You are addicted to your iPhone. Here’s how you can take back control.

How I reduced my iPhone usage by a huge margin and gained my sanity back.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a victim of iPhone addiction. I unlock my phone more than I say Thank you, more than I say I love you, and more than I should be.

Some cold, hard, facts about my addiction:

I have over 300 apps on my iphone! I download and engage with. Call it Hoarding!
Guilty as Charged! Tinder is my Facebook…quite literally.

Now that my personal liaison with my iPhone is out of the way. Let’s find out what makes using phones, so addictive-

Most apps have vibrant, captivating colors that steal our attention by playing on our primal nature and biology.

30% of our brain comprises of neurons devoted to vision. And what better to get all those neurons fired up than to expose it to the color, red!

There are two reasons why you are hooked to apps like Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.

  1. The Red Notification Icon.
    Red is a trigger color. There is a reason why Facebook’s notification icon is in Red, why app notifications are in Red.
Notification by Marcos Castro

It’s to hook you into doing something that can relieve your anxiety of FOMO and urgency. At the very least it hooks you into making it go away with a tap.

2. Dynamic Content
How many social media apps do you use that employ endless scrolling?
I bet, quite a few. And the reason for that is simple: Variable Reward — you don’t know what content you will get to see next.

Your dopamine level shoots up because your brain is expecting a reward in the form of “discovering” new content.

I use the term discovering for a reason that you might perhaps not like. When you discover new content, you are not only keeping your mind engaged; you are subtly taking ownership of said content. This plays perfectly with today’s irrational fear of missing out.

Our lives are intertwined through social media platforms, and our interactions, interwoven through diverse medium of communication.

This is to such a degree that it takes a variably short amount of time to get hooked into rewards, that is, new content.

Here is how you maximize your attention economy and take back control of your life.

  1. Disable all notifications from Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat
    *Set a time of the day* when you can check all these above apps. After all the key to this step is not on missing out on your social life but controlling the impact it has on you.
  2. Disable notifications and badges from your email app.
    Don’t fear missing out on emails. They are email, not phone calls, it’s okay to see them later. Follow the same rule of checking your emails at certain times of the day.
  3. Make your iPhone Display Grayscale
    This will drastically reduce visual noise and help you focus on just the thing you needed to do.

Try for one week. If it doesn’t work, you can personally complain to me :)

at Anmol.Sarita.Bahl