Things I Personally did to Combat Smartphone Addiction
One Step at a Time
However, these, at the end of the day, are tips and suggestions. As a reader, I’m sure you’ve constantly questioned our integrity since these articles are targeted at people who actually find it difficult to look away from their phones.
Well, I think you would be glad to know that I do consider myself someone who is constantly in search of ways to tackle nomophobia but fails every time. In the last few weeks, though, I’ve begun aggressively adopting a handful of minor tricks which have allowed me to limit smartphone impact on my life to some extent. Here are four of them.
Learn to Master Notification Channels
More often than that, an article which talks about ways to overcome smartphone addiction begins with a suggestion to turn off notifications. However, in real life, that’s hardly practical at least for the essential applications. Fortunately, there’s a better solution and it’s called channels.
Since the Oreo update, Android now has the ability to let you mute a specific set of alerts from an app. Therefore, you can block unnecessary group messages on WhatsApp while still being able to receive personal pings. The majority of apps I use regularly are compatible with notification channels but there’s a chance, yours is not. In that case, you could either switch or request the developer to roll out an update for the same.
If your app does have support for it, all you need to do is head over to settings and then the applications list. Locate the one whose alerts you’d like to mute, tap the entry, and click the Notifications option. There, you’ll find all the categories which you can individually disable. You can also long-press a notification and directly mute the channel it belongs in.
Get Rid of the Colors
It’s no secret that modern smartphone applications are designed to captivate you through several interface and visual trickery. One of those is to employ bright, jaunty colors which convey a sense of joy every time you interact with them and are put together to keep you interested.
The way out? Switch to the grayscale mode which will sort of turn your phone into nothing more than a tool. Going monochrome also makes your phone look less fun than the real world around you which in turn impels you to spend more time outside instead of staring at that slab of a screen in your hand. You can, of course, return to the normal view when at the end of the day, you treat yourself with thirty minutes of Instagram. A grayscale option is available on both iOS and Android and doesn’t need a third-party app.
On Android, you’ll have to first enable the developer mode which can be done by tapping the “Build Number” in the “About” page of the settings. Now, go into the developer options and scroll down until you come across an option called “Simulate color space”. Select it and tap “Monochromacy”. All set. When you want to switch back, follow the same process and instead of Monochromacy, select “Disabled”.
On iOS, the steps are a lot more straightforward. Head into the settings, then the General section, and in there, “Accessibility. Now, select “Display Accommodations”, “Color Filters” after that, and finally choose Grayscale.
No Addictive Apps on the Homescreen
One of the small habits which have saved me from endless periods of procrastination is just eliminating addictive apps like Instagram from the home screen. Before every time I would unlock my phone for say checking an email, I would somehow end up on Instagram for an hour. The only reason apparently that was happening was due to the fact that the Email app was right next to Instagram. Removing the icon from there surprisingly is one of the key factors behind why I have finally managed to curb my nomophobia instincts.
Away from the Night Stand
Another hack which I’ve grown used to in the past few weeks is placing my phone away from the nightstand before going to sleep. This enables two constructive habits — you won’t be scrolling social feeds right before and after sleeping and second, you’ll have to get up for dismissing the alarm defeating the purpose of the snooze devil.
Those were a couple of habits I have regularly stuck to in the last few weeks and trust me, it does work. You’ll just have to be a bit patient. Of course, there are more substantial tips which you can look into such as switching to a dumbphone for a while or simply uninstalling apps like Instagram. You can read more about those here.