Break Your Phone Addiction: Digital Minimalism 04

Break Your Phone Addiction: Digital Minimalism 04

Hello, I don’t want to waste any of your time, so let’s dive right into it. This is episode 4 in my digital minimalism series, where I talk about how I have streamlined and removed a lot of the distractions in my digital life. Today I want to talk about smart phones and more specifically my own and how I have set it up. I have an Android phone. This is a Pixel 3, but the things I’m going to talk about in this video can apply to any phone. It doesn’t so much have to do with software. But rather how I set up my phone. It’s incredible technology and it has changed all of our lives and I feel very fortunate to live in a time where I have access to so much in my fingertips, but somewhere along the line, the lines got blurred, right? And this has gone, for many of us, from being an incredible tool to being more of a distraction, more of an obstacle, than, like a positive thing. Phone addiction is a real problem and there’s a lot of statistics out there now that show that we spend on average hours a day on our phones. So I want to talk a little bit today about some simple things that I’ve done to regain a little bit of control over my relationship with my phone and to be a little bit healthier in my habits and in my usage of it. So, let’s just dive right in. I want to first talk about my homepage. I set this up with my morning and evening routines in mind. So one thing you’ll notice right off the bat is that I don’t have any social media or messaging apps on here. That’s very intentional. I find that on these sorts of apps you’re either responding to somebody, problem solving, or endlessly scrolling, right? and in the morning or in the evening, I don’t feel like that’s a good usage of my time. Instead what I have on here are some of the apps that I do like to use first thing in the morning or right at the end of the day. So for example I have headspace which is a fantastic meditation app. I use the clock on my phone as an alarm to wake up. A running app, podcasts, audiobooks, that sort of thing. And then on the bottom there are just some general tools that I like to have really quick easy access to. These are not addicting apps. These are not apps that bring me into my phone and keep me on my phone for a long time. So for example passwords, Google Maps, the camera app, that sort of thing. I find that this setup is really nice because I don’t want to get sucked into my phone as soon as I unlock it. And yet I still want to be able to use my phone, like I said, at the beginning or at the end of the day. It’s nice to listen to a podcast or listen to a little bit of music when I’m starting out the day or when I’m trying to wind down. I want to talk really briefly about some other features that are built into pretty much all phones nowadays. First of all “Do Not Disturb” is a godsend. I put my phone on “Do Not Disturb” whenever I go to bed, so it’s not buzzing throughout the night. And increasingly, I’m leaving it on “Do Not Disturb” for long portions of the morning, in the evening, and whenever I’m trying really hard to get some work done. I don’t think we evolved as human beings to be equipped to handle distractions every three minutes and I certainly don’t feel like it’s beneficial for me to constantly be checking my phone, especially when I’m trying to get a lot done. “Do Not Disturb” is fantastic because it reduces the number of times that you get notifications and it’s okay to not check Reddit twelve times throughout the day. Next, I just want to briefly talk about greyscale, which I think is a super underrated feature in a lot of modern smartphones. This is a feature that’s built into Android and I was able to configure it on my iPhone as well, so I know it’s possible on there as well. The concept is very simple. It basically just turns off the color from the screen of your phone. Now, why would that be significant? Well, we as humans have evolved to be very sensitive to color and I have noticed that instantaneously when I turn off the color on my phone it’s way less interesting to use and I try to use that to my benefit, especially in the evening when I’m trying not to spend so much time looking at screens as I’m preparing to go to bed. One other important feature that I think is important