6 Apps That Will Help You Spend Less Time On Your Phone

How to get a much-needed break from your screen.

Woman holding an iced coffee in one hand and scrolling her phone in the other.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

They see us scrollin’, they hatin’….

No, but seriously guys, how much of your day do you spend scrolling through your phone? We’re willing to bet it can sometimes tot up to the entire commute to and from work, lunch break, post-work couch scroll and maybe even a little bit before bed. We aren’t judging. Spending time on our phones is an addictive habit to break, but a habit that needs to be broken nonetheless.

While it might seem hella counterintuitive to use apps as a way to break your long-standing phone addiction, it turns out there some out there that will help you do just that. As digital detoxes are all the rage right now, here’s which apps to use to help you get some much needed time away from technology.

Woman with painted nails typing on her phone next to a jar of juice.
Photo by Bence Boros on Unsplash

1. Forest

One of the main things that’s so irritating about wasting time on your phone, is that a lot of the time you KNOW you’re doing simply that—wasting time. Forest is a visual aid that can really make you think twice about whether or not to open Instagram for the third time that minute. It allows users to plant a virtual seed and grow a tree, which can quickly grow into a forest, depending on how much time you spend focused on your task.

Basically—when you know it’s against your best interests to let yourself be distracted by your phone, just open Forest and plant a tree, then your seedling will start to grow as long as you leave the app open in the foreground. If you lose focus and start using other apps, however, your seedling/tree/forest will wither and die, much like the goal you’re trying to achieve.

2. Moment

Harnessing the notion that knowledge is power, Moment is an app that tracks your screen time—including how much time you spend using each app, and how many times you pick up your phone in a day. The results will probably terrify you—but it will hopefully spur you into action.

You get to set your goal for how much screen time you’d like to use in a day, and it makes you a chart so that you can see if you’ve gone over or not. Green means you’ve come in below target, yellow means close to the target and red means you’ve gone over the target, so you know what you need to work on.

Three women standing next to each other all on their phones.
Photo by Rawpixel on Unsplash

3. Freedom

A straightforward way to minimise scrolling when you know in your heart of hearts that it won’t serve you at all, Freedom allows you to block apps on your phone from anywhere between an hour and 24 hours. Simple, but effective.

4. Dinner Mode

As much as we would all hate to admit that we’ve ever been ‘that person’, the likelihood is that we’ve all spent some time on our phones when we’re at the dinner table. If this sounds like you, Dinner Mode will make a great addition to your arsenal; as it inhibits you from accessing apps for a specified time period. Users can set a timer, put down their phone, and ensure a tech-fee dinner for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour.

Flatlay of a book, notepad, bowl of strawberries and a phone switched off.
Photo by Jimena on Unsplash

5. StepLock

If you’re in the habit of letting social media scrolling get in the way of your exercise goals, StepLock is definitely for you. It essentially locks you out of your fave apps until you have completed your exercise goal. This means that if you try to open Instagram before you’ve reached your target, you’ll be met with a screen telling you how many more steps you need to take before you’re permitted Insta-access. The counter resets at 12:00 am so as long as you’re moving enough; you’ll also be able to indulge in a healthy amount of social media time.

6. Turn it off

Okay so not technically an app, but one worth noting nonetheless. As great as all of these apps are, nothing beats actually turning your phone off, leaving it at home and enjoying some screen-free time either by yourself or with loved ones. Here’s how to take a mini digital detox, or how to intermittent fast with your screen time.

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