How to Detox Your Phone (And Clear Your Mind) in 15 Minutes

Is your screen time up at the moment? Ours is. There’s no shame in it: we’re relying on our phone and the apps within it more than ever right now, whether it’s to watch workout videos on YouTube or streaming the latest series on Netflix.

But that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to give our phone a bit of a detox, making sure that we’re using it more mindfully than ever before. Detoxing your phone is about streamlining your user experience and clearing your mind in the process, and you can do it all in a few quick steps over the course of just 15 minutes. It’s that simple.

The purge

Maybe you’ve never deleted apps from your phone, despite not using some of them in years. Maybe your phone is full of apps downloaded for long-ago holidays, apps for social media filters you no longer use, apps for games that you no longer play. Now is the time to undertake a great purge and delete them all. Any app that you don’t use anymore should be removed from your phone. If you’re unsure you can always hold onto it, but remember that once deleted you can always redownload it. So if there’s an app that you won’t be using for a while – rideshare apps from foreign countries only used on holidays that you won’t be taking for the foreseeable future, for example – delete them now and just redownload them when we’re all finally able to go on that summer holiday jaunt again.

The re-organisation

Once you’ve undertaken The Purge, it’s time to re-organise your apps. A great way to do this is to group like with like in folders, clearing space on your home screen and helping you classify apps together. Keep all your photography apps in one place, all the apps for your streaming services in another folder, put all the food delivery apps in another. Move your frequently visited apps within a thumb movement from your lock button, which will be a godsend if you’re someone who loves to use your phone with one hand.

The download  

Now that you’ve done your puge and your re-organisation, get back into the App Store and download a few necessary additions for your phone. (If you’ve already got these apps, you can skip this step.) The first thing to download is the Calm app, a mindfulness platform that can walk you through guided routines in a matter of minutes. Another great app to try is Headspace, an app that wants to introduce meditation into the lives of everything through their easy-to-use app. Also in the meditation space is Insight Timer, which has more than 30,000 routines that you can try for yourself.

The background

It might be pure placebo, but you will feel instantly calmer if you switch out your phone background and lock screen for something soothing. Maybe it’s a picture of a sun-drenched location, giving you hope for holidays of the future. Or maybe it’s a harmonious still-life of flowers and fruit. What kind of picture soothes you the most? Go for that.  

The notification settings

A good detox is not only about the way things look. It’s also about how you interact with your phone, which is why it might be time to change your notification settings. Have a think about what information you want to be served by your phone. Do you need to be informed every time someone likes your photos on Instagram? Do you want that? And what about notifications from apps? Or email? If the answer is no, maybe it’s time to switch off notifications. Reduce the amount of information that your phone gives you every day and you will find your relationship with your phone change.

The timer

Remember when we said that there was no judgement from us if your screen time is up? We meant it. We really did. But we also wanted to let you know that if you wanted to get a handle on your screentime, your phone has ways of letting you do it. Many phones, in particular iPhones, have in built timers that can help you control the amount of time you spend in particular apps. For example, if you wanted to limit yourself to a certain amount of hours spent on Facebook and Instagram a day, you can do that in your phone’s settings. If your phone doesn’t have this capability, you can also do it within the Facebook and Instagram apps themselves. The idea is to put the power in your hands, giving you control over how much time you want to give to certain platforms on your phone. You don’t need to do this, but the option is there if you want it.

The airplane mode

Last, but not least, don’t underestimate the power of 15 minutes spent in airplane mode. If you need to limit the distractions coming from your phone, switch it to airplane mode and set a timer. You won’t be disturbed by notifications, texts or calls, which will help you clear your mind and focus on the task at hand.

Lead illustration by Madeline Kate

Loved this? Here are 5 easy ways to detox your home.

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