to mention is nightlight, which will turn the very blue-ish light that comes from your phone to more of an orange tone that’s really nice when you’re trying to prepare for bed, but I don’t think it’s a replacement for just straight up not using your phone or using it a lot less. However, it’s nice I have it automatically set to turn on at 9:30 and that way I’m not looking at so much blue light before I go to bed. I also find being a photographer and a filmmaker that it ruins apps like Instagram or Netflix because it completely throws the colors out of whack. So once again I try to use that to my benefit. Beyond this homepage, I have organized my apps into general categories so the next page has tools that I find useful, including messaging apps and stuff like my Gmail. After that, I have a page dedicated to apps that I use when I create videos, like YouTube videos and that sort of thing. And then a page for money-related apps. You will notice that I have absolutely, no shortcuts to social media and other apps that I feel pull me in, and really distract me from what I’m trying to get done throughout the day. That isn’t to say that I don’t use these apps, but I am intentionally trying to increase the friction between myself and being sucked into these apps so that I go on to them less often. It’s an added step to kind of look for them. It’s an added step to get engaged in Instagram, Reddit, etc. So the two potential ways to set that up for yourself are, either you can remove the shortcut if possible on your phone so that you don’t see it on your home pages, or if you can’t do that, throw these apps into a folder and place that folder in a corner of your phone. So once again, you have to go looking for it. I used to think that was really a silly thing to do because look I’m not five years old. I have self-control, but that’s not the point. The point is that you’re giving yourself the best odds. Going and using these apps can almost become muscle memory, right? We can unconsciously unlock our phones and find ourselves reading scrolling etc. And that’s not beneficial. That’s not productive. That’s not helpful. And it doesn’t make your life better. So making it more difficult to do that is in your benefit and finally, I want to talk really quickly about digital well-being which is a feature that’s built into Android. There are other alternatives available out there for whatever fun that you potentially use. But the concept is really simple and it’s that you should track your phone usage. This feature is really awesome because it tells me how many times I’ve unlocked my phone today, how many notifications I’ve received today, and how long I have spent on each app. This is really eye-opening and really useful information because knowledge is power and anything that is tracked gets managed. I found that just by looking at this and being aware of how much time I was putting into my phone, I put a lot of effort towards curbing my time on my phone so that I’m not spending literally hours a day on it. It’s just helpful to be aware of these sorts of things, especially if it’s important to you to be putting your time towards things that are more meaningful to you. Okay, that’s pretty much it. Once again, these are very simple things to set up. It should not take you more than five minutes to kind of configure things. But I do think it has a huge impact and is really really useful. This is new technology, and it has changed all of our lives and I think it’s really important to talk about these sorts of things as we try to figure out how to best use these tools. I hope you found this video valuable. I definitely don’t have everything figured out, so feel free to leave a comment down below if you feel like I missed something. I will say that although this is a work in progress, I feel like the things that I’ve already done have already had an impact on my life and that’s why I wanted to share with you guys. And if you enjoyed this video consider subscribing, there’s a lot more coming soon including more episodes in this series. I talk a lot about mental clarity and things that I’m doing or trying to do to live more presently. There’s a bonus episode available on my Patreon, so if that interests you go check it out Otherwise, you can follow me on social media and thanks for watching. I’ll see you soon.


