Break Your Phone Addiction: Digital Minimalism 04

Break Your Phone Addiction: Digital Minimalism 04

Hello, I don’t want to waste any of your time, so let’s dive right into it. This is episode 4 in my digital minimalism series, where I talk about how I have streamlined and removed a lot of the distractions in my digital life. Today I want to talk about smart phones and more specifically my own and how I have set it up. I have an Android phone. This is a Pixel 3, but the things I’m going to talk about in this video can apply to any phone. It doesn’t so much have to do with software. But rather how I set up my phone. It’s incredible technology and it has changed all of our lives and I feel very fortunate to live in a time where I have access to so much in my fingertips, but somewhere along the line, the lines got blurred, right? And this has gone, for many of us, from being an incredible tool to being more of a distraction, more of an obstacle, than, like a positive thing. Phone addiction is a real problem and there’s a lot of statistics out there now that show that we spend on average hours a day on our phones. So I want to talk a little bit today about some simple things that I’ve done to regain a little bit of control over my relationship with my phone and to be a little bit healthier in my habits and in my usage of it. So, let’s just dive right in. I want to first talk about my homepage. I set this up with my morning and evening routines in mind. So one thing you’ll notice right off the bat is that I don’t have any social media or messaging apps on here. That’s very intentional. I find that on these sorts of apps you’re either responding to somebody, problem solving, or endlessly scrolling, right? and in the morning or in the evening, I don’t feel like that’s a good usage of my time. Instead what I have on here are some of the apps that I do like to use first thing in the morning or right at the end of the day. So for example I have headspace which is a fantastic meditation app. I use the clock on my phone as an alarm to wake up. A running app, podcasts, audiobooks, that sort of thing. And then on the bottom there are just some general tools that I like to have really quick easy access to. These are not addicting apps. These are not apps that bring me into my phone and keep me on my phone for a long time. So for example passwords, Google Maps, the camera app, that sort of thing. I find that this setup is really nice because I don’t want to get sucked into my phone as soon as I unlock it. And yet I still want to be able to use my phone, like I said, at the beginning or at the end of the day. It’s nice to listen to a podcast or listen to a little bit of music when I’m starting out the day or when I’m trying to wind down. I want to talk really briefly about some other features that are built into pretty much all phones nowadays. First of all “Do Not Disturb” is a godsend. I put my phone on “Do Not Disturb” whenever I go to bed, so it’s not buzzing throughout the night. And increasingly, I’m leaving it on “Do Not Disturb” for long portions of the morning, in the evening, and whenever I’m trying really hard to get some work done. I don’t think we evolved as human beings to be equipped to handle distractions every three minutes and I certainly don’t feel like it’s beneficial for me to constantly be checking my phone, especially when I’m trying to get a lot done. “Do Not Disturb” is fantastic because it reduces the number of times that you get notifications and it’s okay to not check Reddit twelve times throughout the day. Next, I just want to briefly talk about greyscale, which I think is a super underrated feature in a lot of modern smartphones. This is a feature that’s built into Android and I was able to configure it on my iPhone as well, so I know it’s possible on there as well. The concept is very simple. It basically just turns off the color from the screen of your phone. Now, why would that be significant? Well, we as humans have evolved to be very sensitive to color and I have noticed that instantaneously when I turn off the color on my phone it’s way less interesting to use and I try to use that to my benefit, especially in the evening when I’m trying not to spend so much time looking at screens as I’m preparing to go to bed. One other important feature that I think is important