We all love our smartphones, tablets, and other devices that give us constant access to emails, social media, and cat videos. But being “plugged in” 24/7 can get in the way of our productivity and even our mental and physical health. If breaking yourself of the habit of scrolling through Facebook, checking your email, or taking a new selfie has proven to be a nearly impossible task, don’t worry; there’s an app for that.
While it might seem counterproductive to use your smartphone to help you stay away from your smartphone, here are six excellent apps that could be just what you need to boost your productivity and give yourself a much-need tech timeout.
Binky has been dubbed the ultimate anti-social media app for good reason. This app simulates the mindless liking, swiping, and tapping that happens as you scroll through other social media platforms, but there’s a catch. None of the information you like, swipe, or tap on Binky is real. Think of Binky as a sort of pacifier app to soothe your urge to scroll through something on your phone, without getting caught up in the negative comments, political statements, and fake news stories.
Most people have absolutely no idea how often they check their phones throughout the day. With Checky, those days are gone. Checky is an app available for iOS and Android that keeps track of how many times you’re on your phone. The idea here is that once you realize just how frequently you default to checking your smartphone each day, you can take steps to kick this habit, or at least significantly reduce your number.
Moment by Pittsburgh-based developer Kevin Holesh is similar to Checky, but also lets users set their own time limits to rein in how much time they’re spending on their smartphones. Once this time is up, Moment essentially turns your phone into a flip phone of yesteryear. You’re still able to answer calls and texts, but you can’t check Snapchat or scroll through Facebook during this break time.
Pause puts a different spin on what it means to “unplug.” This paid app focuses on relaxation and decluttering your mind by having users draw blobs of color with their fingertips. Once you take your finger off the screen, the color disappears. It might seem like a very simple concept, but Pause can offer a stress-free break from your otherwise chaotic, jam-packed daily routine.
If you’ve always wanted to try meditation but haven’t quite been able to get the hang of it, Calm is the app for you. It offers free guided meditations and sleep-improvement techniques, complete with your choice of soothing sounds and backgrounds. Whether you have two minutes or a half-hour, Calm can help you unwind and de-stress.
Offtime is perfect for the busy professional who can’t realistically shut her phone off and hope for the best. This app allows users to choose which contacts and apps are able to disturb your “offtime” and which can wait. For example, you can set up the app so that your kids can still text or call you, but all other calls, texts, emails, and distractions will be turned off. But this information won’t be lost in cyberspace. Offtime will notify you of everything you missed so that you can catch up later.
Do you have any hand apps that help you destress or unplug? Share them in the comments below!
Borchers, Callum. “Need to Unplug? There’s an App for That.” Boston Globe, 13 Jan. 2015, www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/01/12/need-unplug-there-app-for-that/goAD2TP3rjiQNTWA8qg3YP/story.html. Accessed 18 June 2017.