How To Fight Digital Addiction

Uzair Hussain
3 min readJul 10, 2018



1. Over 1-Billion People Wake-Up to Smartphone Everyday ⏰

2. Average 12 apps used before walking out door in morning📱

3. Average 180 phone checks per day ⌚️📱


Likes, comments, retweets invoke similar response to any addictive substance abuse. Only handicapping yourself when immediately responding to device notifications.


1. Adolescent Focus & Attentiveness is fragmented due to myriad of productivity tools.

2. Prescription Drug Abuse — Ritalin/Adderall cause sleep side effects that affect daily productivity.

3. App Services are blurring lines — multiple calendars, multiple social media, multiple transit, multiple messaging

Best Practices:

1. Personalize Push Notifications with custom vibrations or visual alerts that relay deeper context — such as who sent the message or when to walk out the door.

2. Build Routines with Power Apps to decrease app usage throughout day. These apps allow you to use colored lights or environment changes like room temperature to communicate alerts.

3. Avoid reacting to Social alerts. Take time to respond during set times of day or build routine to allow for clearing unread notifications. These can be specific hours of the day or specific days of the week.

Try This:

Turn on “read” receipts to allow others to recognize your cadence for response. This will remove commentary like “Hey just checking in if you got my message” or “What took you so long to respond” — Once your network understands your method of prioritization, they will adapt to your response style.

Try This:

Imagine you’re at a social gathering or outdoor event. As you’re experiencing the event, you also decide to share the event with your personal network on social media. As the event continues, you’re also engaging with your network and personalizing the content according to their likes or comments. What part of this event do you enjoy more? The event — Or the online assessment of the event?

Happiness Tank:

We can only serve others when we are internally happy. It is necessary to control your happiness tank because nobody can fill it but you. Each response to a notification is a withdrawal from the happiness tank.


Accountability drives growth. Allows for building personal roadmap and keeping right people involved to tackle blockers or celebrate wins.

Personal Plug:

A healthy start to each morning is important for mental and physical health throughout the day. Accountability is required when setting daily/weekly goals.

Cleu, the Morning Alarm Clock — Allows me to have a clean start to the day with the right information trickled in as I need to stay updated throughout the day. Also allows me to control how my network reaches me through morning voice memos that have receipts for ‘delivered’, ‘seen’, and ‘listened’. — By slowly reducing the need to use other apps, Cleu has become a power app that allows me to build healthy routines right from the alarm clock.

Thank you Sam Altman for taking this issue seriously.