How to stop your phone from distracting you and wasting your life

From, “a community of design thinkers, philosophers, social scientists, entrepreneurs and technologists who care about having technology designed to help us live free and fulfilled lives”:

1. Create a tools-only home screen. Limit your home screen to the top 4-6 tools you use frequently to get things done. Move all other apps off the first page and into folders.

2. Open other apps by typing. Typing filters out unconscious choices while keeping conscious ones. Open apps by typing their name.

3. Keep only two pages of apps. With six pages of apps, we find ourselves swiping back and forth through them mindlessly. Keep to two pages, the first with tools and the other with folders.

4. Turn off notifications, except from people. Only get notifications when people want your attention, not businesses or machines.

5. Keep the M&M’s, but hide the wrappers. Colorful icons are designed to trigger us to use apps unconsciously. Put these on the second or third page inside folders, and open them by typing instead.

6. Stop leaky interactions. Set your Alarm or Camera without unlocking your phone so you get kicked out automaticaly afterwards. Swipe up on the lock screen to quickly access.

7. Reduce phantom buzzes with custom vibrations. Create your own unambiguous vibration pattern to distinguish between when people need you vs. a machine. (Go to Settings > Notifications > Messages > Sounds > Vibration > Create New)

8. Buy a travel alarm clock and charge outside the bedroom. Waking up to check our phone sets our day off to a bad start. Get a separate alarm clock and leave your phone outside to charge.

9. Know your bottomless bowls and slot machines. Know which apps are bottomless bowls (trapdoors) and slot machines (constant checking) for you. Move them off the first page of apps.

(1) How convinced are you by these suggestions?
(2) What have you tried which has worked?
(3) An alternative view: “Ultimately, I don’t think we’re going to be able to either liberate or self-regulate our way out of mental fragmentation” — Matthew Crawford.

5 thoughts on “How to stop your phone from distracting you and wasting your life

  1. 1. I’ve turned off all notification sounds on my phone other than for actual phone calls or Whatsapp calls.
    2. For most apps, I don’t allow notifications.
    3. I’ve stopped using Facebook entirely, as I realized it was a poor use of time and generally made me less productive and happy. Same for LinkedIn.
    4. I deleted the Twitter app from my phone.

  2. 1. Turn the phone in the DND mode 24/7. Call back on missed calls.
    2. Delete twitter, facebook, etc apps. If you really need to access twitter, use the browser. It’s clunky, so you’ll spend less time wasted there
    3. No notifications of any kind for almost all apps.
    4. Disable news previews on the spotlight screen of your iPhone (it’s hidden deep in the settings somewhere).
    5. Don’t take it in your bedroom. You significant other will be grateful.

  3. Pingback: Can digital products leave space for silence? | A Founder's Notebook

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