Strategies to cut down on time spent on your phone

I spend most days looking at a medium-sized rectangle—that is known as “working.” The issue: one other, smaller rectangle retains taking over an increasing number of of my consideration.

I’m speaking about my phone, after all, and it’s repeatedly the factor that stops me from doing deep work. However this goes past my job: My phone additionally distracts me from my household and the remainder of my life. The quantity of time I spend trying on the small rectangle has gone up yearly, as has the variety of instances I really feel compelled to decide it up day-after-day.

I needed to change my relationship with my phone—to have a look at it much less and reside life extra. It wasn’t simple. I’ve tried all kinds of tips over time. Right here’s what didn’t work—and what in the end did.

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Willpower doesn’t work

The very first thing I attempted was good old style willpower. This . . . doesn’t work. In any respect.

Perhaps will probably be completely different for you. Perhaps you’ve obtained nerves of metal and an infinite provide of ethical fiber. I don’t. For me, something that begins with “I’ll simply strive more durable to . . .” simply in the end doesn’t occur.

I’ve felt unhealthy about this over time, however I don’t suppose I ought to. A number of the smartest folks on earth are working, full time, to make the purposes and web sites on my phone as habit-forming as potential. Making an attempt to use my willpower to combat towards that’s like bringing a Celine Dion album to a breakdancing competitors. It simply isn’t up for the duty.

Actually bricking my phone didn’t work

Just a few years in the past, I attempted “bricking my phone” by attaching it to a brick-sized block of wooden. I’ll admit: this was efficient at decreasing my utilization, particularly through the workday. I’m much less doubtless to decide up my phone if doing so constitutes a full-body exercise.

It’s actually inconvenient, which made it efficient. The issue: It’s actually inconvenient.

Typically, after I’m not working, I like to go someplace known as “exterior,” and it’s helpful to have entry to my phone then. This implies I might inevitably take my phone off the brick, which suggests I might have an unbricked phone after I obtained again, which suggests I used to be taking a look at it once more.

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Just a few different issues that helped however didn’t clear up it

Just a few issues I attempted over time helped, however they didn’t clear up the issue. They’re:

Switching my phone to grayscale. This made my phone much less interesting to have a look at, which helped me accomplish that much less usually. App designers know the way highly effective colour might be to get you to faucet one thing, and this takes away that capacity totally. It doesn’t cease me from selecting up my phone, although.

Turning off Wi-Fi at evening. I plugged my router right into a bodily timer that turned off each evening, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. It actually stopped me from slipping into gaming or streaming at evening, however the mobile information was all the time there as a workaround.

Deleting distracting apps. I don’t want to have a look at Twitter or Fb on my phone, so I deleted Twitter and Fb from my phone. The issue: I might nonetheless open them with my browser.

What lastly solved the issue: Blocking my browser

Like I mentioned: deleting distracting apps solely went to date as a result of I might all the time use my internet browser to entry them. And truly, my internet browser was probably the most compelling app on my phone. So I blocked it.

That’s proper: I can’t use a browser on my phone anymore. It’s great.

I did this utilizing the parental controls on my iPhone. I blocked the browser totally and solely my spouse is aware of the password to open it. The social side is essential right here: The effort and embarrassment of asking her for that password are sufficient to hold me off my browser, and as such, off my phone.

Do I feel everybody ought to do that? No. Nevertheless it’s in the end what labored for me, and I really feel quite a bit freer to focus now. It’s made my work life, and my household life, higher. I encourage you to additionally take into consideration your relationship with technology—and the place you choose it worthwhile, take again management.


This article initially appeared on Zapier’s blog and is reprinted with permission.