5 Ways to Cut your Mobile Phone Use

Reading Time:
2 mins 40 secs
Ben Willmott

Mobile use can be overwhelming, the feeling of always having to check it, whether checking it's in your pocket as you move around or have you got any new messages since the last time you checked.

It's incredibly distracting, kills our focus and drains our willpower and often without realising its negative impact on our performance at work.

So to help, here are five simple tips I've found most effective.

Turn off notifications

Turn off any notifications that aren't critical, so WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram etc... Depending on your job, turn off your email and Teams/Slack. These are typically the most distracting when you're trying to focus.

Do you need to know at the moment when a new email or Teams message comes in and reply instantly? Probably not for most roles, so plan when you check your email and Teams, then you stay on top of them without them distracting your focus all day.

Do the same for your laptop too, including the badge count. The badge count is like a mini stress increaser. You're trying to work on something, and you see that badge number going up and up until you can't resist any longer, and you check your inbox, only to find out it's nothing important, but you've lost focus. So turn it off.

Use Screen Time to track habits.

Use the iOS screen time feature or the equivalent on Android to monitor where your time is being spent. Be brave, have a look and then adapt your habits where needed, or do tip one to help.

Or go full cold turkey and delete some of those time-wasting apps. You'll be better for it. It's so quick to reinstall them now, so why not delete them and install them when you need them?

First screen apps.

How often do you open your phone without any reason and start scrolling through your apps, looking for a distraction?

To catch yourself, only have apps that serve your productivity or well-being on your phone's first screen.

Don't have Instagram, WhatsApp etc... as when you first unlock, you're scrolling and chatting before you know it. Put these types of apps on the final screen.

Turn your phone off early evening.

As mentioned in the last tip, how often do you pick up your phone for no other reason than to scroll, kill some time, or put off something you should be doing?

If you turn your phone off, it creates a barrier for this sort of behaviour, and it's a great bedtime routine to get into to help you wind down.

If you can't turn it off, put it in another room or a bag, just somewhere it's not easy to see and pick up.

Turn on greyscale

Mobile phones are bright and beautiful, constantly tempting us to pick up and play. Have you turned on greyscale before? It turns the screen grey and immediately makes it less appealing.

On iOS, you triple-tap the power button to turn it on and the same to turn it off.

It's amazing what a loss of colour can do to help with mobile phone use.

Here are the links for how to do it for iOS and Android.

Ben Willmott
Ben is Delivery Director at the London based creative agency Wunderman Thompson where he creates bespoke ways or working for his clients and teams. Ben is also the founder of The PPM Academy specializing in coaching Project Management, Agile Delivery and how to be more productive at home and work.

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