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The App That Helped Me Reduce My Screen Time by Half: Minimalist Phone

Open Instagram and check the amount of time you’ve spent on the app by viewing “Your Activity” - you may be shocked by how much you’ve been mindlessly scrolling while drinking coffee in the morning or waiting for the commercials to end during your favorite show.

I thought I was on Instagram maybe 20, 30 minutes tops. Wrong: I was averaging over an hour a day. And that’s just one app - Facebook, Poshmark, and Youtube likely tell a similar story.

Despite feeling stressed over how many things I need to get done every day, I was wasting my time looking at things that didn’t even matter. I realized I needed a change. I didn’t want to completely disconnect from my phone, but I needed to manage my time on it better.

This week, I consistently cut my daily Instagram time in half - now averaging 25 minutes a day on the app (which is definite progress for me). I was more engaged with work, and better at saving the apps for a set period before bed.

Here’s how I did it.

The Minimalist Phone App Helps, Not Hinders

You might distrust the ability of an app to reduce your time spent on apps. Apps are “the problem,” after all. However, the Minimalist Phone App for Android is incredibly effective at what it does: reduce screentime while retaining key accessibility. 

Once I downloaded the Minimalist Phone android app, it was easy to follow the tutorial instructions for setting up the app, which ultimately serves as a sort of custom phone screen.

Unlike a “dumb phone,” which is a phone that has no options for additional phone apps – and essentially just limits you to texting and calling – the Minimalist Phone App uses your existing Android phone and simply pares down the options you can see. It directs your focus to the important apps, while eliminating the pings and vibrations of shopping promotions and Instagram likes. 

Since I was able to choose “favorite” apps to keep on my main screen, I opted for Gmail. This way I’d be able to easily access my work and personal emails, yet - because email is a fairly dry and boring check - I wouldn’t find myself mindlessly cruising the way I might with Instagram.

minimalist phone - a light phone for wherever you are
Smartphone turned into minimalist phone with minimalist phone app.

How My Digital Detox Went

The Minimalist Phone made me more aware of the choices I was making - encouraging me to be more mindful in my practice, and less likely to open apps simply out of habit or due to push notification. 

At first, it was strange not receiving constant notifications, which my brain has been trained to expect on a near-constant basis (dopamine addiction is real!). Once I got used to it, though, it was freeing to realize I had gone hours - and then most of a day - without checking up on what my friends were doing on Instagram. I still made time to connect and catch up after work, but it was no longer a constant “noise” in the background of my work, reading, and other activities.

I could still access my full collection of applications by swiping right. There, they’re presented in an alphabetical list form, but sans the eye-catching graphics that typically make you stop what you’re doing and click. Every time I accessed Facebook or Instagram it was a deliberate choice, which was often enough to make me stop and think about whether I really needed to check them in the first place. 

The Minimalist Phone made me more aware of the choices I was making - encouraging me to be more mindful in my practice, and less likely to open apps simply out of habit or due to push notification. 

The thing I appreciated most about The Minimalist Phone is that it didn’t turn my phone into a basic phone with no capabilities - it also didn’t lock me out of anything like my Chrome extensions do. It didn’t involve deleting apps that I’d inevitably add back when I needed to get in contact with someone. I was still in control of everything I did, I just had an opportunity to be more deliberate in the choices I was making - and it worked. 

the minimalist phone app for Android - helping to reduce screen time
Mindful usage supporting minimalist phone.
About author

Mari Rogers

Mari is an experienced content writer and has worked with technology startups, Fortune 5000 companies, and more over the past 10 years.
minimalist phone