fbpx

The ultimate guide to stop being distracted by your smartphone while (remote) working

20.02.2020 – 5 min. read

The Ultimate Guide to stop being distracted by your smartphone

20.02.2020

5 min. read

Work and smartphone, two words that really don’t go well together. Impossible to count how many times we get distracted by our smartphones as we work. This device, however, is also key in staying connected, and is often essential in many scenarios.

This has happened to all of us at least once: innocently, we take our smartphone to check the time, and without really realizing what happened, it has been 10 minutes since we scroll down our social media feed…

No one really blames you, it is quite hard not to be distracted by our smartphones while working. We all have these “negative” habits that make us lose so much time and efficiency.

What, then, is there to do to be able to keep working with our smartphones without getting distracted by them?

Guide’s Instructions of Use

This guide will provide you with the tools to discover how to change your smartphone habits while working, as well as why certain of them can be problematic. For this, we have created three user profiles depending on our phone use. We all have tendencies that fit into all three profiles. Try to find the one that best suits you. Next, find our personalized advice down below, with tips on how you can most efficiently change these habits.

The ultimate guide to stop being distracted by your smartphone while (remote) working

Profiles

The spectacled monkey

Always trying to catch the latest content, the spectacled monkey is insatiably curious. This profile loves reading those interesting articles or learning new things through informative videos. Sadly, there is a time and place for everything, and sometimes putting our smartphones down is just too hard. Getting tempted while working is always a threat.

The tireless hawk

Very, very, (very) social, the tireless hawk spends most of their time communicating. Always juggling WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Instagram DMs, Y is someone that has understood that phones’ purpose is to communicate and uses this to it’s maximum capabilities. When it’s time to work, it is then quickly hard to put down these applications and not get interrupted every 2 seconds.

The big-headed lion cub

Ah, the smartphone! Marvelous 21st Century tool which the big-headed lion cub has become master of, living off of memes and funny videos. Forged by the internet, the big-headed lion cub finds it considerably difficult not to fall into the smartphone’s temptation. The question asked, then, remains how to effectively work while using this tool, which within it holds the key to such marvelous world?

Our tips

A Black and White Screen

phone grayscale

For whom:

The big-headed lion cub​

The spectacled monkey​

Which device:

Android

iPhone

Why:

Always looking to catch the latest content? With a highly colorful and ultra-definition screen, no question why it is so hard to resist temptation. By simply changing your screen to black and white, social media, videos and images immediately become less attractive, gaining in exchange a very pretty, minimalist phone. Guaranteed 0 distraction!

How to do it:

Android:

  • First enable developer mode on your phone: Settings > About phones > click “build number” around 8 or 9 times (not a joke)
  • Next, in settings > system & updates > developer options > scroll down to Simulate Color Space > monochromatic

 

iOS:

  • Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters. Switch Color Filters on and select Grayscale.
  • To easily toggle between color and grayscale, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut > Color Filters. Now, you just press the home button three times to enable grayscale. Triple-click again to go back to color mode.
“Life is more beautiful in color, nothing sadder than a gray sky” This is also true for our Smartphone. The colour makes us want to use it. It’s no coincidence that the Instagram logo is made of a purplish-red gradient. Switching the screen to black & white allows us to bypass this natural appeal and makes our smartphone much less attractive. Also, switching your phone to black and white will save you a bit of battery power!

Stop or limit notifications

stop notifications

For whom:

The big-headed lion cub​​

The tireless hawk

Which device:

Android

iPhone

Why:

You’re working, being efficient, and suddenly: “boom” you have received a notification, and so ends your focus. By stopping all notifications, or at least limiting them, this situation stops being a problem.

How to do it:

Android:

  • Access Settings > Notifications
  • Select only those which you think are indispensable.
  • Otherwise, you can set up the “Do not disturb” mode to deactivate certain notifications

iOS:

  • Acess Settings > Notification Center
  • Select the applications whose you want to cut

Once we get interrupted, it takes around 23 minutes to focus back on what we were doing. Not easy to be efficient when our phones keep permanently calling on our attention due Social Media posts by friends, which no doubt interest us.

What is even more important to develop is the habit for us to be the ones calling on our phone and not our phone calling on us. Cut notifications: a simple way to regain our productivity and wellbeing.

