We all love our smartphones — and a lot of us use them too much. According to one report, the top 10 percent of smartphone users touch their phone a staggering 5,427 times a day. And even the average user grabs his or her phone 2,617 times a day. Imagine what your life would look like if so much of your day weren’t taken up by that small screen. Would you be more productive at work? Have stronger relationships with friends? Finally have the chance to finish the book you have been reading for the past 6 months?

Technology companies are starting to acknowledge the addictive nature of smartphones and create more human-focused technology. Although using technology to unplug from technology may sound paradoxical, given the powerful hold our devices have on us, it makes sense. Here are 5 apps that will help you started.


1. Space: Before getting that burst of instant gratification from an addictive app, Space creates a short pause. When using Space, before opening your app of choice, a calming blue-green screen appears encouraging you to take two deep breaths. As you breathe, the expanding and contracting circles help you slow your breath and bring your attention to the present. These few moments allow you to be more aware of your choices and put you in full control.

2. RescueTime: Want to know how much time you’re spending on specific apps and websites? RescueTime helps you track data. The dashboard keeps tabs on your productivity by displaying hourly and daily graphs of your internet usage. And RescueTime Premium will also block the websites that tend to sidetrack you and notify you when your allotted time for a site is up.

3. Offtime: Offtime is for those who need a digital detox. It can both track your time spent on every app and put your phone in do-not-disturb mode. It also gives you the ability to create a special VIP contact list, so even while you’re off the grid, important people can still get in touch with you. Also, if there are special apps that you need to maintain access to, you can create a list that you can use during “away” time.

4. Freedom: Freedom completely blocks the internet, apps or specific sites of your choice, so that you can get your work done without any distractions. Select the length of time, select the apps or sites you want to block and get to work.

5. ClearLock: Clearlock allows you to block a specific app for a set period of time. Just be sure you don’t need to get one last look at Instagram, because you won’t be getting back in until your chosen set time elapses.