Nowadays, there is a worldwide concern that increased smartphone usage might limit personal productivity and social skills. Major Operating System creators have already proposed various solutions to address this concern. Google’s proposal on Android, is a feature known as ‘Digital Wellbeing‘. Digital Wellbeing feels quite promising and Google is investigating both money and time to improve its offering. However, it is possible to overcome your smartphone addiction without having to rely on the latest Android version or Google’s proprietary tools. To learn how to ensure your digital wellbeing without Google, keep reading the article below.
Smartphone overuse is recognized as a dependence syndrome. There is a general rule about dependence syndromes: You cannot overcome them unless you understand how they affect your behavior. What Google or any other app developer cannot do, is make you identify your smartphone dependence. What they can do, however, is help you fight against it in several ways, once you admit its existence. Following is a list of proposals for keeping your smartphone usage in reasonable limits and ensuring your Digital wellbeing:
Get an App Locker
This is probably the easiest and most effective solution for fighting your smartphone addiction. Getting an App Locker that also monitors app usage times will help you identify the most time-consuming apps and lock them away. Of course, you should not block a bad app completely, since this will lock you out of entertaining and interesting stuff. Keep in mind that an app that tracks smartphone usage is actually accessing private information. So, we suggest using an Open Source app locker like the Get off my phone app. This app comes with the extra ability to switch off Wifi and Mobile Data Networks during lock intervals.
Get a Pomodoro Timer App
To increase your productivity, you can rely on an old and known time management technique: The Pomodoro Technique. The concept of the Pomodoro Technique is the following: Work time is broken into 25-minute intervals. After each 25-minute working interval, there is a 5-minute break. When four 30-minute (25+5) intervals complete, there is a major break of 15 to 20 minutes. This way you can focus on your work and be productive and then reward yourself with some free time to get back to your smartphone. There are hundreds of Pomodoro Timer apps on the Internet. We suggest getting one that automatically alerts you when time intervals end. A nice Open Source Pomodoro Timer app is Goodtime.
Motivate Yourself to Stay Away from your Phone
Here is how smartphone dependence works: Your device provides you easy access to a never-ending pool of entertaining and, at the same time, time-consuming tasks. To get away from this labyrinth, something more motivating must get and retain your attention. Psychologists know that well and in collaboration with Developers have come up with a plethora of apps that try to steal your attention:
This app will try to keep you focused by letting you plant virtual seeds in a forest while you are away from your phone. As the time away from your device increases, the seed gradually turns into a tree. If you cannot resist the temptation of utilizing your phone, the tree will die. If you turn out to be a good seeder, you get various rewards and new tree species to plant.
Forest App creators moved one step further and implemented real tree planting in the paid version of the app, in collaboration with Trees For The Future organization. In the paid version of the app, you escape for the world of virtual reality and actually help protect the environment by just keeping focused on things that matter most. The paid version also offers app white-listing and phone and screen usage statistics.
Related article: Get Rid of Smartphone Addiction with Lock Me Out
Similarly to Forest App, Donut Dog tries to give a sense of gaming to your fight against smartphone dependence. During the time you stay away from your device, the donuts machine works and you get tasty donuts as a reward. The app features special donuts for good players and keeps statistics so you can compete against yourself or your friends. Donut Dog currently supports iOS only, but the Android version is in the works and should arrive really soon.
YourHour – Phone Addiction Tracker & Controller
The more unplugged time you ‘tag’ into the YourHour app, the more rewards you get. YourHour offers stats regarding your smartphone usage and addictions. It helps you track your activities and offers suggestions to control them. By staying away from your dependencies, you help bring some good to the world.
These are our suggestions for making your fight against smartphone addiction easier, without having to rely only on Google’s efforts. Let us know of your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.