We all love our smartphones. Some of us may even love them a little too much. While having unlimited access to all the content we could ever want might be one of the greatest privileges of the modern age, it’s one that also comes at a cost. And you know what I’m talking about: endless distractions, procrastination, time wasted… Our smartphones may offer incredible value, but they can also make us waste more time than ever before. Here are five ways to minimize – or even eliminate – most smartphone distractions:
1. Keep a clean smartphone home screen
By “clean,” I mean identify which apps provide your biggest distractions and remove those from your home screen. The home screen should only display a few apps, none of which are likely to distract you from more important tasks. Instead of placing Facebook and Twitter front and center, for example, simply remove them from the home screen entirely. That way they’re not the first thing you see when you pick up your phone. You’ll be less likely to waste time with them, and you’ll probably get a lot more real work done.
2. Turn your smartphone off at night
The logic behind this one is simple: If you turn your phone off at night, it won’t be on when you wake up in the morning. If your phone isn’t on when you wake up in the morning, your favorite apps won’t be there to distract you from breakfast, grooming, or the daily commute. For those who use their phones as an alarm clock in the morning, check to see if the alarm will still sound with the phone powered off. Many models will.
3. Leave your smartphone on your desk – all day
Sure, you’re at your desk most of the day, but not all day. You go to lunch. You take walks. You go to the gym. Just leave your phone on your desk when you do these things, and you’ll find that you’re much more involved in whatever other experiences you’re having. You’ll be more likely to talk to people (face to face!), and you might even find you’re spending more time on the treadmill or weight machines. Who knew limiting your smartphone use could be so healthy?
4. Bring a book with you when you’re out
Because if you go to the trouble to haul a book along with you, you give yourself something to look at besides your phone’s screen. Even if you’re reading an ebook, calls still come through, and there’s always the temptation to check Twitter (since it’s just a swipe and a tap away!). Unless you keep your device in airplane mode most of the time, distractions are just too easy to come by when you’re reading on your smartphone.
5. Delete one social media account. Just one
Do you really need to check four different social networks each day just to see what’s going on? Probably not. Sure, social media is fun and informative.
All of your friends are on Facebook, and most of them use it to organize just about every event you can imagine. But consider letting go of just one account.
It will give you one less excuse to start fiddling with your phone during the day. And less time on your phone means more time taking care of all that work that keeps piling up.
Adam Green is a freelance copywriter, simplicity advocate, and smartphone owner. At any given time, you can find him making a secure file transfer, using his Android device, or trying desperately not to use said device too often.