to mention is nightlight, which will turn the very blue-ish light that comes from your phone to more of an orange tone that’s really nice when you’re trying to prepare for bed, but I don’t think it’s a replacement for just straight up not using your phone or using it a lot less. However, it’s nice I have it automatically set to turn on at 9:30 and that way I’m not looking at so much blue light before I go to bed. I also find being a photographer and a filmmaker that it ruins apps like Instagram or Netflix because it completely throws the colors out of whack. So once again I try to use that to my benefit. Beyond this homepage, I have organized my apps into general categories so the next page has tools that I find useful, including messaging apps and stuff like my Gmail. After that, I have a page dedicated to apps that I use when I create videos, like YouTube videos and that sort of thing. And then a page for money-related apps. You will notice that I have absolutely, no shortcuts to social media and other apps that I feel pull me in, and really distract me from what I’m trying to get done throughout the day. That isn’t to say that I don’t use these apps, but I am intentionally trying to increase the friction between myself and being sucked into these apps so that I go on to them less often. It’s an added step to kind of look for them. It’s an added step to get engaged in Instagram, Reddit, etc. So the two potential ways to set that up for yourself are, either you can remove the shortcut if possible on your phone so that you don’t see it on your home pages, or if you can’t do that, throw these apps into a folder and place that folder in a corner of your phone. So once again, you have to go looking for it. I used to think that was really a silly thing to do because look I’m not five years old. I have self-control, but that’s not the point. The point is that you’re giving yourself the best odds. Going and using these apps can almost become muscle memory, right? We can unconsciously unlock our phones and find ourselves reading scrolling etc. And that’s not beneficial. That’s not productive. That’s not helpful. And it doesn’t make your life better. So making it more difficult to do that is in your benefit and finally, I want to talk really quickly about digital well-being which is a feature that’s built into Android. There are other alternatives available out there for whatever fun that you potentially use. But the concept is really simple and it’s that you should track your phone usage. This feature is really awesome because it tells me how many times I’ve unlocked my phone today, how many notifications I’ve received today, and how long I have spent on each app. This is really eye-opening and really useful information because knowledge is power and anything that is tracked gets managed. I found that just by looking at this and being aware of how much time I was putting into my phone, I put a lot of effort towards curbing my time on my phone so that I’m not spending literally hours a day on it. It’s just helpful to be aware of these sorts of things, especially if it’s important to you to be putting your time towards things that are more meaningful to you. Okay, that’s pretty much it. Once again, these are very simple things to set up. It should not take you more than five minutes to kind of configure things. But I do think it has a huge impact and is really really useful. This is new technology, and it has changed all of our lives and I think it’s really important to talk about these sorts of things as we try to figure out how to best use these tools. I hope you found this video valuable. I definitely don’t have everything figured out, so feel free to leave a comment down below if you feel like I missed something. I will say that although this is a work in progress, I feel like the things that I’ve already done have already had an impact on my life and that’s why I wanted to share with you guys. And if you enjoyed this video consider subscribing, there’s a lot more coming soon including more episodes in this series. I talk a lot about mental clarity and things that I’m doing or trying to do to live more presently. There’s a bonus episode available on my Patreon, so if that interests you go check it out Otherwise, you can follow me on social media and thanks for watching. I’ll see you soon.