Changing your Background

change background

For whom:

The big-headed lion cub​​​

The tireless hawk

The spectacled monkey​​

Which device:

Android

iPhone

Why:

One of the things that change the least on our phones tends to be our backgrounds. Often overlooked, this incredible source of distraction can very easily become and incredible tool to help focus. By changing your background, you’ll have the sensation of having a second, brand new “work-phone”.

Furthermore, by constantly changing the background, this can create a ritual to help kick-start you as you are about to start working. Nothing better than creating new habits to change our smartphone use!

As an added bonus, you can add an image with inspiring text such as “focus, time to work” or “are you sure you want to be using your phone right now?”.

How to do it:

Whether this is on Android or iOS, we will give you some advice on how to choose it, rather than how to do it.

The background is what will give the general atmosphere of our phones. Think about it… the decoration and design of our home is not the same as that of our office, right? It’s the same thing here. We recommend that you have a background with calm, inspiring tones and schemes

Identifying an object’s use due to its appearance is something we often have a habit of doing. This, however, becomes harder in the context of our phones, which enable us to do a wide array of things while essentially never really changing. Being able to change its appearance to fit what we are doing is an easy habit to take which will change the way we use our phones.

As an added bonus, changing our backgrounds into a message will enable us to enter a zone of consciousness of our brain and hence, regain consciousness of how we use our smartphone.

Hide certain apps

For whom:

The big-headed lion cub​​​​

The tireless hawk

The spectacled monkey​​

Which device:

Android

Why:

It is already difficult to focus and be effective while working on something which we don’t really want to be doing. Add to that the fact that our phones offer us the opportunity to easily access our social media with conversations which are totally unrelated, and it becomes even harder. The only solution this time is none other than hiding those applications so that we can no longer be tempted by them.

How to do it:

To hide applications on Android, you will have to delete their quick access on our home screen. To do so, click the application during several seconds and then click on “delete”.

You will then be able to access it only through the applications menu.

Our apps are able to answer to all of our need, regardless of how important. This, however, means that some of these are not necessary always.

For example, social media respond to our social needs which we do not always need, and especially not while trying to focus on work. That being said, our applications do however need us to use them constantly, since their business model is that of the economy of attention. Since we don’t really need them, hiding them will allow you to avoid going on them by accident.

Installing an alternative launcher

alternative launcher

For whom:

The big-headed lion cub​​​​​

The spectacled monkey​​

Which device:

Android

Why:

With all of the events of our changing world, it is very hard not to be distracted by our smartphones. But what if we could truly transform our phones into another device, even a “dumb phone” (like old phones which had a keyboard and no access to the internet)?

Did you know you can change your phone’s home interface? This will enable you to access your applications and organizing them on your home screen however you want. These kinds of apps that enable us to access our other applications are called launcher applications.

There exist hundreds of them which will enable you to completely transform the way in which we use our smartphones, giving us guaranteed digital detox.

How to do it:

Android: there exist many applications available on the Google Play Store in order to transform our smartphones. A couple of notable ones are Niagara Launcher, Indistractable, or even AIO Launcher.

It’s as easy as accessing Google Play and downloading your favorite one.

We very easily get used to our home screen, with all of our applications always ordered in the same way, and which we always use in the same manner. Moving towards a real change, one which leads us to completely changing the way we interact with our phones (through the use of launchers), enable us to make our devices “work specific” at least temporarily. This offers us the best of both worlds, by also giving us back our traditional, “all inclusive” phone once we are done working. This process would allow us to develop new habits and reflexes which create a better suited working environment.

Arranging our applications in Folders

For whom:

The big-headed lion cub​​​​​

The tireless hawk

Which device:

Android

iPhone

Why:

How can we change our longer-term use and habits of our smartphones when all of our apps are just one click away on our home screen?

Its simply a matter of putting away our distracting applications into folders by category (communications, social media, games, etc.) so that if we go on them, it was with intention of doing so and not by accident.

How to do it:

For both Android or iOS, the way to do this is quite easy.

Simply click and hold an application until it pops up and slide it on top of another application and let go of it. Afterwards, simply title the folder whatever you’d like!

Putting your applications into folder offers a twofold benefit. First, this largely increases the difficulty and effort required to open distracting applications while trying to work. By searching to simplify our devices, it becomes easier to regain control over them.

