Being away from the phone can be a daunting task because it is present in almost every moment of your life. Deciding to reduce the time you spend staring at the phone is not easy because of your constant relationship with it.
A while ago, while I was aggressively trying to use my phone less often, I rely on several apps and the tendency to check each alert pulled me back all the time. Speaking completely was not an option. I finally realized that it is about compromises and the creation of boundaries you can follow.
Fortunately, you can adopt habits to cut down on manageable ways. Here are those who allowed me to cut my use of the smartphone by half.
. Track everything with digital wellness tools
The first step toward combating smartphone addiction is to understand the severity of the situation. To do this, you need Apple or Google's digital wellness tools. Begin with iOS 12 and Android Pie, every iPhone and phone running stock has the ability to track your daily use and show exactly what takes you time.
On Android, this is available on Settings> Digital Wellbeing . If you don't have one yet, you can download the app from Google Play. On the IOS you find the function under Settings> Screen Time . We have taken a detailed look at Screen Timeif you want to learn about it before continuing.
In addition, you have access to various other insights such as weekly reports, app-specific statistics, how often you unlock your phone and more. If your phone is not running Android Pie, you can download a third-party application called ActionDash.
Download: Digital Wellbeing (Free)
Download: ActionDash (Free, premium version available)
2. Set Possible App Borders
Once you have determined which apps need time constraints, it's time to set limits. But the secret to a healthy detox is to start slowly. Blocking Instagram completely out of your life is not the solution yet. You must gradually become comfortable with limitations and continue to increase the limits at your own pace.
For example, if you regularly search Instagram for an hour, you should first separate one-quarter of that quota and set up a 45-minute limit. Do the same for the rest of your most time-consuming apps. Then the quota decreases even longer every week or two.
3. Even your phone can use some downtime.
The final digital wellness options you should explore are downtime (on iOS) and down (on Android). When enabled, all alerts are suppressed except for phone calls or exceptions you add.
On Android, the screen even shades gray. This is both easier on your eyes at night and much less distracting. You can turn this mode on to activate daily for a specific period, such as between the time you spend and when you wake up.
4. Remove addictive programs from the Home screen
Another handy little tip that has proven to be successful for me is simply to get rid of addictive app icons from the Home screen. It may sound a stupid, but trust me, it works. More often than not, unlock your phone to quickly check the time or alerts, but somehow end up surfing Instagram for half an hour.
If this scenario is too familiar, you should definitely give this a shot. Adding a few extra steps to get to your favorite tabs can go a long way. It will essentially help you break the propensity to launch apps like Facebook as soon as you open the phone.
5. Configure Alert Channels (Android only)
For the most part, it's due to the reason you quit your phone because of the constant flow of pings. But turning off all alerts is impractical, at least for important apps. Fortunately, there is a better solution: alert channels.
Alert Channels are an Android exclusive feature (available in Android 8 Oreo and above) that lets you adjust or mute a specific set of alerts from an app. For example, on WhatsApp, you can block unnecessary group messages while still receiving pings for one. -to-one calls.
To access an app's notification channels, go to Settings> Apps and Alerts> See All X Apps . Find and tap your app whose alerts you want to adjust, and select the Notification field . There you will find all the categories that you can easily disable and adjust.
Except you just deactivate a type of alert, you can change the notification type, sound, and more. Play around with it to find the best balance for you. Meanwhile, iPhone users should see our guide to take control of iOS notificationsfor a similar effect.
6. Use grayscale all the time
Modern apps are built to keep you imprisoned using multiple design practices. One of them is to use bright, bulky colors that give a sense of joy every time you interact with them.
The easy way out of it is to turn the phone's display to black and white. Grayscale also makes the phone look less interesting than the real world around you, which means you spend less time looking at it. Both iOS and Android phones have an option that allows you to achieve this.
If your phone is compatible with Google's Digital Wellbeing tool, all you need to do is add a custom quick setting tile called Grayscale . To do this, simply drag down from the top of the screen twice to open Quick Settings. Touch the pencil icon at the bottom and scroll down the list to see unused tiles. Drag Grayscale to a convenient position above and you will access it anytime.
Other Android users need to take a slightly longer route. You must first enable developer mode and then enter Settings> System> Developer Options . Scroll down to an option named Simulate Color Space . Select it and press Monochromacy .
On iOS, enter Settings > General > Availability > View Accommodations > Color filters and select Grayscale .
7. Don't leave your phone on the bedside table
Scrolling endless streams on the phone both before and after sleeping is detrimental to your rest and overall health. The best way to handle this habit is to not leave the phone on the nightstand at night.
Not only can this eliminate an hour from the screen time, but it will also help reduce the urge to continue pressing the snooze button. Of course, you can even invest in an old-fashioned alarm clock if you are used to setting alarms a few minutes before you have to wake up.
8. Try advanced third-party applications
If the above doesn't seem to work for you, or if you want to take more extreme action, you can always turn to third-party apps. You will find many services designed to equip you to overcome smartphone addiction, especially on Android.
One such app is a launch called LessPhone. As the name suggests, it overheats the home screen and strips it of every addicting element. All you have left is a couple of links to the most basic features like phone, SMS, to-do list and other basic programs.
If you feel you are unable to pull away and follow some of the mentioned methods, you can give Headspace a shot. It's a meditation app that lets you get better at self-control.
We've also looked at some other apps to combat smartphone addiction.
Download: LessPhone for Android (free, premium version available)
Download: Headspace for Android | IOS (Free, subscription available)
Be a more aware smartphone user
Changing how to use your smartphone is a long, demanding process. It took me months to make a change, but in the end I got the results I was hoping for.
Apart from the practices discussed here, you have many other ways to become a more attentive smartphone user.
Explore more about: Addiction, Android Tips, Habits, IOS 12, iPhone Tips, Productivity Impressions.