5 Tips to Help You Take Back Control of Your Phone

Chris Hornung '18

Update 12/11/2017: Click HERE for a complete compilation of tips for optimizing your device settings

Recent research on campus has indicated that students use their phones, on average, 3.5 hours per day. That works out to 24.5 hours per week! Think of what you could do with an extra 24 hours this week! While nothing is inherently wrong with using cell phones, the time you spend looking at your screen may make getting the most out of your time in college difficult. Here are some useful tips to get your eyes up from your screen and get back to doing the things you enjoy most!


 1.    Only allow notifications from apps for communication

A constant stream of notifications can make paying attention to the present challenging. Luckily, your phone allows you to set which apps you receive notifications from. Set up your settings so that you only get notifications from apps that are communication based. For example, keep notifications from Messages and Phone but turn them off for Instagram and Facebook. You can still look at the apps when you have some free time but you wont be tempted to launch them and scroll through your newsfeed every time your picture gets a “like”. Additionally, career networking apps like LinkedIn and Homi allow you to customize the types of notifications you receive. For example, you might want to be notified when you get new InMail, but you don't care to know every time you make a new connection. You can find these options in the settings of each app.



 2.    “Hide” networking apps from your primary home screen

If every time you unlock your phone you see Facebook or Instagram beckoning you to open them, you may find yourself using them more than you intend! To remedy this, move social networking apps out of your primary home screen. Even better, move these apps into folders so that they are more difficult to see at first glance. This will help you make more conscious decisions about the apps you choose to use.



 3.    Download Moment ‌or Offtime

Moment and Offtime are apps that track your daily phone usage. You can set limits for how much you can use your phone per day and track your progress on the data it collects! Link to Moment (IOS only) Offtime (Android and IOS)

 4.    Download Pocket Points

We all know that we shouldn’t use our phones in class but what if I told you there was a way to get rewarded for not using your phone? Enter Pocket Points. With Pocket Points, when you lock your phone and keep it stored away during lecture, you earn points that you can redeem at local stores and restaurants! You’ll get better grades and some bargains to fit your college budget! Link to Pocket Points

 5.   Activate Night Shift or Download Twilight

Our devices screens emit blue light that can interfere with our sleep rhythms. Night shift blocks your iPhone from emitting blue light after sunset. Some studies suggest this may help you fall asleep 15 minutes earlier! To activate Night Shift on iPhone, go to Settings>Display & Brightness Link to Twilight‌ 

For more information and tips on how to improve your relationship with technology visit the Tommies Unplugged webpage at stthomas.edu/wellness