100 thoughts on “Break Your Phone Addiction: Digital Minimalism 04”

  • I don't have any social media app on my phone except YouTube. I watch YouTube videos for 6-7 hours everyday. I tried to uninstall it once but I got super stressed out that I reinstalled it within 2 days. I need help

  • I turned off the notifications of certain apps like Instagram or WhatsApp, I noticed that I spent way less time on these apps. Because as soon as I got a message or sth, I felt like I HAVE TO check it. Now I only go on These apps, when I REALLY feel like it, not because my mind thinks I have to.

  • Beatriz Oliveira says:

    Hi, I'm from Brazil, and I'm addicted to your channel.
    I have a curiosity what is your notebook and desktop computer?
    You're amazing.

  • How can u say that you don't use social medias when there are lot of social media links in your channel description counter

  • I tried gray scale, and felt like i didn't even know how to use my phone hahah
    Good tip though
    I'm going to explore it and see if it helps me, thanks:)

  • Another thing, you can do is to use "Slim Launcher" on android, it restricts the use of more then 5 apps, so it makes your phone kind of Light Phone and it really helps in controlling the usage of phone

  • Aadith Shameel says:

    The problem is most of these are toggles. Nothing really prevents me from turning them off once they are active.

  • A pro-tip for android is to use a custom launcher that allows you to hide apps from your drawer, you can still use the search function in the drawer to find them when you really want to, but it's just that much more difficult to open them 😉

  • i removed all socials and I do a lot more reading and listening to books I use pocket and medium for reading articles and blinkist which is essentially cliff note style audio books.

  • Nick Mangampo, Jr says:

    I'm also using Pixel 3 and I find the digital wellbeing feature as a must have especially if you're spending too much time on social media. 'Flip to Shhh' is also hands down the best feature, where you place your pixel 3 face down and it automatically activates Do Not Disturb

  • For IPhone users who want to change their screen to grayscale:

    In iOS 10, go to 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.

  • I'd also recommend to control all of the notifications that comes to your phone. I turned off all the sounds, badges, messages on lock screen and banners from social media apps. 

    So now it's me to decide when I want to chat, when I want to be lazy and entertain myself.

    Also I’d recommend to turn off ALL the notifications that you don’t ever need. By doing so you kill all the distractions that your phone can bring to you. Most of the time I found myself picking up my smartphone every time I get message or any other unnecessary notification from the app I rarely use.

    So if you also raise your phone way more often than you want to, try to manage your notifications

  • I like setting a specific time in my day and limiting it to about 30 mins where I can check social media and be distracted and that helps me not check it the rest of my day

  • Thank you very much! Didn't even know the grey scale settings existed, they are really helping me… getting bored quickly!

  • I followed your advice and reduced my phone usage by half. Thank you so much for making this content, you've changed my life <3

  • When it comes to this subject, I was wondering if theres any advice on how to get less distracted by social media during long study periods, exam periods, or just generally for people that would like to spend their time learning and being productive more. Whats the best way to take breaks in between productive sessions?

  • Trupti Jagtap says:

    I already use many tips . I have instagram and twitter Account . I found weird solution for insta . I uninstalled insta app from my phone and installed it on my mom's phone. Now I check it once in 3-4 days. I use twitter only on my laptop . So I have not installed it on my phone . It helps 😌

  • I am at that point where I feel stressed as soon I hear a message coming in. What I do now is put all the messaging apps on like the 4th page of my phone and it often is on silent,especially when I am working or relaxing. I hate it how much time I spend on my phone. Before smartphones I used to paint and read so much, now I waist my time watching youtube. At least social media like instagram and facebook don’t have a toxic effect on my mind (because I don’t follow toxic people lol)

  • Ashwin Kumar says:

    If you are God level addicted to your Android device then try this Launcher. It helped me a lot to reduce my phone usage. A lifetime free launcher. Trust me when you start using this you will fall in love with yourself and life and be less glued to your phone.

  • Ali Aljuwayed says:

    To turn grayscale on iphone

    1- go to settings
    2- go to general
    3- go to Accessibility
    4- go to display Accommodations
    5- click on color filters turn the toggle on , automatically it is going to got to grayscale mode but if it didn’t their are choices available down where you can pick ( they become available only when you turn the toggle switch on )

  • Im not addicted to my tech but I do spend lots of time chatting with my friends and sometimes lose productive hours because Im texting instead of working or studying

  • I uploaded a text on medium about the same thing! Digital minimalism on our phones.
    I would deeply appreciate it if you had a look!

  • Omggggggg I didn't know the black and white thing existed thanks I just put my phone in monochrome and it's so relaxing for my eyes

  • I can't find gray-scale on my android but anyways, I loved the video! It's really helpful. I'm already doing a few of the tips but I found some I wasn't doing it yet.

  • — Social media is ok but turn it notifications off, turn it badges off include email, except VIP such as invoices.
    — on iPhone: Turn on don’t disturb at night till, sunrise. Include: don’t disturb while driving.
    — try to look around. The more you put your attention, the more you’ll see something attract your attention.
    — nice video. Thanks

  • Jonathan Moore says:

    Great video. What makes your video unique is the fact that you are not so much focused on the number of apps you have on your phone, but instead utilizing a setup that minimizes meaningless time on your phone.

  • I watch 3-4 hours of YouTube everyday. Just found that out in Digital Wellbeing. Holy shit! Thanks for this video, man.

