cell or smartphone, even for a short time? Yes / No

12. Do you feel ill-at-ease or uncomfortable when you accidentally leave your smartphone in the car or at home, have no service or have a broken phone? Yes / No

13. When you eat meals, is your cell or smartphone always part of the table place setting? Yes / No

14. When your cell or smartphone rings, beeps or buzzes, do you feel an intense urge to check for texts, tweets, emails, updates, etc.? Yes / No

15. Do you find yourself mindlessly checking your cell or smartphone many times a day, even when you know there is likely nothing new or important to see? Yes / No


1 – 2. Your behavior is normal but that doesn’t mean you should live on your Smartphone.

3 – 4. Your behavior is leaning toward problematic or compulsive use.

5 – or above: It is likely that you may have a problematic or compulsive Smartphone use pattern.

8 or higher- If your score is over 8 you might consider seeing a psychologist, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist who specializes in behavioral addictions for a consultation.

Now what?

There is hope. There is hope when you look honestly at yourself. Catherine Price in the article in the New York Times writes, “Your life is what you pay attention to.” What is your phone distracting you from?

I agree in the article where he asks three questions before going on his phone. These simple questions will help you, “I put a rubber band around the device, for example, and changed my lock screen to one that showed three questions to ask myself every time I unlocked my phone: “What for? Why now? What else?”

What for? Why now? What else? (We will have this as a image you can screen shot over on our instagram account)

Those three simple questions will help you clarify what is your phone distracting you from. I think those three questions will help you understand and battle the reason you are picking your phone up a 100 plus times a day.

The biggest battle we will fight daily is this question: “Your life is what you pay attention to.” Why is it your phone? What a terrifying, challenging, inspiring question to wrestle with.

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