A Game-Changing Question to Ask Before Picking Up Your Phone

Is your phone addiction hindering you to be productive and get stuff done? This game-changing question to ask before picking up your phone will make a HUGE difference. Put some of these phone rules in place today and take back your time once and for all!

A Game-Changing Question to Ask Before Picking Up Your Phone

Recently with one of the latest updates to iPhone, Apple rolled out a feature that tracks the time you spend on your phone and how much time you spend on each app… AKA how much time we “waste” on our phones 😉

There are plenty of apps that monitor and track how much time we spend looking at our devices but this was the first one that automatically was uploaded to my phone with the update.

I decided to roll with it since one of my big goals this year was to have a mindset of:


A key feature is you can actually set daily time limits for each app which will notify you when you are about to go over time. I decided to set the time limits to what I *thought* would be kind of high… 30 minutes for Facebook, 30 minutes for email, 30 minutes for Instagram, and 30 minutes for the Apple news app.

I quickly learned, however, that those 30 minutes went by incredibly fast.

A few minutes here and there checking email, scrolling through Instagram, or catching up on the latest news quickly built up to 30 minutes for each app.

I was shocked at how much I time I was spending each day looking at my phone 😱

To further add to my experiment, I decided to note not only the time I was spending on my phone but also track the patterns of when I was reaching for my phone.

After 2 days of informally using a sticky note placed on the front of my planner, I realized that…

I look at my phone when I’m bored

I look at my phone when I’m procrastinating

I look at my phone when I feel stressed (which actually adds to my stress even more)

I look at my phone when I want to check-out

I looked at my phone when I feel lonely

I look at my phone to “appear” like I’m busy

Are you seeing a trend here?

I know I am!

Using the results of my hands-on case study 😉I put some hard rules into place immediately that have stuck with me over the past few weeks.

8 Phone Rules + 1 Question I Ask Before Turning My Phone On

1) Phone face down at all times which blocks my ability to see the text pop up notifications on my phone when they appear.

2) All notifications turned off, with the exception of the ringer. Text messages get a gentle vibration but no chime or ding.

3) Kitchen counter hours are back in full swing with a few set times where I give myself permission to scroll. This basically means that my phone sits face down on the kitchen counter (not carried around with me through the house) for the majority of the day. It’s close by if I need to grab it for a photo but it’s out of sight enough to not be tempted to look at it.

Tired of all the noise and distractions? Ready to be more present and intentional? The kitchen counter hours is the revolutionary way I started living more purposefully and focusing on the precious gifts right in front of me. Are you ready to try it too?


4) Phone charging overnight in the office, not on my bedside. I invested in a separate alarm clock so I’m not relying on my phone. I also turn it on to airplane mode beginning at 9 pm to not only keep me off my phone but to also silence potential mid-night notifications (the only exception to this rule is when the kids are spending the night with a grandparent and our phones need to be on in case they need to contact us).

5) Deleted Facebook off my phone. I kept Instagram because it works better on mobile than the desktop and I also kept my personal email (mainly for easy school and church communication) but deleted work/blog related email accounts.

6) Word before World, a concept I have learned from Gretchen over at Well Watered Women which means I’m not reaching for my phone right when I wake up but rather am reading God’s Word first thing. Most mornings this is when I write the Word the help wake me up.

7) Kept the social media and news app time limits at 30 minutes each. If I know I only have 30 minutes throughout the day, I’m much more intentional about being on certain apps.

8) The carpool line is for reading only, not scrolling through Instagram. Sometimes this means I have to plan to bring an actual book or I let myself use the Kindle app to read my current ebook.

The final one is a very important question I have begun asking myself…

9) Every time I reach for my phone, I ask myself “Why am I reaching for my phone right now?” before picking it up.

Am I bored? Procrastinating? Do I feel lonely, sad or stressed?

Or do I genuinely want to spend the next few minutes on my phone instead of doing something else, like read a book or listen to a podcast?

Being aware of why I’m reaching for my phone has greatly increased my productivity at home and has also helped me battle some of the discontentment that has been fighting for a place in my soul.

If I didn’t already have an adorable picture of my 3 kids as my lock screen, I might even consider creating one that asks that question, so I can see the words each time I turn on my phone!

A Game-Changing Question to Ask Before Picking Up Your Phone

You are free to save this image above and use as your phone lock screen. To save, right click image and “Save As” Upload to your phone’s image gallery and use as the back ground to your home lock screen.

Why am I reaching for my phone right now?

You guys, I’m only on week three of asking myself this question and having these phone rules in place but I have noticed a BIG difference in my attitude and my productivity.

This has been a game changer for me!

When I ask myself that question and really think about my mood, I have found myself turning to God’s Word more throughout my day.

I know there is nothing on my phone that will ever fill me up the way time in Scripture does. That is just a fact.

Being aware of this has really changed some of my habits, helped me to be more productive and has been a game changer in my day.

I should also note that I don’t have job responsibilities that require me to be connected outside of the office, but I think even if I did, many of these same rules could still apply.

What phone or technology rules do you have in place that helps keep your screen time in check?

Feel free to  share your tips and strategies with me in the comment section below!

A Game-Changing Question to Ask Before Picking Up Your Phone

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  1. I LOVE this. And I need to adopt these rules <3. I've been in a downward spiral with my phone habits lately, and you inspired me to set the screen time limits with a few certain apps ;). Thank you Victoria!

    1. Rachel, it is so easy to get caught up in the phone habit without even realizing it! I had to type this up and make it public for my own accountability too! 😉

  2. Debra Shipp says:

    What do you do when : ALL the affordable summits and bundles are online?

    My work involes finding and bidding on jobs online, then watching to see if I get the job. Part of the job is online? I hate to have to check my emails for all that goes with the job.

    I was not on the phone and comupter as much, until trying to learn and work for myself.

    Now learning EMF makes it all the more I want to be off. I try to listen to summits with phone down, not sure how much that helps. I like your site, this is my first time here. THANKS!

    1. That’s a good question because I also listen to a lot of podcasts and recorded teachings on my phone throughout the day while I’m doing other things. With that in mind, I do keep my phone screen off or face down so it merely serves as just a listening device.

      Other work-related tasks that involve screen time, I recommend using time boundaries, so when you are working on your screen you are working. Then give yourself blocks of time (and it may vary each day) where you are offline completely. I think that is good work-life balance anyways. We can’t always be online or working, there has to be time blocks where you work online and when you are offline living and enjoying life.

      I hope that answers your question 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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