How to De-Addictify Your Technology

Your devices are made to addict you. Literally. But you can reduce their addictive seductions.

Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #445

Make Your Device Black and White

How else does your device hijack your mind? With it’s brighter-than-real-life colors. Your brain is wired to notice what’s most intense and eye-catching in the environment. That means your cell phone or desktop or laptop.

I recently discovered, totally by accident, that you can make your device grayscale, and bam! It kills the addictive colors. Suddenly, the outside world becomes more eye-catching than your smartphone, and it’s much easier to put the phone away.

If you have an iPhone, make it grayscale by going to General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters. There, choose Grayscale. Next go to settings General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut (at the very bottom of the screen). Choose Color filters from the options. Now, triple-clicking on the home button will switch back and forth between color and grayscale. Abracadabra, addictiveness diminished!

On your Mac desktop, you can go to System Preferences > Accessibility then choose the Display tab and turn on the Use grayscale checkbox.

On Windows, check out freeware negativescreen at getitdoneguy.com/negativescreen

Get Rid of Other Dopamine Generators

When you pick up your iphone, it automatically turns on. The sudden transition from dark to lit means your eye will go to the screen and your attention is involuntarily hijacked. Then you see a notification message and … it’s all over. Turn off Raise to Wake by going to Settings > Display & Brightness and turning off Raise to Wake.

Turn off vibrations. Those distract you tactilely. Go into Settings > Sound & Haptics and turn off the Vibrate options. 

Generally, turn off all forms of notification, so they don’t interrupt you. The only apps that should be able to interrupt you with notifications are time-sensitive apps like Catch the Bus, which need to interrupt you to tell you it’s time to go. For everything else, check for updates and new messages on your schedule, not your phones.

And finally, make your phone’s home screen be completely blank. Drag all the icons onto one of the other screens. If you sync to a desktop computer running iTunes, you can do this more quickly using iTunes. Click the Apps area in the lefthand sidebar after you’ve connected your devices. In the right part of the screen, you’ll see your iPhone screen layouts. Click the plus sign in the upper right to add a new page, drag it to be the first page on your phone, and then sync the phone.

No matter how much we might like having mindless zombies as minions to do our bidding, none of us like to be made into mindless zombies. So liberate yourself from Apple, Google, Samsung, Facebook, Instagram, and everyone else who has entire research departments devoted to addicting and profiling you. Turn off notifications, make your device grayscale. Turn off vibrations, raise to wake, and don’t for a moment believe that Friending someone on Facebook has anything to do with real friendship. You’re a human being! Don’t let them make you into anything else! It will save you a fortune in therapy bills for your 20-something children.

This is Stever Robbins. Follow GetItDoneGuy on Twitter and Facebook. Heck, Friend me. You know you want to. I run programs to help people create extraordinary lives. If you want to know more, visit SteverRobbins.com . 

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.