Believe it or not, at some point in time phones were used only for calls, and later on for messages as well. Now, imagine having a smartphone in this day and age and use it just for those two functions. Many would probably call you crazy, or old-fashioned, but your behavior wouldn’t be considered usual either way. Phones nowadays are being used for every single thing; from social media networks, YouTube and listening to music, checking e-mails, paying bills, checking maps - you name it. This might be a complete novelty to those used to phones having two main functions, but to millennials, this is a regular thing. That is why we can’t go a single day without our phones, or to be more specific, without being distracted by our phones.
And that is where the problem arises. Professors and teachers at schools and universities are increasingly complaining when it comes to students not being able to focus on lectures and studies because of their phones. While many believe that smartphones can be helpful in class, as we can use them to search “complete coursework for me” and other helpful resources where you can pay someone to receive help, others would love to see them banned from class for good. This begs the questions; is it possible for students to live without their phones or at least with distraction-free phones?
Removing the Apps
This might be the reason students can’t live without their phones: apps. Thousands of apps are simply at our disposal all the time, and it is really hard not to check for new ones and keep using the old ones, like Instagram and Facebook. Not to mention that we all have tons of apps already on our phones that keep sending notification and distracting us at crucial moments; for example, when the professor is explaining the material you’ll need to study for an exam.
Sure, we can act tough and flip the phone screen-side down, so we don’t look at the notifications, but remember, curiosity killed the cat. We seem to be programmed to check every single notification in the hope that the one cute guy has texted or someone has liked our picture on Instagram. Well, here’s the deal; it is possible to start with the idea of having a distraction-free phone by simply removing the unnecessary and distracting apps. You don’t have to pretend you’re playing those silly games or checking the new iPhone wallpapers on Vellum. It is easy; it takes a few seconds to remove an app from your phone, and all it takes is determination. And, the first step is complete.
Turning Notifications Off
Push notifications are so annoying, to anyone. Still, we all tend to leave them turned on even though they’re usually useless and distracting. For example, you don’t need email alerts from Gmail, or Facebook alerts that someone has posted something. That information is entirely irrelevant to your life, so why keep it coming. If you’re reading this and thinking of excuses why not to turn off notifications, stop. This can save your life, your studies, and your career.
Turn off the push notifications for apps that are useless, and keep alerts only on the essential apps. I encourage you to turn off the majority, if not all of them and rely solely on texts and calls as the most important alerts on your phone. If someone really needs you, they will text or call, not send you a message on Instagram, right? Plus, you won’t be distracted every ten minutes, and you will be able to focus on studying or listening to your professor. However, if you really want to stay informed, but not distracted, you can always put the alerts on silent. Your phone won’t be completely distraction-free, but also not as distracting as it could be.
What if I told you that maybe you don’t have to delete all to apps to have a distraction-free phone? According to Gizmodo, dedicated apps are the help we all needed. These apps are specially created to block other apps from getting new content or can block access to apps for the time you choose. So, when you are at a lecture or having a study session, all you have to do is set the time, and you won’t be receiving notifications, or be able to access the apps on your phone.
In order to control distractions and focus on your studies, you can use apps like Freedom or Forest. Freedom, for example, blocks apps and websites for every single device out there; from Mac and Windows to Android and iOS. It is helping students and workers around the world reclaim focus and productivity; it allows you to block out distractions and schedule your Freedom time whenever you want. Forest, on the other hand, helps you stay focused by blocking out apps for the time you choose; the more you use this app, the more your digital tree will grow, which is an added bonus of using this app.