How Can I Make My Phone Less Distracting?

Are you someone who’s basically attached to their phone? Like if someone super glued your phone to your hand you wouldn’t even notice because it’s always there anyway? You’re not alone. Whether we’re checking the news, posting online, or trying to get to the next level in a game, our phones are with us 24/7. In fact, 71% of people say they sleep with or next to their phone. That’s...not great. 

Our smartphones are powerful tools and essential for keeping up connected but It’s important to unplug and stay away from your phone from time to time. Did you know excessive use of your cellphone may cause headaches, decreased attention, shortness of temper, sleep disorders and depression? That’s obviously an extreme scenario, but it just goes to show why we should take some time away. It's a delicate balance 

Here are 8 ways you can make your phone less distracting & limit your screen time. 

gold iPhone 8 on tartan scarf

1) Set up screen time limitations

Most phones have a built-in setting that let you put restrictions on your screen time. You can set specific times for certain apps (only 45 minutes of Instagram per day, etc), or you can set up blocks of time where your phone “locks” your apps. For example, on the iPhone you set up screen time limitations from 9pm to 7am, which means only texts and phone calls will come in. All your other apps will be disabled (with the opportunity to override). 

Settings > Screen Time > Choose Communication Limitations

2) Reorganize your apps

Most of our app-surfing is based out of habit. You probably even have a specific order you access them in. From time to time, change up the order of your apps. This will make you think about what you want to do and take away the habit of mindlessly searching. 

3) Turn off notifications

Our phones are automatically programmed to tell us when anything happens. A tweet, the weather, news, they all send a notification to your phone. While this can be helpful to stay informed, it can also keep you chained to your phone. We automatically stop what we’re doing to see what our phone is trying to tell us. Turn off your notifications and only check your phone occasionally. This will let you stay in the moment and not constantly be pulled away. 

4) Download specific apps

There are certain apps, like Forest or or Hocus Focus, that can help you work towards your goals of limited screen time. These apps can work off reward systems, or even just send you reminders when you’ve been on your phone for too long. 

5) Or delete certain ones

Maybe you’re someone who has too many apps. Go through and delete apps that aren’t vital to your life. Games and social media cause us to be on our phones far too much. You don’t have to completely wipe them all off your device, but try and be honest with yourself about which ones you need and which ones you don’t. 

6) No phone to start or end your day

It’s recommended that for the first 30-60 minutes of your day, and the last, that you don’t browse on your phone. This can be hard for some people since they use their phone to wake up, but it’s worth buying an alarm clock so that your phone can be out of reach during these times.

woman staring down at iPhone in a white blouse

7) Set up boundaries

If you use your phone for work a lot, set up boundaries for yourself and your coworkers. Let them know that after 7pm you won’t be on your phone so if there’s an emergency, then call. You can also set boundaries for the dinner table or when you’re out with friends. 

8) Leave your phone at home

The easiest solution, yet the hardest. Try doing small activities without our phone. A walk, a jog, or even getting groceries without a device can be a liberating experience. It will also remind you that your phone isn’t a lifeline, it’s just a nice-to-have.