How To Stop Your Smartphone From Hindering Your Productivity

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A whopping 54% of the global population own a smartphone. So, whether you’re a loyal iPhone user or an Android fan, it’s time to learn how to stop your mobile device from hindering your productivity and concentration. 

This article explores nine ways to prevent your smartphone from hindering your productivity, whether at work, home or on the go.

Turn off your notifications

An old study from the University of California found that the average office worker takes 23 minutes to return to a task after being interrupted. So, don’t let unnecessary notifications interrupt your workflow. 

By reducing distractions from texts, weather updates, or social media, you can better concentrate on the task at hand.

You can use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ setting if you need to remain reachable for certain people. This feature silences general notifications but permits those who have chosen to bypass the setting to contact you. In addition, you can choose how long the ‘Do Not Disturb’ setting lasts.

Access time-wasting apps on your computer

Learning the difference between time-wasting apps and valuable tools is the first step in turning your smartphone into a productivity tool.

Consider removing time-wasting apps from your phone and only accessing them when needed from your computer. If you have to go out of your way to access apps through a computer, you will be less likely to use them.

Here are some time-wasting apps that you can check on your computer when needed: 

  • Social media. Once you start scrolling, it’s hard to stop, so consider only opening social media on your computer when you have the free time.
  • News. News providers add junk to their feeds to catch your attention and keep you reading longer than necessary.
  • Weather. Unless you are setting off on vacation or waiting on a storm, there is no reason to check the weather every time you open your phone. 
  • Games. Try playing games on your computer or gaming console rather than staring at a small screen for hours. 

If you are keen to monitor the weather, consider adding the weather report to your phone’s lock screen with the Weather Lock Screen app (for iOS) or Weather + (for Android). This way, you can see the forecast without even opening your phone.

Read Your Voicemail

Listening to voicemails can be time-consuming, so the solution is reading your voicemail instead. 

Visual voicemail instantly transcribes voicemails, letting you check them at a glance.

All iPhones and most Android phones come with a built-in visual voicemail app, but you can also download an app such as Google Voice.

Available on Android and iOS, Google Voice converts voicemails into emails (if you have a Gmail account) or text messages. This allows you to read voicemail messages when you have the time and decide whether or not to contact the caller.

Use a specialized keyboard

Specialized keyboards can save time and increase productivity by making typing faster and easier. 

Some allow you to swipe your finger across the screen rather than tapping each key, while others can predict what you’re typing based on your language style and typing behaviour.

If you take a lot of notes or send many messages, there are a range of smartphone keyboard apps available, such as:

  • Gboard. This app offers voice recognition, predictive typing, and a floating keyboard, and you can use Google Translate without leaving your messaging window.
  • Microsoft SwiftKey. This app learns your typing behavior, such as slang, nicknames, and emojis you use, and adapts to your writing style. It also has an auto-correction feature.
  • Typewise Custom Keyboard. This app has a honeycomb-style keyboard layout that helps reduce potential typos and increase typing speeds.

Track your phone usage 

Almost all smartphones allow you to track your screen time in the settings, and set communication and usage limits. 

In addition, downloadable apps are available that give you a more detailed insight into your phone usage patterns and how much time you spend on certain apps. These include: 

  • QualityTime. This app helps you keep an automatic diary of your phone usage activities.
  • Moment. This app tracks phone usage and allows you to set daily limits for you and your family.
  • Flipd. This app hides social media platforms and games to help you stay focused.
  • AppDetox. This app helps you digitally detox by letting you set rules for your apps and reminding you when to take a break.

Understanding your phone habits will enable you to make usage adjustments to help you be more productive. 

For example, if you spend a considerable amount of your day scrolling through news apps, you might consider deleting them and only accessing the news on your computer—as previously mentioned.

Organize your home screen

Consider organizing your home screen so that only relevant apps are visible when you unlock your phone and those that tend to distract you are on other pages.

For example, if you need to check your emails more, move your chosen email app to the front home page. 

In addition, having a well-organized home screen can also help you find your apps easily and reduce the time you spend searching for them.

Listen to white noise 

White noise is a combination of all the different frequencies of sound between 20 and 20,000 Hz that our ears can recognize and hear, such as raindrops, waterfalls, and the crackling of fires. 

Here are some benefits of listening to white noise: 

  • Better work performance. An old study found that when listening to nature sounds, workers performed better and felt more positive about their environment. 
  • Boosts creativity. Researchers at the University of Illinois confirmed that moderate white noise enhances creative tasks and improves imagination.
  • Maximises focus. White noise can drown out any background noise and eliminate distractions, which helps you stay focused.

White noise can improve focus at work or help people get a better night’s sleep. You can find white noise on the YouTube app or download specific white noise apps, such as Noisly and Relaxio.

Make use of virtual assistants

Your smartphone’s built-in virtual assistants, such as Siri and Alexa, can complete simple tasks such as sending messages or conducting internet searches, giving you more time to do more important tasks. 

Powered by AI, these virtual assistants can listen to and understand verbal commands and then interpret them to take the appropriate action precisely and quickly.

Make use of your calendar

Most smartphones have a pre-installed calendar app allowing users to track work events, social outings, birthdays, appointments, and upcoming vacations.

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If you have a partner and/or children, you could create a shared calendar in Google Calendar. This way, you can keep track of what’s happening from your smartphone to ensure you always attend your child’s sports game, your partner’s work function, or your next dentist check-up.


It is likely you always have your smartphone close by, whether in your hand, pocket, or bag. So, consider following the steps in this article to ensure your smartphone doesn’t hinder your productivity, affect your concentration and focus, or distract you from what’s important.