Of course you’re not addicted to your smartphone. You can stop any time you want. That time you sat through three traffic light cycles because you just had to respond to your old kindergarten teacher’s Facebook post was a special case. And that time you interrupted your own wedding vows to check your work email? Well, that was just bad timing.
Fortunately there are a number of ways one might curtail smartphone use, if one had the notion. These range from the old-fashioned to the latest in cutting-edge technology. Yes, strange as it may sound, when it comes to keeping your smartphone use in check, there’s an app for that. Read on to discover ways that smartphone addicts, whoever those poor souls might be, are helping themselves.
Cold Turkey? Or Step by Step?
Recent research tells us that quitting smoking is best done all at once, but a smartphone addiction seems to be a different problem. Most of us actually want to use our smartphones sometimes, perhaps even often. We just don’t want to be tied to them, or miss out on important moments with friends and loved ones.
Tips to Reduce Smartphone Use:
- Unfollow people on social media who do not happen to be your real friends. This could reduce the amount of clutter in your timelines and newsfeeds.
- Turn off notifications. Yes, all of them. This alone will make a big difference in your life.
- Put a basket near the dinner table for all devices to wait during the meal. Make the table a no-device zone 100% of the time.
- Before bed, cover your phone screen with a sticky note that reminds you to exercise, stretch, or have a healthy breakfast before you look at your phone in the morning.
- Pick out a book or magazine to read before bed to avoid temptation. Research has shown that the lights from smartphone screens can scramble the body’s internal circadian rhythms, making falling to sleep difficult.
Apps to the Rescue
For those of us who may need an extra boost in curtailing our smartphone use, there are a handful of apps that can step in and help.
Offtime is free with contributions accepted for Android and $2.99 for iOS. It blocks distracting apps like Facebook and games during designated times of the day to help you focus, and includes information about just how much time you spend on your smartphone so that you can track your improvement.
BreakFree is free with in-app purchases for both Android and iOS, tracks your usage, and breaks down your that information into an “addiction score,” making it the premier choice for those who are looking to make breaking their addiction a fun challenge.
Moment, available free on iOS, not only tracks your usage but sets limits daily, notifying you when you’ve exceeded your goal time. There’s even a setting that practically shoos you off your phone by flooding the screen in obnoxious bells and whistles.
Available for free on Android, AppDetox enables you to set limits on an app-by-app basis, and when you break one of your own usage rules, it reminds you to put down your smartphone. An app for device-detox … a sweet irony.