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Practical Ways to Make Your Smartphone Distraction-Free

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Practical Ways to Make Your Smartphone Distraction-Free

Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are marketed as powerful productivity tools, but some of us may find their device’s time-wasting apps to be more of a distraction. What to do?

Timesuck Apps at WorkAccording to a study by mConcierge, 9% of Americans use their smartphones for work. Many businesses have a Bring Your Own Device policy so personal devices can be used safely at work. Unfortunately, not everyone has the willpower to ignore those time-wasting apps while at the office. For Jake Knapp, blogger and design partner at Google Venture, the struggle is real.

Siren Song

Realizing he was fighting a losing battle against the seductive power of his smartphone, Knapp searched for a way out. On the sharing website Medium he said:

My iPhone made me twitchy. I could feel it in my pocket, calling me, like the Ring called Bilbo Baggins. It distracted me from my kids. It distracted me from my wife. It distracted me anytime, anywhere. I just didn’t have the willpower to ignore email and Twitter and Instagram and the whole world wide web. Infinity in my pocket was too much.

How to Beat It

Knapp came up with a simple solution; dumb down his smartphone. If he got rid of the most distracting apps and only kept the absolute essentials, his phone would lose its power over him. Here are four helpful tips that Knapp came up:

• Disable your browser. The Internet is one of the biggest sources of distraction because it’s, he says, “a limitless universe of, y’know, everything.” Most smartphones don’t give the option to delete its browse, but you can disable it.

• Delete the email app. Email is usually not the most urgent form of communication. If someone needs an instant response from you, they’ll call. You can get by just fine checking your email on your PC.

• Delete “infinity” apps. Knapp categorizes infinity apps as apps that can suck you in for an “infinite” amount of time. For example, social media and games. Deleting the worst time-wasting apps on your phone will help you to spend less time glued to your phone.

• Only keep the apps you truly need. Keep the distraction levels to a bare minimum by only keeping apps that have practical value, like your GPS app, text messaging, calculator, etc. If in doubt, throw it out. You can always reinstall it if you find you can’t live without it.

Can you identify? How do you minimize your smartphone’s hold over your life? Please share in the comments below!