It’s Time To Take You Away From Smartphones and Social Media

You aren’t the only one who is spending most of your time hooked on social media and your latest smartphone.  Do you think perhaps you can’t cut them out of your life completely, but here I have some tips to help you take back control of your smartphone, your social media usage, and your life.

How often do you switch on your smartphone, and in a jiffy discover having lost 30 minutes of your valuable time, or perhaps your whole day? Time is the most important resource at your disposal, and once you lose it, you shall never get it back. 

We don’t realize how easy it is to get lost in our mobile screens as we tap from one app to another, and scroll through social feeds on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Connected India account. The latest smartphones and social media apps are designed to hook, and keep you continuously engaged, and in some cases can even lead to addiction. But there are ways to insulate your mind from all these distractions, and take back control of your tech.

Here comes some tips to wean yourself away from compulsive smartphone and social media habits, and how to regain control over consuming the technology.

It’s Time to Change Notification Settings

I won’t be surprised if your push notifications are still set to defaults. You may be getting bombarded by emails, messages, alerts from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and dozens of other apps? Cut out the clutter.

Check your notification settings on all your devices—smartphones, desktops, tablets, and laptops—and turn everything off that’s not essential. Notifications that appear as red dots next to your app icons are visual cues literally begging you to check them. The golden rule is to turn off all notifications except for direct messages and mentions because these are the ones coming from real users.

Use Original Android and iOS Apps

Smartphone makers and app developers have begun to respond to the tech addiction backlash from users. For iPhone users, now the iOS12 has a built-in feature called Screen Time, that not only tracks your screen time and app usage, but helps you schedule limits and “Downtime” away from selected apps and alerts. This is the way you should use it.

In case you’re running the latest version of Android, you can do the same with Google’s Digital Wellbeing app. This provides you a dashboard that breaks down your app usage, how often you normally unlock your phone, and on an average, how many notifications you receive. You can go ahead and set your app limits and turn off unnecessary notifications.

Monitoring Your App Usage

While you are busy using tech and social media, it can often create a sense of illusion about how much time you’ve spent looking at the screen. The remedy lies in monitoring your usage time from app to app. This is a great way to identify behaviors that you wish to change. Although there are built-in functionality such as iOS Screen Time and Android’s Digital Wellbeing, there are also apps like Moment for iOS and Rescue Time for Mac and Windows that help you keep a check on how much time you’re spending on apps and devices besides using your smartphone for other functions.


According to the Center for Humane Technology (CHT), the colored icons reward our brains every time we unlock them. Set your phone to grayscale to convince your mind to check your phone less frequently.

If you are using an iOS device, go to Settings > General > Accessibility and scroll down to Accessibility Shortcut. Now, if you check the Color Filters option, it will unlock a feature allowing you to tap the side button thrice or home button to switch grayscale on or off on your IPhone.

On Android phones, the process may differ, but you can check under Settings > About phone. With Digital Wellbeing present in the Android Pie, apps turn gray when you’ve reached your daily limit.

Don’t Use Your Phone as an Alarm Clock

You shouldn’t keep your smartphone within easy reach during the night. Don’t put it for charging on your nightstand, and if your phone needs to be charged, keep your phone further away from your bed or ideally leave it in another room so you’re not tempted to pick it up in the middle of the night. Get a separate alarm clock so your wake-up cycle isn’t tied to your smartphone.

Fix Social Boundaries

We need a lot of social etiquettes while using technology in a responsible manner. You must know when is it appropriate to use your smartphone, and when is it considered rude? If you’re having a one-to-one conversation with someone, resist the urge to pull a device, because it’s the first step toward cutting out unhealthy behavior. Make a rule to not keep devices on your dining table during meals. There may be small kids at the table who don’t have their own devices yet, and you will be setting a bad precedent if you’re scrolling through your Instagram posts in one hand, while eating with the other, and barely participating in the conversation.

Take Care of Distractions 

There are many apps out there that help you focus and cut out your digital distractions. An app called Thrive puts users into Thrive Mode and subsequently blocks all apps, calls, notifications, and texts except for “VIPs” you’ve previously designated. There are meditation apps like Calm and Headspace that help you to de-stress and focus your energy on positive activities. You can use an app like freedom that blocks apps and websites for a given period of time. You can use gamification to motivate yourself.

You can also use extensions that help you use sites like Facebook and YouTube in a more structured manner. You can choose Distraction Free YouTube feature that can easily remove recommended videos from sidebars to keep you from getting unnecessarily engaged. Besides, tools like News Feed Eradicator masks Facebook posts for those users who normally use the app only for seeing events and groups. Moreover, the Facebook Demetricator extension can hide even likes, comments, and share numbers to keep you away from fixating on feedback and rewards cycles.

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