  1. i have horrible self control plus an easily addictive personality so i just delete all social media (minus whatsapp, just hide that) off my phone and honestly im 10x happier and not missing much

  2. Thank you for this, i seriously need to set a limit on my social media usage, it’s making my creativity dwindle and this helps me a lot, and ! Also it’s great that the things you say is readily available

  3. Watching you is like looking at a mirror to myself. I have never expected to find someone who is soooo similar to me with a lot of same interests and habits. It is great to find some one like you on YouTube.

    (I even use the same phone that you have damn it).

    Oh my goodness, I am still shocked.

    Currently learning meditation
    I use a running app
    Doing yoga (exercises + Meditation)
    Learning a language
    Learning how to journal
    Learning more about how to explore my inner being.
    Learning how to be present by reading "The Power Of Now".
    I am trying not to lose track and be more consistent
    I am dieting
    I am a minimalist, (I don't have much material needs)
    I suffer from anxiety and depression.
    I am trying to cut down things while not feeling burned out.
    I am a very work oriented person and sometimes, if I don't connect with people, I think it's totally fine for me, as long as I am doing something that I am interested in.

    This feels so weird.
    The only difference that we have is that
    I am Asian
    I am in the LGBT community
    I am currently not making videos but planning to after I move to Germany
    I don't have the level of confidence or experience that you have.
    I still procrastinate.
    I had a mentor who had guided me.
    I am interested in reincarnation and the book "Seth speaks"

  4. I noticed that i'm not addicted to FB or insta, but to youtube😨
    Even though, great content man, really loved your videos👌

  5. Am I the only one who feels like grayscale isn’t changing anything on my phone. Like I turned it on but legit nothing happened

  6. This is a very good video! I do have thought of removing my SM apps. But then, when can you watch the content my friends put online? I don't have a second phone. And since Instagram is made to be used on a phone, is weird to use it on my PC. What are your solutions to this?

  7. What phone do you have if you don’t mind me asking? So far it’s the only android I’ve seen that visually appeals to me and has an actually okay camera.

  8. I tried "hiding" my social media apps by putting them into folders, didn't work cause I still found them easily, there was just one extra tap. I then tried removing them from the shortcuts, but I don't have that many apps so they were still easy to find. I've tried some apps that stops me from opening the social media apps, but those didn't really work either. So I'm trying to get some more self dicipline. And I followed your tip and put my phone on grey scale, hope it works!

  9. I wish grayscale worked for me. I grew up reading books so it doesn't work to keep me from infinite scrolling through news, fanfiction or anything else that is text.

  10. I don't have any social media app on my phone except YouTube. I watch YouTube videos for 6-7 hours everyday. I tried to uninstall it once but I got super stressed out that I reinstalled it within 2 days. I need help

  11. I turned off the notifications of certain apps like Instagram or WhatsApp, I noticed that I spent way less time on these apps. Because as soon as I got a message or sth, I felt like I HAVE TO check it. Now I only go on These apps, when I REALLY feel like it, not because my mind thinks I have to.

  12. Hi, I'm from Brazil, and I'm addicted to your channel.
    I have a curiosity what is your notebook and desktop computer?
    You're amazing.

  13. How can u say that you don't use social medias when there are lot of social media links in your channel description counter

  14. I tried gray scale, and felt like i didn't even know how to use my phone hahah
    Good tip though
    I'm going to explore it and see if it helps me, thanks:)

  15. I keep my phone on Do Not Disturb constantly because I hate when my phone makes any sort of unsolicited noise.

  16. Another thing, you can do is to use "Slim Launcher" on android, it restricts the use of more then 5 apps, so it makes your phone kind of Light Phone and it really helps in controlling the usage of phone

  17. The problem is most of these are toggles. Nothing really prevents me from turning them off once they are active.

  18. A pro-tip for android is to use a custom launcher that allows you to hide apps from your drawer, you can still use the search function in the drawer to find them when you really want to, but it's just that much more difficult to open them 😉

  19. i removed all socials and I do a lot more reading and listening to books I use pocket and medium for reading articles and blinkist which is essentially cliff note style audio books.

  20. I'm also using Pixel 3 and I find the digital wellbeing feature as a must have especially if you're spending too much time on social media. 'Flip to Shhh' is also hands down the best feature, where you place your pixel 3 face down and it automatically activates Do Not Disturb

  21. For IPhone users who want to change their screen to grayscale:

    In iOS 10, go to Settings > General > Accessibility >Display Accommodations >Color Filters. Switch Color Filters on and select Grayscale. To easily toggle between color and grayscale, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut > Color Filters.

  22. I'd also recommend to control all of the notifications that comes to your phone. I turned off all the sounds, badges, messages on lock screen and banners from social media apps. 

    So now it's me to decide when I want to chat, when I want to be lazy and entertain myself.

    Also I’d recommend to turn off ALL the notifications that you don’t ever need. By doing so you kill all the distractions that your phone can bring to you. Most of the time I found myself picking up my smartphone every time I get message or any other unnecessary notification from the app I rarely use.

