In today’s fast-paced world, distractions abound, and most of them come from our electronic devices. It’s disheartening to see people with their faces buried in their phones, seemingly disconnected from the world around them. Personally, I reached a breaking point with digital distractions and decided to take action. Here’s what I did to regain control of my life.

I Started by Removing Useless Apps from My Phone

At one point, I had more than four screens of apps on my iPhone, and I know many people who have even more. It became overwhelming, and I often forgot where an app was among the numerous screens of mostly unused apps. I realized that I had turned organizing my apps into a game, constantly shuffling them around in search of the perfect arrangement.

So, I decided to purge. I deleted the time-wasting “social” apps from my phone without hesitation. If I wanted to spend time on Facebook, I would intentionally make time for it. Now, I rarely check Facebook, and I’ve even reduced my “friend” list to only include people I actually know. I also experimented with moving the remaining apps I didn’t absolutely need to a folder on the second home screen. If I used an app frequently, it earned a promotion back to the first home screen. After a month, I ended up with just 16 apps on my first screen, including the four essential ones in the dock.

For apps that I didn’t touch after two months, I removed them from my phone completely. I realized that I could always download them again if I needed them. This approach has helped me stay focused when using my phone, and I now regularly evaluate my home screen to remove or demote apps that don’t serve a purpose.

I Set Most App Notifications to Badge Only

To further reduce distractions, I set most app notifications on my phone to badge only. No sounds, vibrations, banners, or alerts that can disrupt my concentration. I check my apps on my own schedule, not dictated by notifications. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Phone and Messages notifications are necessary for communication, and I also allow notifications for my task management and calendar apps. However, I turned on “Do Not Disturb” mode between 10 pm and 6 am to have uninterrupted time for sleep and focus in the morning.

Breaking free from the constant need to check notifications was challenging at first, but with time, I found myself picking up my phone less frequently and being more productive throughout the day. It’s liberating to not be tethered to my phone all the time.

I Set Limits on Device Use

As a family, we decided to set limits on when and where electronic devices are acceptable. For example, we have a strict rule of no phones at the table during meals, whether at home or in a restaurant. During family gatherings, we put away our devices in pockets or purses, allowing us to connect with each other face-to-face. We may use phones for taking photos, but we remind each other to stay present and not get lost in our devices. This approach has helped us be more mindful and present in our interactions.

These are some of the strategies I’ve employed to combat digital distractions and regain control of my life. It’s a continuous process, and I sometimes slip up, but overall, I’ve found that I’m more aware of my device usage and more engaged with the world around me. If you’re also looking to reduce digital distractions, I encourage you to give these strategies a try. You might be surprised by the positive impact it can have on your life.