This post summarizes tactics I have used to minimize smartphone distractions. These strategies help improve focus and mental well-being.
iPhone has an option to disable display colors. This makes everything (all apps) gray white or black. Addicting apps become much less visually stimulating as a result. The downside is using some apps becomes difficult. For example Yelp ratings are hard to distinguish because the two-toned red squares blend together. Gogray.today is working on a solution which excludes chosen apps from the color filter.
The iPhone setting is found in Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters
Restrict Web Sites
If you are unhappy with how much time you spend on a given website, you can restrict it and break the habit. The restrictions work for Safari, and Chrome apps. You won’t be able to browse to the site unless you go and remove the restriction.
Go to Settings > General > Restrictions > Allowed Content > Websites > Never Allow > Add a Website…
If you restricted a website that also has its own app (e.g. all popular social media platforms) you will want to remove the apps to break the habits of checking those.
Recently I deleted my email client app. I had a bad habit of checking my inbox immediately after waking up and dozens of times throughout the day. I might be a little out of date on discussions, but I still have calendar access. So far so good!
Don’t Sleep Near Your Phone
Leave your phone in another room when you go to bed. This way you aren’t tempted to pick it up when waking up in the middle of the night or the morning. Use a watch or alarm clock if you need one.
Put a timer on your WiFi
If you have a habit going to bed late because of the internet, use a timer. You can get a $5-$10 electrical outlet timer from a hardware store. These can we set up to turn off the power for set intervals. Set it to power down your internet modem/access point upon your sleep deadline. It will keep you in check even if you really want to keep binging Netflix. And set it to power on a little bit after you wake up and start the day. This way you can get quality sleep and start the day on the right foot.
Wear a watch to keep track of time
It’s amazing how many times per day we busy people check the time. Simply wear a watch so you don’t have to always have your phone in your pocket. This way you can stay on schedule even when unplugging for a while.
Turn off app notifications
By default, most apps want (in every possible way) to notify us and get our attention. Always start with saying no. Then, add in minimal notifications for the apps you care about. iPhone has different types of notifications, too. Badges, sounds, banners. A nice minimal set up is to only allow notifications in history. This setting will not allow distracting pop-ups. Experiment to find what works best for you.
Do Something Else First
It’s tempting to grab your phone first thing in the morning. Try not to do this because it starts your day off poorly, it clutters your mind. Do the rest of your routine first, your emails and other stuff can wait.
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