Dumb Down Your Smartphone

We’ve all heard of unplugging or taking social media breaks, but it’s not realistic for some of us who need our phones for work, or who really have no discipline to totally resist. So how about just “dumbing down” your cell phone? I recently came across this term and was fascinated by it.

Dumbing down isn’t about leaving your cell phone off completely, but about learning how to use it so that you aren’t distracted constantly, AND so that you can honestly hop on just to grab a phone number or text an important message and not fall down that rabbit hole of endless surfing. Great idea, right? We could all benefit from this.

Dumbing down your cell phone involves three steps:

  • turning off notifications for apps that constantly keep you looking–Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc….anything that pings every few minutes from new posts
  • putting all of your well-used apps into a folder that’s NOT on your phone’s front page
  • wrapping your phone in a rubber band

Turning off notifications is the easiest way to quiet your phone. You might have to go into each app to find those settings, but you’ll also want to select how your phone rings, or how email shows up in your apps. It’s easy to set your apps to just display a notification, or get rid of them completely for a day (or an hour). You can turn them back on later. No notifications means your phone will stay silent, but you won’t miss important phone calls. (Turn off text notifications, too!)

Putting all of your apps into a folder will require a little more work, but if you can’t readily see the ones you use every few minutes (or seconds), you’ll be less likely to use them. You can access the folder easily (and even move it to your main screen later), but it makes you work harder to get at the things that waste your time. Smart.

Lastly, wrapping your phone in a rubber band might seem seem extreme, but it’s more of a visual reminder than a deterrent. Remember people who used to put a rubber band on their wrists to remember something, or snap it to remind them not to do something? This is the same idea. The rubber band tells you that you’re actively trying to stay away from using your phone for a little while.

And if you’re looking for something fun to read while taking a social media break, but just can’t stop thinking about Twitter, how about this: THE DONALD J. TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TWITTER LIBRARY by Steve Badow. It’s a fun analysis of all of Trump’s tweets since becoming President, and a political “analysis” of each one from the writers of The Daily Show.

Place a hold on it now. This one is going to be popular! And good luck with your dumbing down project!


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