"How can I stop using my phone so much?" This is the question that has been troubling philosophers since the dawn of the universe about 13.8 billion years ago.

The shiny rectangular sandwiches of glass are of course very useful but at while being useful, they are also one of the most disrupting things that mankind has ever experienced. The seemingly infinite stream of endorphin that they hit us with, makes our primitive brain crave more. I am not going to keep listing the same story of every student on technology that "if used nicely it is a boon and if used not so nicely then it can transform into a curse".

"What gets measured, gets managed." We first shall focus our attention on this quote by Peter Drucker. So since we want to mange our time spent using our phones, first lets track it!

Most phones these days already have built in screen-time tracking apps. They are very useful but there are some phones which only give you the total screen-time and not the detailed app-by-app breakdown which is desired. If this is the case for you then here are some suggestions. I recommend using them both in synergy. These are only android suggestions as basically most iPhones already have the feature with the recent IOS updates.

The first app is RescueTime

  • You can download the android app from here
  • The app does offer a premium tier but for most instances and purposes, the basic free tier is enough.
  • This app doesn't offer app-by-app usage statistics but its key feature is the productivity pulse. You can assign websites and apps categories and it will tell you how productive you are according to your statistics.
  • This app is also available for PC and I recommend installing it basically anywhere you can install it.

The next app is ActionDash

  • You can download the android app from here
  • This app is a great app which offers app-by-app usage statistics in a detailed manner.
  • More importantly if the time-tacking built into your phone doesn't allow you to limit a particular app's usage time then this is the app for you.

I assume that you now have both the apps installed and this is the way you start controlling your time.

  • First of all you do nothing and just leave both the time-tacking software up and running while you continue your normal usage. Let this continue for a week or at least a few days.
  • Then look at the data and decide which apps you use a lot that you don't want to use. Once you are decided with that, you can set a timer for those apps in ActionDash. Don't be so foolish as to go from 1 hour of usage on normal days to setting a timer for 10 minutes. First, take the average usage time of that app and set the limit for 10 minutes less than the average. Then, every few days to a week, you decrease the limit by 5 minutes. Don't make the mistake of decrementing it by an enormous amount right of the gate.
  • Once you are done with setting the limit for all the apps that you desire to control, you should try to obey them as closely as you can.

Now, in an ideal world where friction and air resistance were negligible, this should be enough. But sadly we don't live in that world. Humans are not the type to stop by such simple remedies, we need force. We need the force in order to prevent us from disabling the app time limiter. So here is little bonus section for you

  • In this bonus section we are going to use a program called Macrodroid. All the details on how to use it are available in my [Dealing with YouTube](Dealing With YouTube# Macrodroid) article. Just change the app from YouTube to ActionDash.
  • I would also recommend using the hide app feature in order to stop the temptation of messing with your macro.

This is it from me for today, and I will see you in the next one. Happy phone distancing!!