Second, by classifying our applications into specific categories, you can take awareness of which ones you are consciously clicking on. This conscious action prevents you from accidentally finding yourself clicking on an application which you do not really want to be on while at work.

Avoid having your phone at Reaching Distance

phone not at reach

For whom:

The big-headed lion cub​​​​​​

The tireless hawk

The spectacled monkey​​

Which device:

Android

iPhone

Why:

Look at the people working around you. Everybody has their smartphones at reaching distance. If you don’t have a fundamental need to use it, let it breath. Distance yourself from it, and magically, its access subtly becomes more difficult, and with-it temptation decreases.

How to do it:

Usually, putting your phone aside inside a drawer or in another room is enough. But then again, if you have an attic…

With how our brain works, our body is often put into motion with out even realizing it. Imagine then what happens when our phone unlocks with a simple look or touch; hard to be aware of our use. Not having our device within reaching distance significantly helps to stop this process, and only take our phone consciously.

As an added bonus, having our phone far away, if possible, makes us have to do the extra effort of standing up to go get it. The extra effort is often enough to stop us from getting distracted. Is it really worth it to scroll down are social media feed when that requires us to stand up and walk across the room to grab it? Most likely, the answer is negative.

Organizing our Home screen by Theme

tidy your phone

For whom:

The big-headed lion cub​​​​​​​

The tireless hawk

The spectacled monkey​​

Which device:

Android

iPhone

Why:

Imagine your phone is a house, and each “page” of your home screen is a room in this house. Every room has a different design, furniture, and feel right? Well, if instead of having all of your applications mixed up, you arrange them in their respective page, with each page representing a category (and even further: having your most distracting applications on the last of these pages) the time spent on unnecessary apps will greatly reduce. You stick only to those pages which you know you really need while working.

How to do it:

We don’t really need to tell you how to. Even the messiest of us are able to do a bit of cleaning up. The hardest part of this is without a doubt doing said cleaning on a regular basis. However, you can always create reminders to do so!

It is always about having easy use and habits. Having to go through various screens in order to get to those most distracting apps, will most likely make you think along the way: do I really want to spend my time using these apps right now? Changing one’s smartphone use in order to learn better habits of use awareness is the best remedy in order to regain control over these devices.

Looking a good life and work hygiene

For whom:

The big-headed lion cub​​​​​​​​

The tireless hawk

The spectacled monkey​​

Which device:

Android

iPhone

Why:

When it has been hours since you last took a break, it’s becoming harder to focus, that is when anything can really distract you. And with your phone being so accessible, it becomes a great tool for this distraction. Luckily, this problem has a very simple solution: its all about organizing our working habits to include little breaks, or even going outside for some air. Having a good work and life hygiene is the basis of a long-term, durable change in our interactions with technology.

How to do it:

The how is often in the why!

Driving while being tired, such a problematic concept. In fact, our government regularly campaigns against this, trying to get us to take breaks every two hours to prevent sleeping drivers. It’s exactly this same concept that occurs when working without breaks. Being tired and working has the same relationship. When we are tired, our phones very quickly become an escape to this tiredness. And unplanned break. In order to avoid this, it is important to keep a good work hygiene, having pauses at least once every two hours to stay focused and prevent smartphone use problems.

Changing the way in which we use our phone, the habits we have around it, etc… is absolutely not an easy task. These bad habits are solidly anchored, and with its easy access and use, it is very hard to adopt new once.

However, by taking awareness of these habits, and adopting these little tips in your daily life, you are taking a massive leap in retaking control of this tool as we work.

But more importantly, it is a priority to keep in mind that often a bad use of our smartphone is linked to another problem which can be solved. So, the complicated use relationship we have with our smartphone may very easily be solved by having a balance in life.

In any case, if you are having trouble implementing any of these tips, would like to further discuss this topic, or you yourself have some advice to share, don’t hesitate to leave a comment, or contact us by email or through our social media pages!

One Response

  1. Hey guys that’s simply superb from you people…

    Very interesting app to use to save time and work efficiently without much distraction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Interested in Let Me Think? Leave us your email address.

*Receive news from us every two weeks.

What do we have to offer you?

Information and advice on smartphone addiction and wellness at work.

Exclusive access to our story in our newsletter : Tech Rebellion.

Get notified for product launch.