Technology has changed all our lives, and I feel very fortunate to live in a time where I have access to almost any information at my fingertips. But for many of us, our phone has gone from an amazing tool to more of a distraction. We often spend several hours a day looking at our phones and don’t even realize it.
To regain a little bit of control over the relationship with my phone I made some simple changes:
1. Do not disturb
I've always loved the do not disturb mode. It helps me when I really want to get stuff done or when I’m waking up or going to bed. Being constantly distracted by the buzzing of your phone while trying to wind down in the evening or getting up in the morning gets annoying really fast. The same problem occurs when you’re trying to focus on work or when you’re doing something you enjoy like reading a book. So having your phone on DND can be really helpful if you want to focus on your tasks.
Another feature that really helped me to reduce my screen time is the grayscale feature. For those who don’t know what it does: It changes your screen to black and white. I find it really helpful when I use apps like Instagram or YouTube, because our brains have evolved to be quite sensitive to color. So having no colors to look at makes your experience way less interesting and helps you put your phone down quicker.
3. Organize your apps
Categorizing my apps into general folders made a huge impact on my phone usage. I created five separate folders: Work, Finances, Important, Random, and Stuff. I think the work and finance folders are pretty self explanatory. They consist of work- or finance-related apps like PayPal or my investing app.
In the folder named “Important” are all the apps I use on a daily basis, like WhatsApp, Gmail, the Healthy Minds app, and Instapaper. I could add Spotify, my calendar, or the clock, but I like to keep them at the bottom bar of my phone.
Then there is the “Random” folder. It includes apps like my Gallery, Shazam, Notes, or YAZIO. These are the apps that are kind of important but that I don’t use on a daily basis.
Lastly, I have a folder where I put all the other apps like the Calculator, Files, Contacts, and all of my social media apps.
I like to keep this folder on a separate page, because it helps me to be mindful about my social media consumption. I often find that the step of having to swipe, open a folder, and scroll down is enough for me to ask myself whether I’m opening an app because I actually want to consume useful information or am just going to waste my time looking at cat videos.