There are a host of simple actions you can take to make your physical and digital environments as amenable to achieving your goals as possible.
While some of the following tips may seem gimmicky, they’re ultimately meant to slow you down, so that you’ll be more deliberate about how you use your phone. Think of them like little speed-bumps.
Turn off as many push notifications as possible
Obvious but vital. Value your attention — only let the apps you deem most important interrupt you (for me, that means chat app messages, my calendar, and utility apps like ride-sharing services that only activate when I’m using them).
Put tools, not temptations on your home screen
This helps you avoid the pernicious behavior of finishing a task and then absently clicking on an app next to the one you just used.
Log out of an app every time you’ve finished a session or go so far as to delete it altogether, so that you can only access it through desktop or your phone’s browser
The only downside of deleting an app, at least right away, is that you won’t be able to track how much time you’re spending in that product through tools like Screen Time.
Instead of using your phone’s biometric passcode, set a long, numerical one that you have to enter every time
You can’t subconsciously open your phone when you’re using a long code instead of your thumb.
Turn your phone to grayscale
You can give your phone usage a real wallop by draining all of the color from your screen. Try it and you’ll quickly understand how much less appealing your phone becomes.
Dig around in your phone’s “Accessibility” settings to turn on grayscale. On an iPhone, find “Display Accommodations,” and turn on “Color Filters.”
On a Samsung device, find “Vision” and then scroll down to “Grayscale.”
If your Android device has Google’s Digital Well Being tools, you can have your phone automatically activate grayscale at designated times of day.
Kick your phone out of bed
The positive effects of banishing your phone before bed are vast.
Embrace other devices
In that vein, get yourself a regular alarm clock. Or a wristwatch to wear during the day. If you have a smart speaker, shoot it questions or commands you might have otherwise used a screen for. If you don’t need to pick up your phone to put on your audiobook, you won’t accidentally get sucked into unrelated activities.