Apps can be a great addition to any smartphone. They have the capability to do everything from track your steps to help you kill time by flinging birds at shifty structures. But they can also be a giant time suck and pull your focus away from other things you should be doing.
Many of us probably spend way more time on our phones than we should. If you have trouble focusing on your tasks at hand because your phone has too many bells and whistles pulling at your attention, read on to find out how to minimize app distractions.
What is the best way to reduce distractions?
This isn’t a popular answer, but it’s true: turn your phone off. Granted, this doesn’t work in every situation. For example, if you’re driving and you need your GPS, turning your phone off will create more issues than it’ll solve. But in instances where you really don’t need to be reachable for an hour or two and you really need to zero in on what you’re doing, turning off your phone can work wonders.
But what if you need to minimize app distractions when it doesn’t make sense to turn off your phone? In that case…
3 Ways to minimize app distractions
Not every environment is going to be supportive of completely shutting down your phone. After all, you could be waiting for an important phone call, or you may need to be available for emergency situations. In these situations, consider doing any of the following…
- Managing your notifications: Not every app requires your immediate attention. Depending on what kind of phone you have, your method for managing notifications may differ. Generally, you can go into your settings and choose your notification preference for each app.
- Putting your phone away: You don’t have to necessarily lock your phone in a drawer or put it across the room—just having it out of your line of sight can help minimize distractions. Put it behind something on your desk, slip it in your pocket… anything to move it out of your eye-line will help you focus on your task at hand. It will also help ensure that you’ll still get that important call even when your phone is hidden.
- Using a voice assistant to handle certain tasks: Having a voice assistant device can be super helpful when you’re trying to tune out distractions and focus on what you’re doing. For example, if you need to send a text or make a call, you can have your voice assistant do it for you, so you don’t have to break your concentration by shifting your attention to a different screen. In some cases, you can even dictate and send an important e-mail if you have to, all without reaching for your phone.
How do I temporarily block apps?
If you really have an incredibly hard time not thinking about your apps and tearing yourself away from your phone, some phones will allow you to temporarily lock your access to apps. Again, this capability can vary from phone to phone, but in general you can set your screen time for a particular app, so that you only have so much time in the day to use it.
And if all else fails, there’s an app for that—many apps, actually. Their capabilities range from planning out focus time, to encouraging you to put down your phone, to outright locking certain apps. So, depending on how distracted you can get, chances are there are potential solutions out there.
This article is AT&T sponsored content written by Carly Milne, a TechBuzz contributor. The statements in this article are her own and don’t necessarily represent the positions, strategies, or opinions of AT&T.