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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

The App That Will Help You Put Down Your Phone and Enjoy Your Life

Smartphone addiction is a real thing. According to PewResearch, 90% of American adults have a cell phone and 29% of cell owners describe it as “something they can’t imagine living without.” The 2014 equivalent of the old idiom, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” has become “If brunch is eaten and no Instagram photos are posted of the food, did it really happen?”

Of course, mobile technology does play an integral role in all modern jobs (and life). Whether it’s checking in via email in the evening, scanning the company Twitter while you’re on the move, or connecting with someone far away, smartphones enable us to plug in conveniently and efficiently.

But the truth is, our preoccupation with our phones encroaches on our time spent deepening relationships, reflecting on ourselves, and preparing thoughtful work. I notice a huge difference in my productivity and sense of flow when I’m writing a blog post or preparing a proposal at the office and I keep my phone on silent, tucked away.

So, how can you find the right balance between getting the most out of what your smartphone has to offer and not letting it get the best of you? If you’re keen on working to recharge your energy level, as opposed to your phone battery, here’s an app you might like.

Moment, (available for iPhone and, soon, Android), auto-tracks your phone usage without you even realizing it. Running quietly in the background, it collects data every time you open an app, scroll through your text messages, send a Snapchat, or use your phone for any other activity. Set up the app to track your usage and habits around the clock, or from a certain start time to end time (say, the length of your workday).

Once you take stock of how much time you spend futzing with your phone, you can decide what’s reasonable—and what’s not—and set daily time limits with notifications for when you exceed your phone time cap. You can also set up “tiny reminders” to pop up every, say, two minutes you spend scrolling through your phone, as a gentle nudge to put it down.

Using your smartphone in ways that make your job and personal life easier makes sense. But letting that glowing screen keep you from fully engaging with the world around you? That’s something you shouldn’t stand for—and Moment can provide just the push you need to help you stop.

Photo of man in hammock on phone courtesy of Shutterstock.