There’s no doubt why the era we live in today is called ‘Digital’. On a daily basis, a lot of our activities revolve around using different apps and services for things related to work, entertainment, leisure, etc. In fact, technology has garbed us to an extent where we have now started finding ways to overcome our excessive phone usage behavior to keep our minds healthy and stay productive. It may come as a surprise, but a lot of the companies that make these devices are now coming up with services to inform users of their phone usage habits so that they can control their usage behavior, spend less time on the phone, and in turn, be more productive.
By now, there’s no doubt that you are not here just for a read. Instead, you are likely here to find a solution to the same problem – excessive phone usage. To the point where it has started hindering your productivity. So, here are some tips that have been curated to help you detox your iPhone and be more productive throughout the day.
Before beginning, I would suggest that you first analyze your usage behavior to get an idea of the level of phone addiction you are going through. Thanks to the new iOS 12, you get pretty clean and detailed usage statistics about the time you spend on your iPhone. But, to check, you need to.
Go to Settings > Screen Time.
Here, under the option ‘Screen Time’, you can see your usage behavior for the last seven days based on different apps curated categorically. Apart from just viewing your usage statistics, you also get options like – ‘Downtime’ – to schedule time away from the screen, ‘App Limits’ – to set limits for apps, and ‘Always Allowed’ – to choose apps you want at all times, and ‘Content & Privacy Restrictions’ – to block inappropriate content.
Once you get an idea about how much time you spend on your device, you can proceed with the following steps accordingly. If your usage behavior exceeds more than 2-3 hours a day, you might need to consider taking more steps to limit your usage compared to someone with less than an hour of use, for example.
Now then, let the detox-ing begin.
Make apps in-accessible
Though the most obvious solution to deal with the problem is to delete the app itself. But, for some, it may not be ideal. If you fall into this category, there are two things that you need to do:
- Put all your apps (distracting ones) in one single folder to make them less easily accessible.
- Disable Siri Search and Suggestions: for this, you need to
go to Settings > Siri & Search, and disable ‘Suggestions in Search’. And then scroll down to individual apps, select them, and turn OFF ‘Siri & Suggestions’. Once done, a new option would pop up that says ‘Show App’. Turn it OFF.
By doing so, you won’t be able to easily find an app from the home screen (springboard). In addition to that, you won’t be able to search for an app from the spotlight as well.
Delete unused apps
Often, we end up downloading apps that we rarely or barely use, which makes our devices cluttered and confusing. A better option is to sift through your apps and find the ones you no longer use or find distracting and delete them immediately.
It’s true, the more appealing your device is, the more you would want to use it. To counter this, Apple has included an option in its settings called ‘GrayScale’, which turns the device grey-ish and unattractive when enabled.
To enable this, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Colour Filters, and enable it. Once done, a drop-down menu will show up, choose ‘Greyscale’ from the options.
Alternately, you can also assign a shortcut to enable greyscale (triple-click Home Button). To do this, go to Settings > General > Accessibility Shortcut, and select ‘Colour Filters’. Now, every time you triple-click the Home Button, your device will apply the grey color filter.
Turn OFF Notifications (except for important ones)
One of the triggers that cause people to open an app and end up spending hours on it has to do with notifications. Simply put, consider a scenario where you are working on something with all your attention, and suddenly your phone buzzes to notify you of any activity on your social apps. On most occasions, you end up viewing or responding to such notifications, and there goes your day.
The best way to combat this situation is to disable notifications for all the apps, excluding the important ones like – phone, message, etc. To do this, you need to go to Settings > Notifications, and under the section ‘Notification Style’ disable the notifications for each app individually.
Alternately, you can also go to Settings and scroll all the way to the last section, which contains all your apps in alphabetic order and turn OFF notifications for each.
Use Do Not Disturb more often
While working, the most annoying thing that can happen to someone is notifications. They pop up out of the blue and cause people to respond and spend hours on the related app. A solution to this problem is to disable all your notifications altogether. But that is kind of a pain in the neck and requires you to go through the same steps if you decide to enable notifications for an app. So an alternative is to use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature present on your device.
To do this, go to Settings > Do Not Disturb, and customize it according to your requirements. You can also turn it ON or OFF from here. Or, take an easy approach by swiping up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Centre and then turn it ON or OFF from there.
Use Screen Limit
One of the best ways to control usage behavior on your device is to use the Screen Limit feature that has been introduced recently with iOS 12.
There are two ways to get the best out of this feature:
– allows you to schedule time away from the screen.
To do this, you need to go to Settings > Screen Limit > Downtime and turn it ON or OFF. It will then ask you to set the start and end times, according to which the downtime feature would be triggered. By enabling it, certain apps on your phone would become greyed out and display an hourglass next to them. You won’t be able to access these apps, and even if you click on one, it will warn you that you have exceeded the Time Limit.
To manage what apps are locked out in Downtime, you need to go to Always Allowed and add apps that you would require access to even when enabled.
– allows you to set time limit for apps.
Once the limit is reached, the app cannot be used any further and would require you to ignore the limit if you still wish to use it. Using this, you can limit the amount of time you spend on an app so that you can use the app wisely while being productive.
Following those steps can reduce the amount of time you spend on your smartphone and can thus increase your productivity. However, it’s more of a personal thing, and you can probably gauge your usage better and come up with different ways to counter that.