Note: this tip is for iPhone users (since it’s what I use). I’m sure there are ways to do something similar with other phones!
Ever since smartphones became a thing, we’ve all been guilty of looking at our phones a little too often. I was mildly horrified when Apple released the Screen Time feature and I could see exactly how many hours a day I spent on my phone. And, listen, I love smartphones… they’ve made my life better in so many ways (hello Google Maps). However, they’ve also led to some mindless (and time-consuming) scrolling on Instagram. So let’s cut down on some of that and spend more time reading, hanging out with friends, and working on hobbies. However, scrolling through your phone is a tough habit to break so here are some tips to make it a bit harder to use your phone unnecessarily.
The basics: First off, if you can remove certain social media apps from your phone — do that. I haven’t had the Facebook app on my phone in at least two years and I don’t miss it at all. Also, turn off all app notifications (except for calls and texts).
Level 1: Group your apps in folders (work, social media, travel, etc.) and move the social media and work folders over to your second home screen. This way you have two extra steps to open up a work or social media related app — the two most commonly used categories.
Level 2: Set app limits. Set a time limit on apps you use excessively. For me, this is Instagram for which I’ve set a 20-minute limit.
Level 3: Turn on the Downtime feature. When you turn on the Downtime feature, you can set custom days and times when chosen (or all) apps on your phone become unavailable. I customized mine to “turn off” all apps except for Google Maps and some home security stuff between 7-9 PM every day (a good time to focus on dinner, family, and hobbies!).
Level 4: Use the “Do not disturb while driving” feature. This is a bit intense but can be useful if you’re really struggling with not responding to calls or texts immediately. You can set this feature to turn on manually (i.e. you can pretend that you’re actually driving). And, bam, any messages you receive will get an auto-response (which you can customize to say something along the lines of “I’m not using my phone right now and will get back to you at…”).