Stop keeping your phone in your pocket

Published on in NoSurf

A trouser pocket is way too easily reachable. I often find myself reaching for my phone automatically even if I don't have anything to do with the phone.

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Maybe you can reduce your phone usage with discipline, but then it doesn't make sense to keep your phone one hand gesture away. It won't be just about discipline anymore; it will also be about addiction and automatic habits.


Addiction is easily more powerful than discipline. Especially if you need to be disciplined all the time, like if you have your phone always easily reachable (in your pocket). Trying to be disciplined all the time wastes mental energy.

It doesn't make sense for a drug addict to keep drugs in their pocket.

If you are addicted to your phone – and I think most people are – you are a junkie and your phone is your drug.

Automatic habits

Taking a phone from your pocket is just one step: put your hand in your pocket and grab the phone. It's easy to do that automatically, without even thinking about that.

Trying to avoid automatic habits wastes mental energy too. Instead, make the habit impossible – keep your phone away from your pocket.

If you are at home, keep your phone out of sight, like in a closet behind doors (but not in your bedroom!).

If you are elsewhere, keep your phone in a back bag. Taking your phone now requires more than one step: first you have to take the bag from your back, than open a zipper, and then can you grab the phone. Doing these steps probably isn't very automatic.

A fanny pack would be cool too, though I wonder if taking a phone from one would quickly become too easy and automatic.