How to overcome smartphone addiction in 5 easy steps

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Most modern people spend a lot of time with their smartphone. According to a recentresearch, the average person spends four hours a day on games, social media and other applications. And this is already 28 hours a week – a considerable figure.

Editor and writer Megan Holstein has tried many methods to overcome smartphone addiction. She tried to completely remove social networks from the phone and even made the screen of her iPhone black and white, but all these measures did not work. As a result, Meganhas developed a five-step guide that proved to be more effective.

Megan Holstein

The problem with smartphone addiction is not the smartphone. If that were the case, then the correct solution would be to simply get rid of it. The problem is which apps you use and how.

Holstein warns you against the following mistakes before you begin the five steps:

  • Do not remove social networking applications from your smartphone. This is too radical a step . Social media is still needed: sometimes it’s the only way to connect with someone. If you delete them, then sooner or later you will have to go to the app store again and install clients.
  • Don’t limit the number of programs on your home screen. Surely you have those that you do not use often, but they are useful from time to time. For example, altimeter, TinyScanner and Authy. There is no point in deleting or hiding such applications.
  • Don’t give up on your smartphone altogether. Switching to a push-button ringer will deprive you of many advantages – convenient notes and task managers or maps, for example. Still, smartphones are useful, you just need to use them wisely.

And in order to painlessly get rid of addiction or reduce it to a minimum, try the following.

1. Distinguish useful apps from harmful ones

The first thing Megan suggests is deciding which apps are good for you and which ones are harmful (she calls these programs “toxic”). Useful applications are, for example, banking programs, calculators , dialers, calendar, cards, and so on. And all sorts of games, social networks and apps for selfies and filtering are most likely harmful.

But that’s pretty individual. For example, for most people, Instagram is “toxic” because it takes a lot of time and does nothing other than nurture your own ego. However, if you work with social networks, then Instagram can be useful and even necessary for you.

Holstein names the following signs of a harmful application:

  • You feel that the urge to discover and test it is overwhelming.
  • You regret spending a lot of time in it.
  • It makes your life worse, not better.
  • It is of no practical use.

Make a list of useful and toxic programs on your smartphone so you know where to limit yourself.

2. Remove really harmful programs

If you have any applications lying around in your smartphone memory that you do not use at all, delete them. And never set anything out of the “what if it’ll come in handy” principle.

When deciding to uninstall the application, spend a few minutes of your time and in addition deactivate the account associated with the program , if any. Firstly, it will be less tempting to install the program again, because you have to re-create the account. Secondly, the service will not remind you of itself, sending letters in the spirit: “You have not been seen for a long time, install our wonderful application.”

Then remove phone games. Yes, it’s a fun way to pass the time. But if you are reading this article, then you have caught yourself thinking that you are sticking too much in your smartphone. If you love to gamble, get a gaming PC or console.

3. Rearrange the remaining applications

Arrange programs in folders

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media apps can be useful, but only occasionally. And in order to be less distracted by them, their icons should be hidden as far as possible.

Move the icons to the second home screen and then group them into folders there. This will reduce the attractiveness of social media. Previously, to open the same Instagram , you only had to touch your smartphone once. Now you have to make three gestures – swipe to select the desired home screen, open the folder, and only then click on the desired icon.

The longer it takes to open the program, the less the temptation will be to do it. Plus, keeping unhelpful apps on your home screen will make it less likely to remind you of itself and make your eyes look worse.

Move harmful apps to the top

There are many different ways to sort your home screen icons. But if you’re struggling with smartphone addiction, your best bet is the one that Toronto-based web designer Avery Schwartz has come up with .

Avery places her apps based on how easy it will be for her to reach an icon with her thumb while holding her smartphone with one hand. She puts the most useful programs closer to the lower left corner of the screen (she is left-handed). And those that take a lot of her time go to the upper right corner.

If you’re right-handed, place your work, study, and sports app icons in the lower-right corner of your screen. And let all sorts of social networks and chats lie on top. The more difficult it is for you to reach them with your thumb, the less often you will open them.

Clean up your home screen

After you hide unnecessary applications somewhere in folders or in the bowels of the menu, you should place the really important things on the home screen. Task managers, note-taking , email client – everything that allows you to spend time efficiently.

Megan Holstein

Just remember the main rule: never place an app on your home screen that you don’t want to use often.

4. Disable most notifications

Turn off notifications in apps

Even when the social network client itself is hidden deep in the depths of folders and menus, it still continues to distract your attention with endless notifications. Fortunately, this is not difficult to stop .

