Does your smartphone stop you from living in the moment?

Cell phones have come a long way. From supersized bricks, whose only purpose was to make calls, to super powerful computers capable of just about any task. However, all this innovation comes at a cost. Despite their usefulness, over time, smartphones have come to syphon more & more of our attention.
Checking our email at every notification, scrolling mindlessly through social media after a notice that a friend liked your photo, or falling into random YouTube video hole, following a buzz that someone posted a video- all these things have limited our ability to pay attention to what really matters.
Let us know what steps have you taken (if any) in order to turn your smartphone from an “attention-sucking” machine to a “distraction-free” tool.

3 Likes

I place my phone in a time lock container every evening. You can hide all notifications, you van use screen time, but even then I need a considerable amount of willpower to not look at my phone. Too many times in my life that I lost sleep because of it. In my experience whenever I need to be with myself, when I am finally at a state to unwind from the day, that is the moment I have the least of this willpower, but also the moment that I absolutely need to fully relax without extra stimulation. It is really like a trap. Since I am using this time locked container (kitchen safe is one brand), I only need willpower once every evening, when I come home. I time lock my iphone in the box until the next morning (30 minutes before I leave the house), and put on my Nokia 105 (it shares the same phone number using duo sim). Soon hopefully the Mudita pure can replace the Nokia, a synced adressbook, a meditation timer, everything I need!

Now every evening , and morning, I find time for reading, meditation and exercise, time I would otherwise spend on my phone, I love it.

5 Likes

I set up the home screen of my Android-7 phone from LG to contain only those icons that I saw in a screenshot of a Mudita Pure:

  • Phone
  • Messaging
  • Calendar (Google app that syncs to a Google calendar for my household): I use this occasionally but am more likely to go to that same calendar through Mozilla Thunderbird on a computer.
  • QuickMemo+ (a note-taking app that came with my LG phone): I use Evernote on a computer instead of this app.
  • Clock: I stopped using the Clock app for alarms after getting a portable alarm clock. I rarely need the “World clock” or “Timer” or “Stopwatch” feature in this app.
  • Calculator: I almost never use this. I prefer to use the calculation feature in Qwant or DuckDuckGo in a browser when I am at my computer.
  • Settings

I put every other Android app that I could not uninstall (e.g., Google Play Store) in one of two folders on the second screen – one folder for Google apps, and one folder for LG apps.

Living with this setup for several days has taught me how much I was reaching mindlessly for distraction. Now the phone sits there until I get or make a call or text-message.

4 Likes

@kirkmahoneyphd @Kasper_Peulen Thanks for the feedback guys! Really good ideas. I think I have mentioned it a few times on this forum, that I personally live with two phones: an Android for work & a dumbed-down Blackberry Q10, which I basically use only for calls & messages. I’ve cloned my sim card, so I can can get calls & messages on both, but my BlackBerry has less distractions :slight_smile:

2 Likes

I’m actively using the built-in Android Digital Wellbeing features and limit my time on “infinite-scroll apps” such as Twitter or LinkedIn to 15 minutes a day. First, it was hard to reach this goal, but now I find that I rarely need these apps anymore.

What also helped me with cutting down on screen time is limiting notifications to a minimum and developing healthy habits (using an open-source Loop habit tracker) such as reading and writing to make sure that I utilize my time the way I want to. Oh and quitting Facebook and Instagram was a step in reclaiming my time and ability to focus, but that was a couple of years ago and I don’t miss it at all.

Does anyone here use any good Android apps that help you cutting down screen time or do you simply customize your Android desktop and declutter it as @kirkmahoneyphd did?

3 Likes