I am extremely cognizant of my attachment to devices and how I interact with them. After experimenting with a few hacks, I have been able to significantly reduce my usage with small, simple changes to my behavior.
I believe the iPhone is an incredible tool that makes our lives much easier. I would never want to give it up, but there is no question it’s addictive. The first change I implemented was putting my phone away while around other people. I wanted to be more present in my social interactions and this helped tremendously.
A few months back, I deactivated the notifications, sounds, and badges for most of my apps. It made an immediate and drastic difference in the frequency with which I reached for my phone. Then, on a whim, I set my phone to “Do Not Disturb” mode and noticed that I was far more focussed and productive. I typically keep my phone on silent and out of sight, but with the constant buzz of text messages or phone calls, I frequently felt distracted.
The Harvard Business Review reports that Just Hearing Your Phone Buzz Hurts Your Productivity. Many people don’t realize there is any benefit to switching from vibrate to totally silent. A new piece of research, “The Attentional Cost of Receiving a Cell Phone Notification,” reports that the reverberations of new notifications can distract us, even when we don’t look over to see what they are. It found that just being aware of an alert can hurt people’s performance on an attention-demanding task.