    So if you also raise your phone way more often than you want to, try to manage your notifications

  23. I like setting a specific time in my day and limiting it to about 30 mins where I can check social media and be distracted and that helps me not check it the rest of my day

  24. Thank you very much! Didn't even know the grey scale settings existed, they are really helping me… getting bored quickly!

  25. I followed your advice and reduced my phone usage by half. Thank you so much for making this content, you've changed my life <3

  26. When it comes to this subject, I was wondering if theres any advice on how to get less distracted by social media during long study periods, exam periods, or just generally for people that would like to spend their time learning and being productive more. Whats the best way to take breaks in between productive sessions?

  27. I already use many tips . I have instagram and twitter Account . I found weird solution for insta . I uninstalled insta app from my phone and installed it on my mom's phone. Now I check it once in 3-4 days. I use twitter only on my laptop . So I have not installed it on my phone . It helps 😌

  28. I am at that point where I feel stressed as soon I hear a message coming in. What I do now is put all the messaging apps on like the 4th page of my phone and it often is on silent,especially when I am working or relaxing. I hate it how much time I spend on my phone. Before smartphones I used to paint and read so much, now I waist my time watching youtube. At least social media like instagram and facebook don’t have a toxic effect on my mind (because I don’t follow toxic people lol)

  29. If you are God level addicted to your Android device then try this Launcher. It helped me a lot to reduce my phone usage. A lifetime free launcher. Trust me when you start using this you will fall in love with yourself and life and be less glued to your phone.

  30. To turn grayscale on iphone

    1- go to settings
    2- go to general
    3- go to Accessibility
    4- go to display Accommodations
    5- click on color filters turn the toggle on , automatically it is going to got to grayscale mode but if it didn’t their are choices available down where you can pick ( they become available only when you turn the toggle switch on )

  31. Im not addicted to my tech but I do spend lots of time chatting with my friends and sometimes lose productive hours because Im texting instead of working or studying

  32. I uploaded a text on medium about the same thing! Digital minimalism on our phones.
    I would deeply appreciate it if you had a look!

  33. Omggggggg I didn't know the black and white thing existed thanks I just put my phone in monochrome and it's so relaxing for my eyes

  34. I can't find gray-scale on my android but anyways, I loved the video! It's really helpful. I'm already doing a few of the tips but I found some I wasn't doing it yet.

  35. — Social media is ok but turn it notifications off, turn it badges off include email, except VIP such as invoices.
    — on iPhone: Turn on don’t disturb at night till, sunrise. Include: don’t disturb while driving.
    — try to look around. The more you put your attention, the more you’ll see something attract your attention.
    — nice video. Thanks

  36. Great video. What makes your video unique is the fact that you are not so much focused on the number of apps you have on your phone, but instead utilizing a setup that minimizes meaningless time on your phone.

  37. I watch 3-4 hours of YouTube everyday. Just found that out in Digital Wellbeing. Holy shit! Thanks for this video, man.

  38. Why did you choose a Pixel over the iPhone when you own a Mac? I am just curious because i am also considering an Android and Mac set up.

  39. Something that i'm thinking about trying is getting a keypad phone to carry with me during the day , then use a tablet for apps when i have time at home. Also having a real digital camera with me if i go somewhere I want to take pictures.

  40. A tool that I use a lot and it's really useful and rewarding is an app called 'Forest' you set the time that you want to be WITHOUT your phone, and in the meanwhile the app let a digital tree grow up, if you use your phone the tree dies so I think its a really cute way to get you away from your phone, and also if you plant enough of those trees you can plant a real tree in Africa, look it up, it's amazing, i've been using it for the last month and it really helps out

  41. hi Nathaniel, interesting but I am more interested in the way you organized your apps. For instance, how did you place some of your apps hanging down the screen ? and where is this grey thing? thank you for the inspiration 🙂 p.s. you made me open my headspace after months

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