Facebook

Open the Facebook client and click on the button with three horizontal lines, then go to “Settings”. Scroll down and find the Notification Settings section. Here you can customize in detail which notifications you want to receive from Facebook . The more you turn off the better.

In contact with

In the most popular domestic social network, you can get to notifications like this. Click on the button with three horizontal lines and find the gear icon on the screen to open the settings. There, the first item is “Notifications”. Choose when the application should disturb you and when it can wait.

Instagram

Click on your profile icon (icon with a figurine at the bottom right). Tap the three horizontal lines on top and go to settings. There you will find the item “Notifications”. Disable those that you consider non-urgent. For example, likes and messages about new subscribers.

Twitter

Tap the icon with three horizontal lines at the top and from the menu that opens, select Settings & Privacy. Open the “Notifications” section. Disable all the unnecessary heresy that Twitter feeds you .

Snapchat

Open Snapchat and click on your profile icon at the top left. Then tap the gear icon to open the settings. Select “Notifications” and disable what you don’t need.

Turn off icon notifications

App settings aren’t everything. In addition, smartphones can distract you in another way – red circles with a counter of unread notifications that appear on icons on the home screen.

This is a useful thing when it comes to something urgent. For example, when a red circle indicates that you have a missed call and need to call back.

But if someone tags you in a photo on Instagram, it is unlikely that it will require your attention immediately. And the red icon will only distract you. So turn off unread reminder counters for unimportant apps.

Android

The settings may differ slightly in different shells based on Android, but in general they are similar.

Open your Android’s Settings app and look for Notifications there. Go to the notification settings for each individual application on the system. Select the desired program and move the “Label on the application icon” option to the “Off” position. Repeat until you turn off all unnecessary notification counters.

iOS

On the iPhone, for this you need to go to the system “Settings”. Find the item “Notifications” there, and you will see a list of applications. In it, select, for example, some social network and click on it.

In the application settings, move the “Stickers” option to the “Off” position. Repeat these steps for each application that shouldn’t distract you with its badges.

Turn off notifications

Social media apps have pretty good and detailed notification settings. But in a number of other programs you will not find them. Fortunately, you can turn off unnecessary notifications through the system parameters.

To do this, go to the settings as indicated in the previous paragraphs for Android and iOS. Pick an app that is too important to uninstall, but too annoying to read what it says. Click on the item “Show notifications” and turn it to the “Off” position. Repeat this with all unimportant programs.

5. Install useful applications

So, you removed useless and unused programs, cleared your smartphone of toys, hid social networks deep in folders and set up notifications correctly. Now you need to go further and install something useful on your smartphone so that after limiting “toxic” applications, you do not have a feeling of emptiness.

Megan compares smartphone addiction to smoking .

Megan Holstein

An effective way to quit smoking is to replace a bad habit with a good one. Or at least more neutral.

Therefore, former smokers try to replace cigarettes with chewing gum, regularly drinking milk or playing sports.

It’s the same with a smartphone. When you feel that the urge to stick to the screen is irresistible, do not resist – just do not social networks, but more useful things. This is what Holstein is proposing to establish.

Duolingo

The most popular app for learning foreign languages. Enhances reading, writing, speaking and listening comprehension. The program has a fair number of alternatives for Android and iOS , so if Duolingo is not to your liking, you can choose something else.

Duolingo: Learn Languages ​​Free

Duolingo

Price: Free

Download

Duolingo

Duolingo

Price: Free

Download

ProgrammingHub

The gizmo is similar to Duolingo, but it doesn’t teach languages, but programming. The ability to write code is in great demand these days, and if you have a chance to learn it in a casual, playful way, why not do it?

Programming Center: Learn to Code

Coding and Programming

Price: Free

Download

Magnus trainer

Chess is not only a fun way to pass the time, but also a brain trainer. It is definitely worth learning how to play them, and this application will help you.

Magnus trainer

Play magnus

Price: Free

Download

Magnus Trainer: Learn Chess

Play magnus

Price: Free

Download

Elevate

A popular brain training app. It has a lot of exercises for pumping logic, concentration and memory. The app is in English, so you have to learn the language at the same time. Those who do not like this should take a look at the list of alternatives .

Elevate – Brain Training

Elevate Labs

Price: Free

Download

Elevate – Brain Training

Elevate, Inc.

Price: Free

Download

FBReader

What better effect on intelligence than books? Read quality fiction whenever you want. FBReader is a great app for this, but there are others that are just as good.

FBReader

FBReader.ORG Limited

Price: Free

Download

Place these apps on your home screen so that they are always in front of your eyes. And if you suddenly get bored, then instead of sticking to social networks and games, it is better to improve your English or solve logic puzzles. This is also a way to kill time – just more useful.

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