Technology puts the world at your fingertips. Catching up with friends, relatives, and co-workers is as easy as pulling out your phone no matter where you’re at. Time wasters are a dime a dozen too. Apps range from endless social media feeds to games and challenges designed to entertain and immerse you. Of course, entertainment has value, but they lose it quickly when you’re glued to your screen at the expense of missing life around you.

The Negative Side of Tech

Lost time is the largest side effect of too much tech. How often have you said, “I have a few minutes. Let me check this real quick.”

When you finally look up from your phone, those few moments have turned into more time than you anticipated. You might miss appointments, lose productivity, be late for other events, or your break lasted three times longer than you planned because you had to beat the new level of Candy Crush.

That lost time can lead to more negatives as it creates a domino effect, but the danger doesn’t end there.

Distraction is another problem with technology, and safety isn’t much further behind. Often they arrive together as a cause and effect. How many accidents occur because someone took their eyes from the road to check an alert on their phone? One in four car accidents is the answer, regardless of hands free technology used.

Is there a solution? Yes, you might require a digital detox. There’s an app for that as well, which might sound counterproductive, but it’s not.

Who’s at Risk for Tech Overload?

Some people do manage their time on tech better than others do. Whether it’s a preference or better self-control is anyone’s guess. Others aren’t so lucky. According to one study, millennials spend over a three hours a day tied to their phones.

App developers have you believe otherwise with their clever designs commanding more and more of your attention.

A digital detox is how you reassess and regain your productivity at home and work.

Digital Detox

A detox might sound like your smartphone usage is an addiction. In the true sense of the word, it isn’t. It’s simply a way to take control over how and when you use your smartphone.

One possible solution is using an app to be aware of what is stealing your focus. It’s easy to blame social media or watching videos, but actually seeing the time and where it goes can be a strong motivational tool.

A second step everyone should do on a regular basis is delete apps. This can be especially helpful going into your detox because you’re removing the temptation altogether.

A third idea is to check your alerts and notification settings for apps and contacts. Many operating systems allow you to set up emergency contacts or to mark those who can reach you in case of one. Use these wisely because these people will still be able to contact you during your detox hours. Bosses, children, and babysitters come to mind.

Another solution is to stop checking your phone at least an hour before bed or on waking. Productivity boosting and detox apps exist to assist you if you need help.

Helpful Steps to Begin Your Detox

•           Track your time and the apps you’re using most

•           Define work and family emergencies and adjust alerts

•           Set off hours and situations where you answer only true emergencies

•           Give yourself rules

•           Make goals

•           Delete apps that offer you nothing

•           Start small

•           Use detox apps to keep you on track

•           Put your phone out of sight and mind at night

Best Apps for Digital Detoxing and Regaining Productivity

1. Moment

This all in one productivity boosting app allows you to customize features. It also doubles as a tracking app to mark which apps you use the most. You can set time limits on using those apps. Moment will notify once you’ve gone over, and if you choose the setting, it will lock you from the app instantly.

2. Flipd

Research backs Flipd, which uses motivating tactics to keep you focused. You set your goals and reminders. During your off times, you maintain access to apps that allow for productivity while locking out social media and games.

3. Offtime

Offtime offers many features in one package. It can be a diagnostic tool one day, a digital detox another, or for creating a distraction free environment at the touch of a button. You set and control every aspect from blocking calls and texts to disabling apps and their notifications.

4. Forest: Stay Focused

For the game lovers or those who like having a visual goal, Forest: Stay Focused is for you. The more productive your day, the more your tree grows. You unlock other species too, but you must stay on track. They throw in some tough love too; if you leave the app, the program kills a tree. Luckily, they include a whitelist for your non-time sinking apps that keep you productive.

Technology should assist you and not be a constant distraction. Buzzing, ringtones, and other alerts are one part of the puzzle. Another part is the apps themselves. The final piece is you and where you put your priorities. One thing is for certain. Assessing and taking steps to achieve a digital detox can only help your productivity.