  • Why did you choose a Pixel over the iPhone when you own a Mac? I am just curious because i am also considering an Android and Mac set up.

  • Michael Chavalas says:

    Something that i'm thinking about trying is getting a keypad phone to carry with me during the day , then use a tablet for apps when i have time at home. Also having a real digital camera with me if i go somewhere I want to take pictures.

  • Carlos Saucedo says:

    A tool that I use a lot and it's really useful and rewarding is an app called 'Forest' you set the time that you want to be WITHOUT your phone, and in the meanwhile the app let a digital tree grow up, if you use your phone the tree dies so I think its a really cute way to get you away from your phone, and also if you plant enough of those trees you can plant a real tree in Africa, look it up, it's amazing, i've been using it for the last month and it really helps out

  • my-financial-wealth blog says:

    Digital detox gaining popularity.Here’s top 15 ideas how to reduce stress from online life:
    1)Reduce social media time to minimum (use settings for time limit per day)
    2)Unfollow celebrities accounts.You don’t need to know what celebrity dog had for lunch.Better concentrate on your own life and make it memorable
    3)Unfollow people who irritate you
    4)Block unnecessary notifications (yes, you can live with only a few notifications per day!)
    5)Delete unnecessary SMS&block spam numbers
    6)Clean your e-mail box
    7)Unsubscribe from spam&promotion letters
    8)Delete unneeded photos, cut videos to perfect size, deleted outdated documents
    9)Delete games and download language learning app
    10)Listen to podcast and audiobook
    11)Schedule work related calls one by one and dedicate only required number of minutes. Don’t let people call you when they want
    12)Use no disturbing mood or airplane mode while exercise
    13)No disturb mood while studying
    14)Install app which will track how much time on phone
    15)Use calendar to plan your time
    There’s no need to quit your phone time but think on what you should spend it.Prioritize what gives you income,education,personal happiness.

  • hi Nathaniel, interesting but I am more interested in the way you organized your apps. For instance, how did you place some of your apps hanging down the screen ? and where is this grey thing? thank you for the inspiration 🙂 p.s. you made me open my headspace after months

  • I just turned my phone display into greyscale and now everything doesn't look that interesting that much. Thank you for good tips.

  • Btw, the features that you're saying are built into android are actually only built into pixel phones.
    Just wanted to let you know.
    Great video by the way

  • Magoo Investing says:

    The gray scale thing is so funky. I thought it was ridiculous at first but it's been a really great thing for keeping me off my phone when everything looks boring.

  • Great video! I'm currently in the middle of a Instagram break and it feels so good to be away from everything. It feels great to not have the urge to see what everyone is doing. I'm a lot more focused on college and life. Definitely recommend this.

  • What I'm trying to do is only use my phone for music and texting my parents/boyfriend.
    Social media I use I forget. Instagram I completely forgot that I had until someone asked me what my insta was.

  • the seasons of us says:

    I turned off notifications for all my social media accounts, and deleted the Facebook app off my phone so I now need to go through internet browser to access it. Definitely helps!

  • I have done the same thing with my desktop. I put everything which can distract me in a folder. Like my games. You shouldnt even see the icon of your games/distraction programs. Also when studying and lets say you really want to watch something on youtube, use incognito mode. That way the youtube algorithm resets and doesnt know your weak spots to steal your attention. Recommended videos will be easier to ignore that way.

  • You don't need an app to meditate. This is stupid. You just concentrate on your breath and close your eyes while concentrating. That's freaking it.

  • your videos are helping me alot to dive into
    my personality to think really about i think of myself is my action directing me to that?

  • I deleted everything but Facebook in order to keep up with distant family. Changed my life. I’m not worried about keeping up posts or counting the likes.

  • Keep in mind that YouTube is social media equally or more addictive than Facebook and Twitter.

    I put an auto reply in my personal email that lets the sender know my windows of response.

    My phone is never on after 8 pm.

    My phone is never my alarm. It’s charging in my kitchen after last call at 7:30 pm until I come down ready in the morning.

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