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8 Apps That Will Help You Disconnect from Your Phone

8 Apps That Will Help You Disconnect from Your Phone

If you want to be your most productive, most complete or most studious self, you need to disconnect from the digital and interface with the physical. That doesn’t mean you should stop reading this immediately—we have bills and advertisers to pay, after all—but you should consider installing at least one app on your phone that allows you to monitor how frequently you’re wasting time scrolling through Facebook, liking on Instagram, and upvoting on Reddit. These are our favorite apps that will help you disconnect from your phone.


From the zombie apocalypse and foreign horror films, to clowns in sewers and wet sloths, this world is filled with a lot of terrifying things. None of those things will frighten you as much as the amount of the time you spend on your phone everyday. Moment is a simple screen time tracker that monitors your phone usage down to the specific app you’re using. It then delivers informative reports about how much time you spend on your phone to help you curtail your reliance on the portable computer you look at almost 4 hours a day (their average for 4 million users). iOS


If you’re the kind of person that needs a little more incentive when it comes to avoiding the perils of the Internet rabbit hole, look no further than Forest. Built on the popular Pomodoro Technique (25 minute work intervals with short breaks in between), Forest is an active tracker that has you set a timer for focusing and then plant a digital tree. As the timer counts down, the tree will grow, but it will wither if you leave the app. Eventually, you’ll build a digital productivity forest you can admire, but more importantly, you’ll earn virtual coins that can be used to plant real life trees through Trees for the Future. It’s productivity gamification for sure, but it’s also led to more than 238,000 trees being planted by Forest. Who doesn’t want to do some good while they’re getting shit done? iOS | Android


This might seem odd coming from people responsible for publishing the online men’s lifestyle destination you’re currently patronizing, but year after year, one of the things we can all agree on when it comes to New Year’s resolutions is disconnecting for a while. That’s easier said than done, especially when your bread and butter is the Internet. Freedom simplifies that entire process by blocking Internet access or specific apps and websites so you can be one of the more than 500,000 people that reclaim more than two hours of productivity each day. iOS


Praised by outlets ranging from the Wall Street Journal to Bloomberg, and trusted by educational institutions ranging from UCLA to Vanderbilt, Flipd is a productivity and learning tool that will actually motivate you to stay present and focused by locking you out of our phone after you set it to “Flipd Off” (the clever turn of phrase isn’t lost on us). Whether you’re using it in intervals to crank out some reports, put some workout hacks to the test or just pay attention in class, Flipd allows you to turn off the distractions when necessary. iOS | Android


When you want to disconnect without completely cutting yourself off from the outside world, the Offtime app is the answer. With an easy-to-read dashboard that includes number of unlocks, time used, communication minutes, app usage statistics and a proprietary “offtime score”—along with auto-responding to messages or allowing your important contacts to still reach you during your “offtime”—this is an app that makes being present as easy as reserving an off-the-grid AirbnbiOS | Android


If disconnecting from your phone is all about regaining your focus and relieving stress so you can focus on interacting with the real world around you, one of the best ways to do that is by installing another app on your phone. It seems incredibly counterproductive, but PAUSE, the collaborative made by ustwo and Danish mental health company PauseAble, uses the ancient principles of Tai Chi and mindfulness practice to help you regain focus and release stress by slowly and continuously moving your fingertip across the screen. We know it seems crazy, but the app actually left us feeling more relaxed, rested and ready to tackle the day when we used it regularly. iOS | Android


Like plenty of the other productivity apps on this list, QualityTime allows you to monitor your smartphone and app usage with an in-depth analysis of unlocks, number of clicks, and total time used options. They’re all incredibly useful features when you’re trying to reduce your reliance on your smartphone overall, but the most notable feature of QualityTime is its interaction with IFTTT (If This Then That). By linking QualityTime with IFTTT you can get notifications when you’ve exceeded usage, you can text a significant other, mark it on your Google Calendar or even publicly shame yourself by automatically posting to your Facebook timeline. No one wants to deal with the fallout of any of those options, which is why QualityTime is one of the best apps for keeping your smartphone usage honest. Android


When you’re less concerned about the total amount of time you spend on your phone as opposed to the number of times you check it, there’s Checky, the app designed to simply answer the question, “how many times a day do I check my phone?” It won’t block access to the Internet as a whole. It won’t prevent you from using specific apps. It won’t even give you any after action reports telling you that you spent way too much time on your phone throughout the week. It does one thing—tell you how many times you checked your phone—and it does it well. Technically, you can also compare your number of unlocks to those of your friends, but if you’re anything like us, you don’t need those numbers to tell you you’re using your phone too much. iOS | Android

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