If you’re reading this article, then you’ve probably developed a love/hate relationship with your smartphone. I mean, who doesn’t love the convenience of having a pocket supercomputer with you at all times to conveniently split a dinner bill or grab a taxi? And who doesn’t hate being inundated with a relentless barrage of distractions that are, admittedly, self-induced?
Luckily, there are some powerful, practical ways to look at your phone less and get more done in 2018!
Identify the Biggest Distractions
This is quite easy to do! In iOS, go to Settings > Battery, and you’ll see a list of your most used apps. There is an option to view this list by Last 24 Hours or Last 6 Days. You can even view the minutes/hours of screen time by clicking the clock icon on the far right.
For Android users, pull down your Notification bar, tap the Settings icon, tap Battery, and then Battery Usage.
Delete the Perpetrators
If you spend a disproportionate amount of your day on a time-killing app, it may be time to delete it. If you can’t live without a specific app, there are ways to reduce your usage without quitting cold turkey. For example, you can delete your most addicting apps during the day and then download them again at night. If that sounds tedious, it’s because it is! But you’ll definitely find yourself looking at your phone less, if only for fear of wasting your precious monthly data.
Only use the Desktop version
Facebook and Twitter started with desktop interfaces (all those years ago), and Instagram has finally made a usable web app. The main benefit of only accessing commonly used apps via desktop is that you don’t have them following you wherever you go!
Turn Off Notifications
If you won’t wean yourself off an app, you can at least reduce the frenzied buzzing and blinking of notifications off your phone. You can do this with individual apps in iOS under Settings > Notifications. On Android, go to Settings > Apps & notifications > Notifications > App notifications. Now you can select your most prolific notifiers and shut them up completely!
Disable your Web Browser
If you’re like me, then your phone’s biggest timesuck is the web browser. Unfortunately, you can’t delete the stock browser without rooting your device, but you can hide or disable it!
In iOS, go to Settings > General > Restrictions. Enable Restrictions and then choose which apps you’d like to restrict (Safari).
In Android, go to Settings > Apps and notifications > Select the browser (Chrome) > Disable.
Download Useful Apps
Your phone will feel much different without your most used apps and browser. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself unlocking your phone to scroll over to an app that no longer exists—old habits die hard!
But the temptation to undo all your hard work is strong if you don’t replace your bad phone habits with new ones. Here are a few useful apps to consider:
- Flipboard. Read the news without the added pitfalls of random internet rabbit holes!
- Instapaper. My favorite way save articles for later and keep ones that were especially insightful. It’s kind of like the Kindle app for articles. Much more efficient than binge reading on a web browser. It’s especially useful when paired with the Chrome desktop extension.
- Kindle. You can finish entire books in the bathroom.
- Paper by Fiftythree. Rekindle your creativity and sketch something amazing.
- Duolingo. Learn a new language, a few minutes at a time.
- Do you have a useful app suggestion? Let me know in the comments!
Wishing all you geeks good luck in your resolution-ing for 2018! Happy new year!