How To Break Up With Your Phone: Solutions For A Healthier Digital Life

5 Mins Read

How often do you find yourself giving in to digital distractions? We’re all guilty of wasting time on social media when we should be working, playing rounds of Candy Crush when we should be studying, felt our self-esteem plummeting whilst scrolling through impossible Insta abs or feeding into our FOMO as we troll seemingly perfect destinations and vacations from Instagrammers that you follow. I notice a lot of families sitting in restaurants, glued to their smartphones eating dinner in absolute silence without ever having a single conversation at the table. It’s a scene I experience all too often these days. As our society delves deeper into our digital devices, we seem to be losing more of ourselves in the process.

Digital detox platform Time To Log Off, lists some scary statistics, facts and research about our digital addiction and the need log off. Vanity Fair published an insightful and profound piece about social media and its current domination within our society. The digital age has changed us and it’s high time to set some boundaries. We’ve talked about going on a digital detox but let’s be real: our smartphones have become an extension of us, and ditching the phone altogether might not be as feasible as we think. Instead of banishing your smartphone, how about figuring out how to have a healthier, more balanced relationship with it? Perhaps using an app to curb phone time? It might seem counterintuitive to download another app on your phone… for your phone, but for the purposes of keeping yourself accountable – it works. The big takeaway is to be pragmatic about your detox; agreeing to curtail usage is more realistic than quitting cold turkey. To help scale back your smartphone for longer stretches of time, we’ve compiled some solutions to stop scrolling and start living. Set your intentions and download one of these apps to help mow down mobile time.


Function: Blocks distracting apps (iOs)


Freedom enables you to customize your connectivity, unplug, and find a balance between your on- and off-line life. By blocking distracting apps, websites, and even email that you personally set, Freedom aims to improve your focus and productivity. By using a limited VPN profile (which doesn’t make a VPN connection to a server) that allows the app to block content directly to your device, users have the option to utilize the “Locked Mode,” which prevents you from cheating – in case you can’t be trusted. 😑


Function: Limit device usage (iOs)


By monitoring your smartphone usage every day, Moment is designed to limit your daily phone usage and offers a nudge when you’re approaching those limits. Tracking how much time you’re using and where you’re spending said time (whether it be email, Instagram, Twitter, etc), the app will “force” you off your phone or tablet once you’re over the limit. Currently available on iOS devices only, Moment can also monitor your families screen time as well.


Function: Phone habit tracker (iOs, Android)


One of the OG phone tracking apps, Checky answers one simple question: how many times a day do I check my phone? Simple with no frills, while the app won’t catalog where you’re spending phone time, the analytics of your phone usage can be an important wake-up call and thus, help curb your habits.


Function: Find your phone/life balance (iOs, Android)


Formerly BreakFree, the developers took the best parts of its former app, added some new features and repackaged it in a simpler and more beautiful user experience. With SPACE, the app monitors your phone behavior, helps you set goals for your phone use, and tracks progress (collecting achievements as you meet your goals). With their 60 day program, SPACE will show you data about how you use your phoned help you find your phone life balance by dimming screens, blocking notifications, interrupting prolonged sessions and friendly nudges throughout the day. It’s pretty far out 🙂

Stay on Task

Function: Work more, play less (Android)


An inconspicuous and low-profile way to get work done, Stay On Task is a great tool for those that get easily distracted. A reminder will pop up at discrete intervals to check and see if you are, indeed, on task. Their premium version, Stay On Task PLUS, allows for customizable alarm tones, background images and the ability to pause your work sessions and automatically track your work sessions.


Function: Limit your app usage (Android)


Designed to tone down your mobile app usage, learn how often and how much you are using your apps through AppDetox. From there, set rules to control your app usage and every time you break one of your own rules, AppDetox will remind you to put the phone down.


Function: Unsubscribe from emails (iOs, Android)


To free yourself of a cluttered inbox (something we all hate!), sign up on Unroll to show you a list of all the emails and newsletters you are subscribed to. Pick and choose the subscriptions you’d like to keep and the app will consolidate them into a daily digest called the Rollup, and keep the rest in your inbox. The Rollup can be delivered each day at a time of your choosing. It’s free to download but in order to unsubscribe from more than five subscriptions, you’ll need to leave a review on Facebook, but think of all the time you’ll be saving from having to delete unwanted newsletters one-by-one. Decluttering your inbox has never been easier.


Function: Turn your smartphone into a dump phone (iOS, Android)

$39.95 USD

A wearable device designed to free people from their smartphones, Ditto clips onto clothing (or can be worn as a wristwatch) that buzzes when your mobile rings – notifying users to calls texts, emails, alarms, and even when you’ve forgotten your phone. The app allows you to customize notifications you want to receive while filtering out unwanted distractions. Waterproof, lightweight, and discreet, each Ditto includes a wristband, clip, battery and compatible on both iOS and Android.

All image courtesy of Pexels.


  • Jenny Star Lor

    Jenny Star Lor is Green Queen’s resident eco wellness writer. She is passionate about reducing her carbon footprint, loves all things fitness and enjoys tasting her way through Hong Kong’s veggie dining options. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls Hong Kong home. Previously, she wrote and reported for global publications such as The Hollywood Reporter and US Weekly. She is also a passionate pole dancer and teaches classes across Hong Kong.

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