4 apps that have helped to reduce my smartphone usage

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My phone is like my right arm. When I don’t have it, I get such an intense FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that i either go back for it, or keep it close if I am in the house. The down side is that it makes it harder for me to focus on the work I am doing because of spending so much time on social media.

Apart from that, people on social media only post about the good times hence you only get a one dimensional view of things.  As such it is easy to end up comparing your life to theirs which can get you down sometimes. Also some alarmist posts can make you feel like the world is about to end any minute.

Being permanently glued to your smartphone can make you easily miss out on enjoying the simple things in life. For example, spending meaningful time with the people around you.

Basically, putting your phone away for a few hours can do you some good. Here are some apps that can help wean you off your phone.

 

1. Digital detox

This app is for those who want to go cold turkey on their detox. It simply locks you out of your phone for a set number of hours, the maximum being 48 hours. You get between four to eight 5 minute slots for emergency use. If you break your ‘fast’ before the hours are over, you are penalized Ksh. 200.

I have used this app and it was very effective. I would start by setting these fasts during the night because I have the tendency of spending way too much time on my phone which affects my quality of sleep. I then moved on to detoxing for 2 hours during the day and gradually increased to 48 hours which is proved to be one of the hardest things I have had to do. Crazy right?

At first, it is normal to feel anxious (at least I did) but I got over it polepole.

2. Forest

Forest ‘plants’ a tree every time you manage to stay away from your phone for the number of hours that you set. The more you meet your goals, the more your forest grows. Forest gives you an option to whitelist certain apps so that you don’t have to lose a tree if you use them.

I have used it before and it made me proud to see a patch of green because of how big my forest was.

3. Space

When you download Space, you get to pick from a set of options what your weakness is when it comes to smart phone usage. It then profiles you, after that, you get to choose the amount of time you want to spend on your phone everyday and tracks the number of times you unlock it. You can also pause the tracker if you want.

This one wasn’t that effective for me. The little peanut (it looked like a peanut) got annoying every time I got the prompt, ‘Back so soon?’ when I unlocked my phone. It also doesn’t lock you out of the apps that waste your time the most so you can easily break the rules. I would recommend for those who already have some sort of restraint when it comes to using their phone.

4. Antisocial

Like Space, Antisocial profiles you when you first use it. The profile is based on sex and age. It then gives you stats on how much time users in your demographic , who are on the platform, spend on their phone. Antisocial will track your usage and tabulate it on a graph, and compare it with other users.

I liked this one. It was motivating to see my progress line in comparison to others. The downside is there are too many ads.

All the apps are available on Google Play Store

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