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Cell phone addiction- 4 step guide to overcome it...

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

A few months back (while I got COVID.. Yup more on that later) I found that I was also using my cell phone excessively (at least above my own average quota). And that lasted for about 15-20 days. I stopped using my phone that excessively with a wonderful approach which I will discuss in this blog.

A few days back I was talking with one of my friend and he was in the same place where I was a few months back, but he was using a cell phone for more than 10-11 hrs daily for the last 2 months. This was too much time wastage for absolutely nothing and he too realised it but was unable to overcome it. Thus without any hesitation I told him about my story and he followed all 4 steps and now he barely uses his phone for more than 1-1.5 hr daily (phone calls included). So, an idea came to my mind that why not share it with everyone, maybe it can be helpful for someone else.

Let's start...Here is a background...

These days we use cell phones very often, as our breath depends on it. People become anxious and disturbed if they lose it even for a second. Indian Express reported that since lockdown, Indians have been spending more time on their smartphone for work from home (75% increase), calling (63% rise), and OTT (over the top services like Netflix, Spotify etc) that has seen 59% growth in time spent on smartphones. 84% of people check their phones within the first 15 minutes of waking up. On average, an Indian uses his cell phone for about 7 hrs daily (thanks to COVID and WFH culture). Once addicted people somehow "feel compelled" for checking the notifications.

First, let's break down and try to understand how the human brain functions.

A human brain is a complex machine but it can be fooled easily. We from hunter-gatherers have grown to get attracted by instant rewards. Our minds jump like a monkey from one thing to another in search of instant rewards, meditation can certainly help, but more on that in the next blog. Once we get a reward, a section of our brain called the hypothalamus gets activated and releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine- A "Feel good" chemical (for more read). As we keep on activating this reward centre our neuron receptors become more and more tolerant to already present levels of dopamine and our brain will demand more and more with time. Next time to get the same level of kick your brain will demand more dopamine and this is a vicious circuit that makes an addiction.

I can say that the app making companies are trying to crack the key for human psychology. These app making companies play psychologically for making their apps more attention catchy and compelling to end-users. And as data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence grow these companies will become more and more strong in terms of human psychology and behavioural pattern. So, in the following 4 step approach, I will try to explain how can we take the help of their same weapon ''psychology'', and become less phone addicted.

1. The first and foremost step is to put a strong password/pattern on apps you use frequently. Yup, that's right a pattern different from your screen lock. can look something like this-

*Remember to change it every 3 days= twice weekly.

2. Stop all notifications

from apps such as Chrome, Music apps, News apps, Flipkart, Amazon, Youtube, Myntra, Instagram, Phone Pe, messenger etc.

Trust me it will hardly take less than 5 minutes to do so and will make your life much simpler and easy, with no pushed notifications about anything at all... Just freedom...

You rarely receive an important message via WhatsApp or Messenger, if you do, kindly let people know u dont use it often and prefer calls...

I personally keep notifications for just these apps-




and podcasts (audible/wynk in order to play or pause it).

3. Keep your phone away or difficult to reach while working on PC,

Install the "Your Phone" app from the Microsoft store and connect it with your mobile device, If u receive any calls/SMS on your phone this app will give u a reminder. Above all, you can receive the phone calls too on ur PC, and talk via it also.

4. Make your phone look uninteresting.

Make it greyscale (black and white). In order to do so, you will need to make your phone screen black and white. Yes, it's there In your phone setting. Just follow the following steps-

# In MIUI you follow the following things-

-Go to the about phone section in settings,

-Click MIUI version several times,

-and voila...!! You are a developer now...

-Go to developer setting just appeared at the end of your settings menu,

-go to hardware-accelerated rendering

-there select simulate colour space monochrome

-You are done.

***You can always end the developer option by turning off the developer option from the top

By following the above 4 steps and having strong willpower I am sure you can overcome phone addiction/overuse very easily.

You can come out of the furnace of trouble two ways” if you let it consume you, you come out a cinder; but there is a kind of metal which refuses to be consumed, and comes out a star.” – Jean Church


Feel free to share this blog with your loved ones. Maybe it will help someone. Kindly drop a comment about your views on the above steps and how they helped you.

Please suggest what topic you'd like to see in the next blog.



Ravikant Singh

Ph.D. research Scholar, IIT Patna

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