I recently visited my friend Brian who is an unusually disciplined guy.
If he says he will track his calories for every meal he eats, he will do it without hesitation…for months.
In fact, he’s tracked his calories every day for 800+ days straight. He’s worked out without fail every week for years at a time.
He’s also very strong dude who deadlifts 500+ pounds.
Once he has built a belief that something is true through months or years of research & experimentation, he will unwaveringly stick to that belief.
I was chatting with Brian about how smartphones can be a major time suck.
Given that one of the top reasons for why guys don’t exercise is “not enough time”, smartphone use is highly relevant. According to one study, the average U.S. adult uses a mobile phone for 3+ hours a day.1
Social media apps are designed to be as addictive as possible and suck you into a vortex so you don’t come out for hours.
You are the product and these social media companies sell your attention – your most valuable asset – for billions of dollars.
I told Brian my solution – get rid of an app cold turkey if it’s a problem. If it’s not on my phone, then I won’t use it or think about it. Out of sight, out of mind.
He has a different solution, which may work better depending on the situation.
He uses an app called “Freedom” that allows him to set specific days/times for access to any app or website on his phone. And it works across all devices.
So if you like to use Facebook to connect with friends, you can limit your website or app use to 4-5pm on Monday and Thursday, or a set a max duration of 30-minutes a day.
The idea is to forcibly stop the dopamine feedback loop in advance with your faculty of reason.
“But wait, I just have to see this one video!”
Something you didn’t know existed 3-seconds ago is now the most important thing in your life. We’ve all been there.
Brian & I laughed at the idea of relying on willpower or self-control when confronted with these apps.
Here’s a quick overview of how we set up our phones for minimal distractions:
MP iPhone Set Up
- 4 apps on home screen excluding phone, messages, calendar, & maps apps which shows on all screens on the bottom row.
- All other apps on second screen organized into folders
- Do not disturb until 11am excluding a handful of “favorites”, phone face down in another room
- No email messaging app
- No phone notifications other than text
Brian’s Android Set Up
- Freedom for managing app and website access
- Appblock as a backup for managing app and website access. He uses two as a failsafe.
- RescueTime for seeing how much he uses his phone in detail
- Sets bedtime mode from 11:30pm to 7:30am
- Keeps his phone on do not disturb in another room when working
You can certainly live a fulfilling life with only 5-10 apps, or amazingly without any.
Think outside the box and see what you come up with.
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